Kantian Review 22 (3):395-419 (2017)
AbstractIn this article, I assess three contemporary criticisms levelled at Kant’s theory of evil in order to evaluate whether his theory can be saved. Critics argue that Kant does not adequately distinguish between evil and mundane wrongdoing, making his use of the term ‘evil’ emotional hyperbole; by defining evil as the subordination of the moral law to self-love his analysis is seemingly overly simplistic and empirically false; and by focusing solely on the moral character of the perpetrator of evil, Kant’s theory apparently ignores the most salient aspect of evil – the suffering of victims. While I will not claim that Kant provides us with a fully adequate theory of evil, I respond to each of these criticisms and conclude that Kant’s theory can still provide significant insight into both the nature of evil and the moral psychology of perpetrators of evil.
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References found in this work
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.
Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives?John McDowell & I. G. McFetridge - 1978 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 52 (1):13-42.
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Kant’s Conception of Moral Character: The ‘Critical’ Link of Morality, Anthropology, and Reflective Judgment. [REVIEW]G. Felicitas Munzel - 1999 - Ethics 112 (3):634-637.