Chapter

Acting on Principle

Rüdiger Bittner

in Doing Things for Reasons

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143645
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833085 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195143647.003.0003
Acting on Principle

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Examines an alternative understanding of doing things for reasons, Kant's conception of acting on a maxim. Having explained the Kantian idea of maxims and having defended the claim that this is indeed Kant's conception of agency, the chapter tries to find viable accounts of, first, holding a maxim and, second, acting on a maxim, in either case without success. How the agent who holds a maxim differs from an agent who does not cannot be made out. As for acting on a maxim, Kant's texts support two accounts, the one relying on the practical syllogism, the other on the faculty of judgment. Notoriously, however, the practical syllogism does not yield action; and a faculty of judgment, it is argued here, does not in fact exist.

Keywords: action; agency; judgment; Kant; maxim; practical syllogism; reasons for action

Chapter.  10828 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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