Incoherence in Kantian and commonsense Moral Thinking

Michael Slote

in From Morality to Virtue

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195093926
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833689 | DOI:
Incoherence in Kantian and commonsense Moral Thinking

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Kantian and commonsense moral thinking are incoherent because self‐other asymmetry does not cogently combine with the belief that we owe more to people the closer they are to us in familial or personal terms. The latter is commonsensically explained by the claim that it is natural or inevitable that we should care about those closer to us more than about those less close to us, but this seemingly plausible assumption tends to undercut the justification that is typically and intuitively offered for self‐other asymmetry, namely, that we naturally care more about ourselves than about others, so that there is no need to assume any duty to avoid harming oneself. A commonsense ethics of virtue avoids this and other incoherences or tensions in Kantian and commonsense moral thinking.

Keywords: commonsense ethics of virtue; commonsense moral thinking; incoherence; Kantian moral thinking; self‐other asymmetry

Chapter.  12067 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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