Philosophical Topics 19 (2):133-176 (1991)

Kenneth R. Westphal
Bogazici University
Few if any of Kant’s critics were more trenchant than Hegel. Here I reconstruct some objections Hegel makes to Kant in a text that has received insufficient attention, the chapter titled ‘the Moral World View’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit. I show that Kant holds virtually all the tenets Hegel ascribes to ‘the moral world view’. I concentrate on five of Hegel’s main objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics. First, Kant’s problem of coordinating happiness with virtue (as worthiness to be happy) is contrived. Kant denies that there is any inherent connection between acting rightly and being happy, but his denial depends on his defining happiness in terms of satisfying inclinations, rather than in terms of achieving ends in general. Second, Kant’s view of moral motivation is contrived; he ultimately admits that we cannot resolve to act without taking inclinations into account. (We cannot resolve to act apart from the matter of our maxim.) Third, Kant’s idea about perfecting our virtue in an infinite progress is incoherent. Kant defines virtue, and evidence of virtue, in terms of overcoming inclinations. Inclinations die with the body. Therefore there can be neither virtue nor evidence of virtue after death. Fourth, Kant’s view of the autonomy of moral agency is inconsistent with viewing the moral law as a divine command. Fifth, Kant’s moral principles cannot be put into practice in concrete circumstances because he supplies inadequate guidance for classifying acts. I conclude that Hegel’s objections to Kant’s practical metaphysics are sound, and I show that the problems Hegel raised against Kant’s account of autonomy and moral motivation are still current, since they have not been resolved, e.g., by Onora O’Neill’s Constructions of Reason
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics19911926
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Realizing the Good: Hegel's Critique of Kantian Morality.Nicolás García Mills - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy (1):195-212.

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