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The Value of Humanity in Kant's Moral Theory$
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Richard Dean

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199285723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199285721.001.0001

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The Argument for the Humanity Formula

The Argument for the Humanity Formula

(p.109) 6 The Argument for the Humanity Formula
The Value of Humanity in Kant's Moral Theory

Richard Dean (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It is no easy task to decipher Kant’s argument for accepting the humanity formulation as a fundamental principle of morality (often called his ‘derivation’ of the humanity formulation). The argument may be viewed as having two steps. The first step, establishing that each rational agent has reason to treat her own rational nature in certain ways, is justified because one’s own rational nature is the necessary condition of the value of any other ends one has. The second step, establishing that each rational agent also must treat others’ rational nature in certain ways, depends on Kant’s idea that any formulation of the Categorical Imperative must embody basic everyday assumptions about the nature of morality. A principle of morality must give people common ends to work toward, rather than spurring them toward inevitable conflict. Thus, a moral principle based on the importance of rational nature must emphasize the importance of everyone’s rational nature, instead of telling each person to care only about her own.

Keywords:   Categorical Imperative, humanity formulation, ends, rational nature

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