Self-Contradictions of the Will: Reply to Jens Timmermann

Kant Studien 112 (4):611-622 (2021)
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In this article, I reply to Jens Timmermann’s critical discussion of my essay “Contradiction and Kant’s Formula of Universal Law”. I first consider Timmermann’s reasons for rejecting my interpretation of the Formula of Universal Law. I argue that the self-contradiction relevant to determining a maxim’s moral status should not be sought in the imagined world in which the maxim is a universal law. I then discuss Timmermann’s suggestion that something like a volitional self-contradiction is found within the will of the immoral agent. I deny this and clarify that the relevant contradiction is diagnosed counterfactually in moral reflection. Finally, I explain the differences between Timmermann’s account, Korsgaard’s Practical Contradiction interpretation, and my own Volitional Self-Contradiction interpretation.

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Pauline Kleingeld
University of Groningen


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