Humanity as an object of respect: Immanuel Kant's anthropological approach and the foundation for morality

Heythrop Journal 53 (4):594-605 (2012)
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The article deals with Kant's understanding of personhood and autonomy. It highlights the connection of autonomy and human dignity within Kant's appreciation of morality, and indicates how his distinction between the empirical and transcendental spheres enables Kant to extend dignity even to humans who are not actually autonomous. Turning to contemporary approaches within ethics that refer to Kant but omit this transcendental framework, it defends the necessity of a trans-empirical frame within the Kantian system and hints at consequences for bioethics. It concludes that Kant works with neither an absolutist notion of freedom in terms of solipsistic autarky, nor an empirical freedom and autonomy that begin and end at certain points of time



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