more from Immanuel Kant

Single Idea 6187

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 3. Universalisability]

Full Idea

The form of universality is itself the determining ground of the will, …and from this limitation alone, and not from the addition of any exernal drive, the concept of obligation arises to extend the maxim of self-love also to the happiness of others.

Gist of Idea

Universality determines the will, and hence extends self-love into altruism


Immanuel Kant (Critique of Practical Reason [1788], I.1.1.§8)

Book Reference

Kant,Immanuel: 'Critique of Practical Reason (Third edition)', ed/tr. Beck,Lewis White [Library of Liberal Arts 1993], p.35

A Reaction

This is the heroic and optimistic part of Kant's philosophy, the attempt to derive altruism from pure reason. The claim seems to be that maxims don't motivate until they have been universalised. I fear that only altruism could add such motivation.