A Tale of Two Conflicts: On Pauline Kleingeld’s New Reading of the Formula of Universal Law

Kant-Studien 109 (4):581-596 (2018)
Pauline Kleingeld’s “Contradiction and Kant’s Formula of Universal Law”, published in this journal in 2017, presents a powerful challenge to what has become the standard reconstruction of the categorical imperative. In this response to Kleingeld, I argue that she is right to emphasise the ‘simultaneity requirement’ - that we must be able to will a proposed maxim and ‘simulataneously’, ‘also’ or ‘at the same time’ the maxim in its universalised form - but I deny that this removes the categorical imperative test from the world of universalisation because the agent must be understood as part of that world. There are two distinct types of conflict: a contradiction that results from non-universalisability and Kleingeld’s ‘volitional’ conflict, located within the will of the immoral agent. The standard ‘practical’ reconstruction of the categorical imperative remains largely intact.
Keywords Formula of Universal Law  categorical imperative  maxims  universalisation  volitional contradictions
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DOI 10.1515/kant-2018-4003
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