Decision Procedures, Moral Criteria, and the Problem of Relevant Descriptions in Kant's Ethics

In B. Sharon Byrd, Joachim Hruschka & Jan C. Joerdan (eds.), Jahrbuch Für Recht Und Ethik. Duncker Und Humblot (1997)
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Abstract

I argue that the Universal Law formulation of the Categorical Imperative is best interpreted as a test or decision procedure of moral rightness and not as a criterion intended to explain the deontic status of actions. Rather, the Humanity formulation is best interpreted as a moral criterion. I also argue that because the role of a moral criterion is to explain, and thus specify what makes an action right or wrong, Kant's Humanity formulation yields a theory of relevant descriptions

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Mark Timmons
University of Arizona

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