Kant's Theory of Moral Motivation

Dissertation, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (2022)
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Abstract

The main objective of my dissertation is twofold: (i) to investigate how the problem of moral motivation occurs in Kant’s texts, and (ii) to examine how Kant’s account of moral feeling serves as an appropriate solution to it. First, I argue that the problem of moral motivation occurs in Kant’s texts as a skeptical problem concerning the motivational efficacy of practical reason. My view that this problem is integral to Kant’s main ethical project goes against a scholarly trend that dismisses the philosophical significance of motivational skepticism in Kant’s moral theory. Second, I argue that Kant develops a peculiar notion of moral feeling in his Critique of Practical Reason primarily to resolve the problem of motivational skepticism about pure practical reason. In doing so, I regard the notion of moral feeling as an essential component of both Kant’s moral motivational structure and his justification of the moral law. This inclusion of moral feeling makes my interpretation a better alternative not only to standard transcendental interpretations of Kant’s account of moral motivation, but also to other kinds of interpretations proposed in the recent literature.

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Author's Profile

Vivek Radhakrishnan
School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences, Krea University

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References found in this work

Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational action: studies in philosophy and social science. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
Skepticism about practical reason.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):5-25.
Kant on Moral Sensibility and Moral Motivation.Owen Ware - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):727-746.
Obligation and motivation in recent moral philosophy.W. K. Frankena - 1958 - In Abraham Irving Melden (ed.), Essays in moral philosophy. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

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