Moral Knowledge: Pure Reason and the Law

Katerina Deligiorgi

in The Scope of Autonomy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646159
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741142 | DOI:
Moral Knowledge: Pure Reason and the Law

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Chapter 2 focuses on moral knowledge and examines the epistemic component of autonomy that supports a cognitivist, objectivist, and Kantian realist interpretation of right. The argument is set up against contemporary challenges to the very idea of moral knowledge. It addresses two main questions: how we know right and wrong, and how we can justify such knowledge on Kantian grounds. The central moral concept discussed in this chapter is ‘right’; that is, a ‘thin’ concept that captures core features of Kant’s term of art ‘duty’. It is shown that ‘right’ is knowable and that propositions that contain it are true without the need to refer to any facts. In his universalizability formulation, Kant gives a definition of ‘right’ that is also at the same time a test for ‘rightness’. It is argued that Kant adduces epistemic support for the formulation from analysis of ordinary moral ideas, whereas justification follows an a priori path. The a priori justificatory procedure, as reconstructed here, offers us an insight into the practical employment Kant envisages for pure reason.

Keywords: cognitivism; non-cognitivim; realism; moral truth; moral knowledge; pure practical reason; apriority; Mackie; Harman; Nagel

Chapter.  14349 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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