Chapter

Practical Reason and the Unity of the Will

Christine M. Korsgaard

in Self-Constitution

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199552795
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720550 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.003.0004
 Practical Reason and the Unity of the Will

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This chapter explains how the principles of practical reason serve to unify the will, and how that makes them normative. This account of normativity is contrasted to two other accounts that are examined first. Hume's empiricist account is criticized for reducing principles of practical reason to descriptions of the effects that certain judgments usually have on the will, and argues that this account cannot distinguish the normative ought from the ought of expectation. The rationalist account of normativity is criticized for externalism. Rational principles are external to the will, and therefore no account can be given of why the will must follow them. The principles of practical reason must be principles of the logic of deliberation, and as such must be formal. A Kantian account is then offered of how the Kant's hypothetical and categorical imperatives serve to unify and so constitute the will.

Keywords: categorical imperative; empiricist; hypothetical imperative; Hume; Kant; logic; normative; ought; principle; rationalist

Chapter.  10956 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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