Kantian Normative Ethics

Thomas E. Hill

Edited by David Copp

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195147797
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785841 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Kantian Normative Ethics

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In Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant aims to articulate and defend “the supreme principle of morality.” He presents the elements of this basic principle in his famous formulations of the Categorical Imperative, which demand that we universalize our maxims, respect humanity as an end in itself, and conform to the moral principles that we will as rational persons with autonomy. Kantians disagree about the interpretation and relative importance of these various formulations, but most now agree that although they provide no algorithms, the formulations can be helpful in guiding moral deliberation and judgment. Hill explains the basic features of the formulations, reviews different interpretations, illustrates how they might guide judgment regarding the duty of beneficence, and notes various problems that each formulation raises.

Keywords: Kant; Kantians; Categorical Imperative; maxims; autonomy; rational; moral judgment; duty; beneficence

Chapter.  17438 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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