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Practical Reason and Respect for Persons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2017

Melissa McBay Merritt*
Affiliation:
University of New South Wales

Abstract

My project is to reconsider the Kantian conception of practical reason. Some Kantians take practical reasoning to be more active than theoretical reasoning, on the grounds that it need not contend with what is there anyway, independently of its exercise. Behind that claim stands the thesis that practical reason is essentially efficacious. I accept the efficacy principle, but deny that it underwrites this conception of practical reason. My inquiry takes place against the background of recent Kantian metaethical debate — each side of which, I argue, points to issues that need to be jointly accommodated in the account of practical reason. From the constructivist, I accept the essential efficacy of practical reason; from the realist, I accept that any genuinely cognitive exercise of practical reason owes allegiance to what is there anyway, independently of its exercise. I conclude that a Kantian account of recognition respect enables us to accommodate both claims.

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Articles
Copyright
© Kantian Review 2017 

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