Alice Pinheiro Walla
McMaster University
In this paper, I provide an interpretation of the latitude of wide duties by analyzing Kant’s reinterpretation of Horace’s adage insani sapiens nomen habeat; aequus iniqui - ultra quam satis est virtutem si petat ipsam (the wise man has the name of being a fool, the just man of being iniquitous, if he seeks virtue beyond what is sufficient”, MS VI: 404n., 409 and 433n) and his criticism of Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. In support of my interpretation I also analyze Kant’s distinction between lying and reticence in his correspondence with Maria von Herbert and between openheartedness and reticence in the Religion. I argue that since there is no upper limit to the extent we may realize moral ends it may be morally permissible to take one’s prudential considerations into account when deciding how to comply with wide duties. In contrast, the deliberate disregard of one’s permissible prudential interests may reflect what Kant calls a fantastic conception of virtue, according to which agents vainly believe that they can completely achieve virtue in this life. I call attention to the fact that for Kant the wise (sapiens) is also a prudens, a person who does not think fantastically in matters of virtue and consequently does not attempt to “maximize virtue” at the expense of one’s permissible prudential interests as a finite being.
Keywords Immanuel  Moral Philosophy  Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 68,944
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
31 ( #365,834 of 2,498,159 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #427,476 of 2,498,159 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes