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Kant's Account of Respect: A Bridge between Rationality and Anthropology

  • Jane Singleton (a1)
Abstract

Kant starts the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by emphasizing the importance of separating the a priori or rational part of moral philosophy from the a posteriori or empirical aspects. Indeed, he reserves the term moral philosophy for the rational part. He writes ‘ethics … the empirical part might be given the special title practical anthropology, the term moral philosophy being properly used to refer just to the rational part’. Throughout his writings in both theoretical and practical philosophy the distinction between what is a priori and what is a posteriori is given paramount importance. We need to separate that which has its source a priori from its application to, for example human beings.

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Notes

1 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Zweig A., eds. Hill T. E. and Zweig A. (Oxford: OUP, 2002 [1785]), 4: 388.

2 Ibid., 4: 389.

3 Ibid., 4: 421.

4 Ibid., 4: 402n.

5 Louden R. B., Kant's Impure Ethics: From Rational Beings to Human Beings (Oxford: OUP, 2000).

6 Sherman N., ‘Reasons and feelings in Kantian morality’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 55/2 (1995), 369–77, at 369.

7 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, Beck L. W. trans., 3rd edn (New York: Macmillan, 1993 [1788]), 5: 79.

8 Kant I., ‘Metaphysics of Morals’, in Gregor M. J. trans., Immanuel Kant Practical Philosophy (Cambridge: CUP, 1999 [1797]), 6: 399–6: 403.

9 Ibid., 6: 462.

10 Ibid., 6: 454-5.

11 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 79.

12 Ibid., 5: 71.

13 Ibid., 5: 71-5: 89.

14 Ibid., 5: 71.

15 Ibid., 5: 72.

16 Ibid., 5: 72.

17 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 4: 457.

18 Allison H. E., Kant's Transcendental Idealism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983), pp. 26–8.

19 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 72.

20 Ibid., 5: 78.

21 Ibid., 5: 75.

22 Ibid., 5: 79.

23 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 4: 460, n. 3.

24 Ibid., 4: 400, n. 13.

25 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 79.

26 Ibid., 5: 78–9.

27 My thanks to an anonymous reviewer of this paper who pointed out that Kant's claim that the ‘negative effect on feeling (through the check on the inclinations) is itself a feeling’ (5: 73) is a claim that can be disputed since thwarting a feeling might cause a feeling, but need not be a feeling. Perhaps Kant's point is made in too abbreviated a form here. Presumably the point is that the ground of duty, the moral law, is what is thwarting feelings and this is manifested at the phenomenal level by the feeling that Kant calls respect.

28 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 73.

30 Ibid., 5: 73, 75, 78.

31 Ibid., 5: 79.

32 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 4: 401, n. 14.

33 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 80.

34 For example, Reath A., ‘Kant's theory of moral sensibility’, Kant-Studien, 80 (1989), 284302; McCarty R., ‘Kantian moral motivation and the feeling of respect’, Journal of the History of Philosophy (1993), 421–35; Stratton-Lake P., Kant, Duty and Moral Worth (London: Routledge, 2000); Broadie A. and Pybus E. M., ‘Kant's concept of “Respect”’, Kant-Studien, 66 (1975), 5864.

35 Kant I., ‘Metaphysics of Morals’, 6: 399.

36 Kant I., Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, in Wood A. and Giovanni G. di, trans, and ed., Immanuel Kant Religion and Rational Theology (Cambridge: CUP, 1996 [1793]), 6: 23–4.

37 This thesis has become known as the ‘Incorporation thesis’ from Allison H., Kant's Theory of Freedom (Cambridge: CUP, 1990)

38 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 4: 413, n. *.

39 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5:117.

40 Kant I., Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, 4: 406.

41 Ibid., 4: 400.

42 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 78.

43 Ibid., 5: 114.

44 Reath A., ‘Kant's theory of moral sensibility’, 287.

45 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 80.

46 Stratton-Lake P., ‘Kant, duty, and moral work’, p. 36.

47 Kant I., ‘Metaphysics of Morals’, 6: 464.

48 Guyer P., Kant and the Experience of Freedom (Cambridge: CUP, 1996). In chapter 10 of this book Guyer argues that respect is not the motive for adherence to the moral law. Respect is rather the effect on feelings of the decision to adhere to the moral law.

49 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 79.

50 Reath A., ‘Kant's theory of moral sensibility’, 288

51 Ibid., 289.

52 Kant I., ‘Metaphysics of Morals’, 6: 399.

54 Ibid., 6: 400.

55 Ibid., 6: 399.

57 Kant I., Critique of Practical Reason, 5: 76.

58 Kant I., ‘Metaphysics of Morals’, 6: 400.

59 Ibid., 6: 438.

60 Ibid., 6: 400.

61 Ibid., 6: 401.

62 Ibid., 6:402.

64 Ibid., 6: 403.

65 Ibid., 6: 462.

66 Ibid., 6: 401.

67 Ibid., 6: 399-400.

68 Ibid., 6: 402.

69 Ibid., 6: 448.

70 Ibid., 6: 465.

71 Ibid., 6: 466.

72 Ibid., 6: 467.

73 Ibid., 6: 463.

74 Ibid., 6: 468.

75 Ibid., 6: 454-5.

76 Ibid., 6: 456.

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Kantian Review
  • ISSN: 1369-4154
  • EISSN: 2044-2394
  • URL: /core/journals/kantian-review
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