Kant and Consequentialism in Context: The Second Critique’s Response to Pistorius

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 103 (2):313-340 (2021)
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Commentators disagree about the extent to which Kant’s ethics is compatible with consequentialism. A question that has not yet been asked is whether Kant had a view of his own regarding the fundamental difference between his ethical theory and a broadly consequentialist one. In this paper I argue that Kant does have such a view. I illustrate this by discussing his response to a well-known objection to his moral theory, namely that Kant offers an implicitly consequentialist theory of moral appraisal. This objection was most famously raised by Mill and Schopenhauer, but also during Kant’s time by Pistorius and Tittel. I show that Kant’s response to this objection in the second Critique illustrates that he sees the fundamental difference between his moral theory and a broadly consequentialist one to be one that concerns methodology.

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Michael Walschots
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


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