Kant's formula of humanity

Mind 117 (465):85-106 (2008)
This paper is concerned with the normative content of Kant's formula of humanity (FH). More specifically, does FH, as some seem to think, imply the specific and rigid prescriptions in 'standard' deontological theories? To this latter question, I argue, the answer is 'no'. I propose reading FH largely through the formula of autonomy and the formula of the kingdom of ends, where I understand FA to describe the nature of the capacity of humanity-a capacity for self-governance. The latter, I suggest, is akin to the capacity for planning and intentional action described in Michael Bratman's work. A significant part of what FH requires, I then propose, is that we exercise these capacities for planning in such a way that we accommodate and coordinate with the (permissible) plans and intentions of others. Kant himself, as do many commentators, emphasizes the idea that our human capacities give us a distinctive kind of value. On my interpretation, by contrast, what is fundamentally important is not the value of the capacities but rather what they make possible: distinctive ways of mistreating (using) persons, but also a distinctive kind of morally desirable relationship. CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzn004
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