Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-8tjh8 Total loading time: 0.166 Render date: 2021-10-20T02:02:01.097Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2013

Eric Entrican Wilson*
Affiliation:
Georgia State University Email: ewilson30@gsu.edu

Abstract

This essay seeks to contribute to current debates about value in Kant's ethics. Its main objective is to dislodge the widely shared intuition that his view of autonomy requires constructivism or some other alternative to moral realism. I argue the following. Kant seems to think that the value of persons is due to their very nature, not to what anyone decides is the case (however rational or pure those decisions may be). He also seems to think that when we treat persons as ends in themselves we are responding appropriately to the fact that their very nature elevates them above all other concerns. Neither of these beliefs is incompatible with his view of autonomy. So it is a mistake to think that Kant's ethics requires constructivism or any other form of anti-realism.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Kantian Review 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Anderson, Lanier (2001) ‘Synthesis, Cognitive Normativity, and the Meaning of Kant's Question, “How are Synthetic Cognitions A Priori Possible?”’. European Journal of Philosophy, 9(3), 275305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baxley, Anne Margaret (2003) ‘Autocracy and Autonomy’. Kant-Studien, 94(1), 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Butler, Joseph (1983) Five Sermons, ed. Stephen Darwall. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar
Graham, George (forthcoming) ‘Being a Mental Disorder’. In H. Kincaid and J. Sullivan (eds), Psychiatric Classification and Natural Kinds (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).Google Scholar
Guyer, Paul (2000) Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guyer, Paul (2005) Kant's System of Nature and Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Herman, Barbara (1993) The Practice of Moral Judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Herman, Barbara (2007) Moral Literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Hill, Thomas E Jr., (1991) Autonomy and Self-Respect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, Robert (2007) ‘Value and Autonomy in Kantian Ethics’. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press), vol. 2, pp. 133148.Google Scholar
Kain, Patrick (2004) ‘Self-Legislation in Kant's Moral Philosophy’. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 86(3), 257306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (1996a) The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (1996b) Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (1997a) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (1997b) Lectures on Ethics, trans. Peter Heath. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kant, Immanuel (2006) Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, trans. Robert B. Louden Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Korsgaard, Christine (1996a) Creating the Kingdom of Ends. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Korsgaard, Christine (1996b) The Sources of Normativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Korsgaard, Christine (2008) The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langton, Rae (2007) ‘Objective and Unconditioned Value’. Philosophical Review, 116(2), 157185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, Adrienne (2006) ‘How to Argue for the Value of Humanity’. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 87(1), 96125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nagel, Thomas (1986) The View from Nowhere. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Nagel, Thomas (1997) The Last Word. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Rawls, John (1980) ‘Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory’. Journal of Philosophy, 77(9), 515572.Google Scholar
Reath, Andrews (2006) Agency and Autonomy in Kant's Moral Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reath, Andrews (2011) ‘Will, Obligatory Ends, and the Completion of Practical Reason: Comments on Barbara Herman's Moral Literacy. Kantian Review, 16(1), 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schneewind, J. B. (1998) The Invention of Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sensen, Oliver (2009a) ‘Kant's Conception of Human Dignity’. Kant-Studien, 100(3), 309331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sensen, Oliver (2009b) ‘Kant's Conception of Inner Value’. European Journal of Philosophy, 19(2), 262280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stern, Robert (forthcoming) ‘Constructivism and the Argument for Autonomy’. In James Lenman and Yonatan Shemmer (eds), Constructivism in Practical Philosophy.Google Scholar
Timmermann, Jens (2006) ‘Values Without Regress: Kant's “Formula of Humanity” Revisited’. European Journal of Philosophy, 14(1), 6993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Timmermann, Jens (2007) Kant's ‘Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals’: A Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Velleman, J. David (2006) Self to Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wood, Allen (1999) Kant's Ethical Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wood, Allen (2008) Kantian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
2
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Kant on Autonomy and the Value of Persons
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *