Chapter

Maxims and Moral Worth Redux

Henry E. Allison

in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199691531
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691531.003.0005
Maxims and Moral Worth Redux

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This chapter is concerned with two topics. The first is Kant conception of maxims, which are the subjective principles on which finite rational agents act. It claims that maxims are freely adopted by an agent; and consist in general rules to act in a certain way in given situations in order to attain a chosen end. It further argues that for the attribution of a maxim to an agent it suffices that it can be judged to have been implicit in the actions of that agent, even if the agent did not make a consciousness commitment to adopt it. The second topic is Kant’s claim that an action has moral worth only if it is performed from duty alone. It defends this claim against Schiller’s objection that in order for an action to have moral worth the agent must not have any other reason to perform it.

Keywords: duty; finite; general rule; maxim; moral worth; rational agent; Schiller

Chapter.  14782 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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