The Good Will Reading Meshes With Major Ideas of Kant's Ethics

Richard Dean

in The Value of Humanity in Kant's Moral Theory

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780199285723
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603938 | DOI:
 The Good Will Reading Meshes With Major Ideas of Kant's Ethics

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This chapter argues that reading ‘humanity’ in the humanity formulation as good will provides the best fit between the humanity formulation and other major themes of Kant’s ethics. An analysis of Kant’s most significant claims about value in Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals shows that good will and humanity are equivalent. Since all of Kant’s claims about value must be read in light of his position that value is just a way to describe the choices that rational beings would make, it is especially significant to note that he often describes humanity as a moral ideal that must be pursued at all costs. Taking the end in itself to be good will also explains why the duty to aid others in pursuing their ends does not include their immoral ends, and allows for stronger connections between the different formulations of the Categorical Imperative.

Keywords: Categorical Imperative; end in itself; good will; humanity; immoral ends; moral ideal; value

Chapter.  14771 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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