Respect for the law and the use of dynamical terms in Kant's theory of moral motivation

Melissa Zinkin
State University of New York at Binghamton
Kant's discussion of the feeling of respect presents a puzzle regarding both the precise nature of this feeling and its role in his moral theory as an incentive that motivates us to follow the moral law. If it is a feeling that motivates us to follow the law, this would contradict Kant's view that moral obligation is based on reason alone. I argue that Kant has an account of respect as feeling that is nevertheless not separate from the use of reason, but is intrinsic to willing. I demonstrate this by taking literally Kant's references to force in the second Critique. By referring to Kant's pre-critical essay on Negative Magnitudes (1763), I show that Kant's account of how the moral law effects in us a feeling of respect is underpinned by his view that the will is a kind of negative magnitude, or force. I conclude by noting some of the implications of my discussion for Kant's account of virtue.
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2006.002
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Kant-Bibliographie 2006.Margit Ruffing - 2008 - Kant-Studien 99 (4):477-524.

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