Chapter

Could Kant Have Been a Utilitarian ?

R. M. Hare

in Sorting Out Ethics

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250326
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597602 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250320.003.0008
Could Kant Have Been a Utilitarian  ?

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Hare questions the claim made by modern intuitionists and deontologists that Kant is their ally against utilitarianism. The core of the chapter is a discussion of Kant's Categorial Imperative, which is shown to be compatible, in its various formulations, with utilitarianism. Conspicuously anti‐utilitarian elements of Kantian ethics, Hare argues, are based on principles extrinsic to, and sometimes incompatible with, Kant's moral theory. In answering possible objections to his interpretation, Hare firstly distinguishes pure from applied ethics, which includes an important distinction between Kant's notions of Wille and Willkür; and, secondly, he argues that Kant can be understood as a consequentialist.

Keywords: Categorial Imperative; consequentialism; deontology; intuitionism; Kant; rationalism; utilitarianism; Wille; Willkür

Chapter.  7758 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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