|About the Book|
The humanity formulation of Kants Categorical Imperative demands that we treat humanity as an end in itself. Because this principle resonates with currently influential ideals of human rights and dignity, contemporary readers often find itMoreThe humanity formulation of Kants Categorical Imperative demands that we treat humanity as an end in itself. Because this principle resonates with currently influential ideals of human rights and dignity, contemporary readers often find it compelling, even if the rest of Kants moral philosophy leaves them cold. Moreover, some prominent specialists in Kants ethics recently have turned to the humanity formulation as the most theoretically central and promising principle of Kants ethics. Nevertheless, despite the intuitive appeal and the increasingly recognized philosophical importance of the humanity formulation, it has received less attention than many other, less central, aspects of Kants ethics. Richard Dean offers the most sustained and systematic examination of the humanity formulation to date. Dean argues that the rational nature that must be treated as an end in itself is not a minimally rational nature, consisting of the power to set ends or the unrealized capacity to act morally, but instead is the more properly rational nature possessed by someone who gives priority to moral principles over any contrary impulses.- This non-standard reading of the humanity formulation provides a firm theoretical foundation for deriving plausible approaches to particular moral issues - and, contrary to first impressions, does not impose moralistic demands to pass judgement on others character. Deans reading also enables progress on problems of interest to Kant scholars, such as reconstructing Kants argument for accepting the humanity formulation as a basic moral principle, and allows for increased understanding of the relationship between Kants ethics and supposedly Kantian ideas such as respect for autonomy.