Southern Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):135-159 (1994)

Cheshire Calhoun
Arizona State University
Kant's Categorical Imperative reveals the injustice of excepting ourselves from conventional social practices like promise keeping. But can it equally reveal the injustice of complying with societally entrenched unjust maxims, e.g., slave-holding maxims in colonial America? Standard Kantian arguments against slavery depend on overly narrow definitions of slavery and an implausible requirement that we universalization across all rational beings. This essay reconstructs the CI-procedure so that it can detect and explain the wrongness of conventionalized injustice. In particular, maxim universalization must thus be combined with discounting socialization and coercion that produce nonrational compliance with a cooperative scheme.
Keywords categorical imperative  Kant  CI procedure  universalization  maxims  conventionalized injustice
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ISBN(s) 0038-4283
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.1994.tb00708.x
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