return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 21060

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 2. Duty]

Full Idea

It would not be a duty to strive after a certain effect of our will if this effect were impossible in experience.

Gist of Idea

It can't be a duty to strive after the impossible


Immanuel Kant (True in Theory, but not in Practice [1792], Intro)

A Reaction

'Ought implies can' has become a familiar slogan. The quickest way to get shot of a tiresome duty is to persuade yourself that it is impossible. The seemingly impossible is occasionally achieved.

Book Reference

Kant,Immanuel: 'Political Writings', ed/tr. Reiss,Hans [CUP 1996], p.62