Kant's account of moral weakness

Marijana Vujosevic*

*Corresponding author for this work

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

On the one hand, Kant seems to suggest that moral weakness is merely expressed at the level of following maxims. On the other hand, he addresses moral weakness as the first grade of our propensity to evil, which implies that moral weakness is also expressed at the level of adopting maxims. There is still a lack of clarity in the literature concerning how the relationship between these two aspects is to be understood, and a proper account of the nature of the maxims of the morally weak has yet to be offered. Drawing on my earlier interpretation of moral strength, I shall propose a reading of Kant's account of moral weakness that consistently unifies both aspects. On my interpretation, the morally weak agent lacks the moral strength that he ought to acquire through the continuous exercise of his power of self-control; he therefore fails both to set himself particular moral ends in adopting his maxims and to follow his maxims by realizing such ends. His intention to do what the moral law demands is overly general: It does not set a particular moral end, which is what virtue requires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Volume27
Issue number1
Early online date13-Aug-2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2019

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