Chapter

Beneficence and Self‐Love

Thomas E. Hill

in Human Welfare and Moral Worth

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252633
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597695 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252637.003.0005
Beneficence and Self‐Love

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Kantian responses to three related questions are considered: (1) Given the limits of our altruistic sentiments, is it possible for us to act beneficently as duty seems to require? (2) What are we morally required to do for others besides respecting their rights? (3) Why is this a reasonable requirement? Although the importance of empirical facts in deliberation is undeniable, the distinction between a practical deliberative point of view and the perspective of empirical inquiry proves to be crucial. Kant's grounds for an imperfect duty of beneficence are examined. From a deliberative perspective, we must assume that we can act beneficently, even when lacking altruistic sentiments, provided we understand the good reasons for doing so.

Keywords: altruistic sentiments; beneficence; deliberative perspective; empirical inquiry; good reasons; imperfect duty; Kant

Chapter.  12379 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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