Duty and Desolation
Kant put objectification on the moral map: we should not treat each other as ‘means’, instruments, tools. Kant's correspondence with Maria von Herbert offers a real life illumination: how lying and suicide involve treating someone as a means; how love and friendship involve treating someone as an end; how this works against a backdrop of sexual objectification, which may justify lying, in Maria's case. It illustrates objectification and ‘objective’ attitudes (Strawson, Korsgaard). And it presents a challenge. Maria is sunk in misery and apathy, yet follows the moral law — she is perhaps a Kantian saint. What does this spell for Kant's philosophy?
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