Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):23-52 (2001)

Samuel Kerstein
University of Maryland, College Park
In The Sources of Normativity, Christine Korsgaard affirms that Enlightenment morality is true: humanity is valuable. To many of us few claims seem more obvious. Yet Enlightenment thinkers such as Kant do not limit themselves to affirming that humanity is valuable. They appeal to reason in an effort to establish it. They try to show that, in some sense, we are rationally compelled to recognize the value of humanity. Korsgaard joins in this effort. She champions the claim that unless we take humanity to be valuable, we condemn ourselves to complete practical skepticism, i.e., to the view that we have no reason to do anything at all.Korsgaard discusses two arguments that, she believes, support this claim. The first she attributes directly to Kant in a series of influential papers on his ethics. The second argument, which she calls a ‘fancy new model’ of the first, she constructs under her own name in The Sources of Normativity. I will defend the view that neither of these arguments succeeds. In doing so, I will not be trying to show that we are mistaken in believing humanity to be valuable.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI cjphil200131122
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: 70,130
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Humanity as an End in Itself.Thomas E. Hill - 1980 - Ethics 91 (1):84 - 99.
Rescuing Moral Obligation.John Skorupski - 1998 - European Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):335–355.
Reasons and Values.Vasilis Politis - 1997 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (3):425 – 448.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Korsgaard's Arguments for the Value of Humanity.Michael Bukoski - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (2):197-224.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Korsgaard’s Kantian Arguments for the Value of Humanity.Samuel J. Kerstein - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):23-52.
Korsgaard’s Private-Reasons Argument.Joshua Gert - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):303-324.
Korsgaard's Rejection of Consequentialism.David Cummiskey - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (4):360-367.
Korsgaard and Non-Sentient Life.Gregory L. Bock - 2014 - Between the Species 17 (1).
Christine Korsgaards moralfilosofi.Gunnar Björnsson - 2005 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 1:38–54.
Agency and Responsibility.Fritz J. McDonald - 2010 - Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (2):199-207.
Search for the Source. [REVIEW]Michael Smith - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):384–394.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,447,603 of 2,506,404 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,997 of 2,506,404 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes