The Apple of Kant's Ethics: i‐Maxims as the Locus of Assessment

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A maxim is a subjective principle of volition. But I want to distinguish between maxims at three levels of abstraction. At the first level are what I shall call individual maxims, or i-maxims: maxim tokens as adopted by particular rational beings. At the second level are abstract maxims, or a-maxims: abstract principles distinct from any individual who adopts them. At the third level are maxim kinds, or k-maxims: sets of various action-guiding principles that are grouped on the basis of their content. In this paper, I argue for the thesis that i-maxims are the locus of assessment in Kant’s ethics. I argue for this thesis in two ways. First I argue that there is textual evidence in favor of my thesis. Then I argue that there are good philosophical grounds in favor of my thesis. Thus, I argue that there are reasons to think that Kant thought i-maxims are the locus of assessment and, further, that he was right about this.
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Archival date: 2022-07-12
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