Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons

Kantian Review 18 (2):241-262 (2013)
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This essay seeks to contribute to current debates about value in Kant's ethics. Its main objective is to dislodge the widely shared intuition that his view of autonomy requires constructivism or some other alternative to moral realism. I argue the following. Kant seems to think that the value of persons is due to their very nature, not to what anyone decides is the case (however rational or pure those decisions may be). He also seems to think that when we treat persons as ends in themselves we are responding appropriately to the fact that their very nature elevates them above all other concerns. Neither of these beliefs is incompatible with his view of autonomy. So it is a mistake to think that Kant's ethics requires constructivism or any other form of anti-realism



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Eric Wilson
Georgia State University

References found in this work

Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.John Rawls - 1930 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):280-281.
Critique of Practical Reason.T. D. Weldon, Immanuel Kant & Lewis White Beck - 1949 - Philosophical Review 58 (6):625.
Self to Self.J. David Velleman - 1996 - Philosophical Review 105 (1):39 - 76.

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