Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (1):45-67 (2011)

Authors
Karen Stohr
Georgetown University
Abstract
Common sense tells us that in certain circumstances, helping someone is morally obligatory. That intuition appears incompatible with Kant's account of beneficence as a wide imperfect duty, and its implication that agents may exercise latitude over which beneficent actions to perform. In this paper, I offer a resolution to the problem from which it follows that some opportunities to help admit latitude and others do not. I argue that beneficence has two components: the familiar wide duty to help others achieve their ends and a narrow duty to avoid indifference to others as end-setters. Although we are not always required to help, we are always required not to be indifferent. When helping someone is the only way not to be indifferent to a person, helping him/her is obligatory. My account avoids certain difficulties with other proposed solutions and can also address an important concern about proximity.
Keywords IMPERFECT DUTY   KANT   OBLIGATION   THOMAS HILL   BENEFICENCE   LATITUDE   BARBARA HERMAN
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DOI 10.1163/174552411X549372
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Kant and the Demandingness of the Virtue of Beneficence.Paul Formosa & Martin Sticker - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):625-642.
On Trying Too Hard: A Kantian Interpretation of Misguided Moral Striving.Mavis Biss - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 55 (6):966-976.

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