Kant’s Neglected Argument Against Consequentialism

Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):501-520 (1991)
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Abstract

The paper interprets Kant’s neglected argument at FOUNDATIONS 401 as consisting of these two premises and conclusion: (1) It follows from consequentialism that in a natural paradise people would not be obligated to be morally good. (2) But this is absurd; one ought to be morally good no matter what. Therefore, consequentialism is false. It is shown that this argument is a powerful one, mainly by showing that independent grounds support (2) and that (1) may survive a number of strong possible objections. One that it does not appear to survive, though, is that the paradise envisioned is not logically possible.

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Gilbert Edward Plumer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (PhD)

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