Korsgaard’s Normativity and Morality

Abstract

Any theory of morality must contain a view about the practical status we have to each other. The most notable efforts to provide such a view come from Humean and Kantian approaches. But both seem to compromise core intuitions about morality. Christine Korsgaard has dedicated much of her work to defending a Kantian view of the practical status we have to each other, and thus to establish a Kantian morality. Her strategy consists in articulating an account of normativity based on Kant’s account of autonomy, and then expanding it to incorporate the normative status of others. In this essay I argue that Korsgaard’s account of normativity actually bars a Kantian view of the practical status we have to each other, whilst unwittingly supporting a Humean alternative. The result is a Humean take on the substance of morality, underpinned by a Kantian normative structure. This joint bill overcomes some of the problems associated with each of the approaches when on their own, and offers a conciliatory appraisal of those that remain.

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