Kant, Morality, and Hell

In Robert Arp & Benjamin McCraw (eds.), The Concept of Hell. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113-126 (2015)
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In this paper I argue that, although Kant argues that morality is independent of God (and hence, agrees with the Euthyphro), and rejects Divine Command Theory (or Theological Voluntarism), he believes that all moral duties are also the commands of God, who is a moral being, and who is morally required to punish those who transgress the moral law: "God’s justice is the precise allocation of punishments and rewards in accordance with men’s good or bad behavior." However, since we lack a strict proof of God's existence, we can still fulfill our duties from the motive of duty. if we did know that God exists, then this would undermine our pure moral motivation to do our duty, since we would have an even stronger interest in pleasing God through our good conduct. The effect of undermining our pure moral motivation would be to make us less eligible for divine reward, since God rewards us for doing our duty from the motive of duty.

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James Mahon
Lehman College (CUNY)


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