Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 June 2013
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.