The Argument for the Humanity Formula

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 Argument for the Humanity Formula

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It is no easy task to decipher Kant’s argument for accepting the humanity formulation as a fundamental principle of morality (often called his ‘derivation’ of the humanity formulation). The argument may be viewed as having two steps. The first step, establishing that each rational agent has reason to treat her own rational nature in certain ways, is justified because one’s own rational nature is the necessary condition of the value of any other ends one has. The second step, establishing that each rational agent also must treat others’ rational nature in certain ways, depends on Kant’s idea that any formulation of the Categorical Imperative must embody basic everyday assumptions about the nature of morality. A principle of morality must give people common ends to work toward, rather than spurring them toward inevitable conflict. Thus, a moral principle based on the importance of rational nature must emphasize the importance of everyone’s rational nature, instead of telling each person to care only about her own.

Keywords: Categorical Imperative; humanity formulation; ends; rational nature

Chapter.  11207 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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