Self-Legislation and the Apriority of the Moral Law

Philosophia 51 (2):609-623 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Marcus Willaschek and I have argued against the widespread assumption that Kant claims the Moral Law—the supreme principle of morality—is (or must be regarded as) ‘self-legislated’. We argue that Kant instead describes the Moral Law as an _a priori_ principle of the will. We also argue that his conception of autonomy concerns not the Moral Law but substantive moral laws such as the law that requires promoting the happiness of others. In the present essay, I respond to the commentary by Alyssa Bernstein and Christoph Hanisch. In response to Bernstein, I clarify the relation between our interpretation of Kant and those proposed by John Rawls and Allen Wood. In response to Hanisch, I argue, among other things, that Kant’s defense of the thesis that the Moral Law is an a priori principle of pure practical reason does not mean that practical reasoning and reasons-based action are impossible without it. It means rather that _morally good_ and _morally evil_ reasons-based action are impossible without it.

Author's Profile

Pauline Kleingeld
University of Groningen


Added to PP

71 (#76,493)

6 months
71 (#24,835)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?