A Kantian Perspective on Moral Rules

Thomas E. Hill

in Respect, Pluralism, and Justice

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198238348
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597688 | DOI:
 A Kantian Perspective on Moral Rules

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Sets the stage for subsequent discussions by sketching a deliberative framework drawn from a combination of Kant's formulations of the Categorical Imperative. Ideas of willing universal laws, humanity as an end in itself, and autonomy are elements of the framework, which is analogous to Kant's idea of a ‘kingdom of ends’, an ideal commonwealth in which rational autonomous members legislate the laws that bind them. The framework is meant to guide and constrain reflection about how moral rules, or intermediate level principles, are to be understood and qualified, but it is not intended to be an exact decision procedure and it concerns only aspects of life for which moral rules are appropriate. Several problems in using this sort of heuristic framework are identified, and brief suggestions are made regarding ways in which the Kantian theory might be developed to meet them. The Kantian perspective has structural similarities to rule‐utilitarianism and to Rawls's theory of justice, but it differs from those in important ways.

Keywords: autonomy; Categorical Imperative; end in itself; Kantian; kingdom of ends; moral rule; Rawls; rule‐utilitarianism; universal laws

Chapter.  10148 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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