Kant’s Revised Account of the Non-Moral Imperatives of Practical Reason

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 (2018)
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Two generalizations can be made regarding Kant’s account of imperatives of skill and prudence. First, Groundwork 4:412-420 remains the locus classicus for reconstructions of Kant’s view. Second, it is widely agreed that Kant’s treatment of these imperatives is confusing, incomplete, and lacking the requisite argumentation. I agree that Groundwork 4:412-420 lacks a clear and defensible account of imperatives of skill and prudence. But while many think this spells trouble for Kant’s theory of non-moral practical imperatives more generally, and that Kant never really clarified his position, on this point I differ. Groundwork II is problematic, yet it’s not Kant’s final word on the non-moral imperatives of practical reason. In fact, there is substantial and broadly overlooked evidence that Kant later rejected much of the account he laid out in this text. This evidence is found primarily in the third Critique, and I explore this evidence and the virtues of Kant’s revised account.



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Laura Papish
George Washington University

References found in this work

Kant’s Lectures on Ethics and Baumgarten’s Moral Philosophy.Stefano Bacin - 2015 - In Lara Denis & Oliver Sensen (eds.), Kant's Lectures on Ethics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 15-33.

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