The contribution focuses on Kant's distinction between right and ethics. According to Kant, ethical as well as juridical laws are laws of freedom. As such they can be recognized by rational beings as unconditionally binding. The decisive difference between right and ethics consists in the way that obligations are required in their respective realms of legislation. While ethical legislation cannot be external and ethics is also concerned with inner motivations, juridical duties do not command dispositions but specific actions.
In her much debated article Modern Moral Philosophy Elizabeth Anscombe is known to argue that we are best advised to abandon the concept of moral obligation from moral discourse. This paper offers a step by step analysis of her argument against the concept of moral obligation by considering all of her relevant writings in moral philosophy and action theory. In doing so, it discusses her critical account of morality which turns out to be based on a non-homogeneous theory of practical (...) normativity that has fundamental roots in Modern Moral Philosophy. Finally, it appears that Anscombe’s arguments against central concepts of modern moral philosophy show inner inconsistencies and weaknesses that give also reason to criticize her general philosophical position. (shrink)
Someone is morally motivated precisely when his moral judgment or a moral fact arouses in him the intention to perform an action corresponding to the judgment or fact; we also speak of someone being moved to perform an action because of a moral attitude. For example, Sarah believes that it is moral to donate a portion of her income to solidarity causes, and this belief moves her to donate a certain amount of money to a charity each month. The philosophical (...) question of moral motivation illuminates two fundamental aspects here: First, it aims at analyzing the nature of moral judgments: Do they motivate by themselves or only by reference to a non-cognitive state? Is Sarah's belief that donation is morally required already a motive, or must Sarah additionally desire to donate in order for her judgment to motivate her? Second, the question of moral motivation aims to analyze the relationship between moral judgments and motives: Is it necessary or contingent? Does Sarah's judgment that donating is morally required (possibly in combination with a desire to donate or be moral) necessarily mean that she is morally motivated, or can the motivation be absent? (shrink)
Owen Ware is already well-known among Kant scholars since he published several insightful contributions on Kant’s practical philosophy. Ware has now collected five of his essays on Kant’s practical philosophy in a book. Kant’s Justification of Ethics, OUP 2021, largely refers back to some of his previously published papers. The guiding idea of the book, and a crucial feature of Ware’s approach, is the claim that Kant’s ethics and metaphysics form a unit and that the central questions of Kant’s moral (...) philosophy have to be analyzed against this methodological background. With this assertion he opposes what he believes has been an observable research trend for a long time. (shrink)
In Kant scholarship, the concept of maxims is discussed, for the most part, from the perspective of the universalization procedure of the Categorical Imperative. In fact, however, it has a much wider relevance. As is shown in this contribution, maxims are fundamental to Kant’s theory of action and value. Since the agent expresses her pro-attitudes, i.e., interests, preferences, and life-plans based on maxims, they figure as constitutive elements of her practical identity. After some general and historical considerations on Kant’s concept (...) of maxims, it is shown that their function in the theory of the ‘practical syllogism’ implies that maxims play an important role in considerations on the agent’s ends, goals, and purposes. Additionally, I will discuss the function of maxims in Kant’s action theory. I will defend an interpretation of the Kantian idea according to which practical deliberation can be understood based on a hierarchical order of maxims. Finally, the problem of higher-order maxims and the issue of the unity and inner consistency of maxims is debated. (shrink)
Hume's concept of justice as an artificial virtue is still controversial. In contrast to the more traditional research debate, the text defends a new reading of Hume's peculiar conception of justice, which understands his argument for justice as a special form of an internalism of practical reasons. It shows that his motivational justification for the virtue of justice proves to be consistent within his affect theory and yet systematically vulnerable.