Individuality and Subjectivity in Kant and Schleiermacher

In Ingolf Dalferth & Raymond Perrier (eds.), The Unique, the Singular, and the Individual. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck. pp. 321-337 (2022)
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This paper explores three important criticisms of Kant's ethics by Friedrich Schleiermacher, all having to do with Kant's alleged failure to account for the value of the individual. These are: (1) Kant's formalism precludes him from specifying ends for the will, and without such ends, the moral perfection of the individual, and the genuine appreciation of the other in his or her individuality cannot become my end; (2) Kant cannot provide an adequate metaphysical grounding of the value of the individuals comprising a community; (3) Kant cannot give an account of why members of a community should value the individual qua individual in relation to the community. In this paper I discuss these criticisms and their validity in detail. I show that understood properly, Kant has the resources to answer Schleiermacher's first criticism, and I show how Schleiermacher's own system sought to avoid the second and third problems.

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Jacqueline Mariña
Purdue University


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