Nary an Obligatory Maxim from Kant’s Universalizability Tests

Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 5 (1):15-35 (2022)
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that there would be no obligatory maxims if the only standards for assessing maxims were Kant’s universalizability tests. The paper is divided into five sections. In the first, I clarify my thesis: I define my terms and disambiguate my thesis from other related theses for which one might argue. In the second, I confront the view that says that if a maxim passes the universalizability tests, then there is a positive duty to adopt that maxim; I also confront a close relative of this view. In the third, I confront the view that says that if a maxim does not pass the universalizability tests, then there is a positive duty to adopt the contradictory of that maxim. In the fourth, I confront two variations of the view that says that if a maxim does not pass the universalizability tests and an agent is deliberating about the action in the maxim, then the agent has a positive duty to adopt the contrary of that maxim. In the fifth, I confront the view that says that if an agent has adopted a maxim of ends, then the agent has a positive duty to universalize that end. I then wrap up the paper with some concluding remarks.

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Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

Citations of this work

Deriving Positive Duties from Kant's Formula of Universal Law.Guus Duindam - 2023 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 40 (3):191-201.

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References found in this work

Creating the Kingdom of Ends.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
Kant.Paul Guyer - 2006 - New York: Routledge.

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