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Dutifully Wishing: Kant’s Re-evaluation of a Strange Species of Desire

  • Alexander T. Englert (a1)

Abstract

For Kant, ‘wish’ is a technical term denoting a strange species of desire. It is an instance in which someone wills something that she simultaneously knows she cannot bring about. As a result, it is, in one sense, antithetical to morality, which deals with ‘ought implies can’. I will argue that Kant re-evaluated wishing as (to some extent) causally efficacious and, further, of moral relevance. This re-evaluation has not been discussed in the literature, yet has been lurking in plain sight in a subtle shift in two versions of a footnote from the Critique of the Power of Judgement.

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