The Moral Gap: Kantian Ethics, Human Limits, and God’s Assistance

Philosophical Review 108 (2):291-293 (1999)
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Abstract

The title of Hare’s book refers to the gap between the demand that morality places on us and our natural capacity to live by it. Such a gap is paradoxical if we accept the “‘ought’ implies ‘can”’ principle. The solution, Hare argues, is that the gap is filled by the Christian God. So we ought to be moral and can do so—with divine assistance. Hare’s statement and defense of the existence of the gap combines a rigorously Kantian notion of the moral demand with a rigorously Calvinist notion of human depravity. As such, many readers will find the gap exaggerated, but most people will admit that there is some sort of gap here to be faced, and any gap at all is a problem.

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Linda Zagzebski
University of Oklahoma

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