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Title Kant's Humanity Formula in the Groundwork
Publication Date
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Philosophy
Degree Level thesis
University/Publisher Georgia State University
Abstract In this paper I argue for an alternative reading of the humanity formula that Kant presents in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. The standard reading takes “humanity” to mean the capacity for setting ends. I suggest this reading is problematic for it does not offer a satisfactory explanation for what it means to use humanity as mere means. My reading considers “humanity” as the capacity for appraising one’s maxims from the perspective of pure practical reason. On this reading, to use humanity as mere means is to look at one’s maxims from the wrong perspective, i.e., the perspective of happiness. Further, I argue that it is mistaken to take Kant’s claim about an end in itself as a claim about any ultimate value. Instead, the claim should be construed as a claim about the role of pure practical reason in moral appraisal, which should be understood in terms of Kant’s metaphysics of the mind.
Subjects/Keywords Humanity; An end in itself; Groundwork; Kant
Contributors Eric Wilson; Tim O'Keefe; Christie Hartley
Country of Publication us
Record ID oai:scholarworks.gsu.edu:philosophy_theses-1128
Repository georgia-state
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-01-11
Created Date 2013-05-10 07:00:00

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…version of this thesis. Thank Martin Sticker and J.P. Messina for reading through my final draft and give their comments as fellow Kantians. Finally, I thank my advisor Eric Wilson for going through many drafts of the thesis with me and giving insightful…