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Respect, Pluralism, and JusticeKantian Perspectives$
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Thomas E. Hill

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198238347.001.0001

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Donagan's Kant

Donagan's Kant

Chapter:
(p.119) 5 Donagan's Kant
Source:
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice
Author(s):

Thomas E. Hill (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198238347.003.0006

Reviews at length Alan Donagan's Kantian ethical theory, as primarily expressed in his book, The Theory of Morality. Donagan's method of developing the theory by examining a tradition of Judeo‐Christian ethical beliefs is contrasted with Kant's method, which like Rousseau's, analyses relatively formal features of moral judgements to determine their basic presuppositions. Then, doubts are raised about Donagan's attempt to derive a list of strict substantive moral rules from the imperative to respect humanity. Arguably, at least in the Groundwork, Kant's idea that rational nature is an end in itself is a ‘thinner’, a more formal moral requirement than Donagan's. Thus interpreted, the idea makes the Kantian basic moral framework better able to serve as a guide for conflict resolution and conscientious judgement in a world of diverse values, moral disagreement, and uncertainty.

Keywords:   Donagan, Groundwork, humanity, Kantian ethics, moral disagreement, respect, Rousseau

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