Metaphilosophy 37 (1):112–129 (2006)

Xiaomei Yang
Southern Connecticut State University
Kant has argued that moral requirements are categorical. Kant's claim has been challenged by some contemporary philosophers; this article defends Kant's doctrine. I argue that Kant's claim captures the unique feature of moral requirements. The main arguments against Kant's claim focus on one condition that a categorical imperative must meet: to be independent of desires. I argue that there is another important, but often ignored, condition that a categorical imperative must meet, and this second condition is crucial to understanding why moral requirements are not hypothetical. I also argue that the claim that moral requirements are not categorical because they depend on desires for motivation is beside the point. The issue of whether moral requirements are categorical is not an issue about whether moral desires or feelings are necessary for moral motivation but are rather an issue about the ground of moral desires or moral feelings. Moral requirements are categorical because they are requirements of reason, and reason makes moral desires or feelings possible.
Keywords subjective end  intrinsic end  hypothetical imperative  categorical imperative  moral feeling  objective end
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2006.00419.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 61,109
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1991 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Impartial Reason.Stephen L. Darwall - 1983 - Cornell University Press.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Blogger Engagement Ethics: Dialogic Civility in a Digital Era.Jeremy Langett - 2013 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28 (2):79-90.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant's Conception of Inner Value.Oliver Sensen - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):262-280.
Kant's Moral Philosophy.Robert N. Johnson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Education of the Categorical Imperative.James Scott Johnston - 2006 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 25 (5-6):385-402.
Right and Coercion: Can Kant’s Conception of Right Be Derived From His Moral Theory?Marcus Willaschek - 2009 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (1):49 – 70.
Kantian Morals and Humean Motives.Philip Clark - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):109–126.


Added to PP index

Total views
107 ( #97,868 of 2,440,225 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #282,147 of 2,440,225 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes