Kant and the demandingness of the virtue of beneficence

European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):625-642 (2019)
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We discuss Kant’s conception of beneficence against the background of the overdemandingness debate. We argue that Kant’s conception of beneficence constitutes a sweet spot between overdemandingess and undemandingess. To this end we defend four key claims that together constitute a novel interpretation of Kant’s account of beneficence: 1) for the same reason that we are obligated to be beneficent to others we are permitted to be beneficent to ourselves; 2) we can prioritise our own ends; 3) it is more virtuous to do more rather than less when it comes to helping others; and 4) indifference to others is vicious. Finally, we explain how this represents a system of duties that gives our personal ends a moral standing without unacceptably moralising them.

Author Profiles

Martin Sticker
University of Bristol
Paul Formosa
Macquarie University


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