The Normativity of Prudence

Kant Studien 108 (4):517-542 (2017)
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Kant's account of “precepts of prudence” raises a striking interpretive puzzle. On the one hand, he presents such precepts as normative-practical rules; on the other hand, he relegates them to theoretical philosophy. I argue that to render these two strands coherent, we must assume that our empirical nature is a source of normativity for us: prudence is normative for us just because we have an “unconditional” empirical desire for obtaining happiness, a maximum of pleasant sensations. Since rules of prudence cognize the means for causing a state of affairs that we desire and value insofar as we are receptive natural beings, these rules do not presuppose the active self-legislation of practical reason. Hence they belong to the theoretical cognition of nature.



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Markus Kohl
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Citations of this work

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