Kant, moral overdemandingness and self‐scrutiny

Noûs 55 (2):293-316 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate about how the overdemandingness objection applies to Kant's ethics. I first look at the versions of the overdemandingness objections Kant himself levels against other ethicists and ethical principles and I discuss in what sense he acknowledges overdemandingness as a problem. Then I argue that, according to Kant's own standards, introspection about the moral worthiness of one's actions can constitute forms of moral overdemandingness. Self-scrutiny and Kant's well-known claim that we can never be certain that we acted for the right reason jeopardize agents’ deserved happiness. Furthermore, self-scrutiny can constitute an activity Kant himself criticizes under the labels of “micrology” and “fantastic virtue”. The demandingness of critical self-scrutiny has not yet received due attention in the overdemandingness debate since this debate is focused on duties we have towards others.

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Martin Sticker
University of Bristol

References found in this work

Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Alienation, consequentialism, and the demands of morality.Peter Railton - 1984 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 13 (2):134-171.
Moral saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - International Journal of Ethics 4 (4):512-514.

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