In Corey W. Dyck (ed.), Women and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 137-156 (2021)

Bernhard Ritter
University of Graz
This chapter presents new findings about Maria von Herbert's life. Building on this, an interpretation is offered of what she means when she calls upon Kant "for solace ... or for counsel to prepare [her] for death". It is then argued that Kant's reply is more satisfactory than is commonly appreciated, as he explicitly defines the roles which he is prepared to adopt – that of a "moral physician" and of a "mediator" -- and thus the standards by which to judge his reply. Having said that, his letter does not address what has been viewed as a challenge to Kantian ethics. It is a matter of dispute what exactly this challenge consists in. This chapter identifies the challenge and the terms in which it is most productively stated. Finally, it provides sufficient reasons to establish that a portrait that resurfaced in November 2016 does indeed depict Maria von Herbert.
Keywords categorical imperative  Maria von Herbert's challenge to Kant  suicide
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Creating the Kingdom of Ends.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Kant’s Ethical Thought.Allen W. Wood - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
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Duty and Desolation.Rae Langton - 1992 - Philosophy 67 (262):481 - 505.

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