XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Wolff and the Beginnings of Kant’s Moral Philosophy: The Forgotten Heritage

luc langlois

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Fermi
Data: 24 maggio 2010 - 17:00
Ultima modifica: 13 aprile 2010


The purpose of this paper is to examine the contribution of Wolff’s philosophia practica to Kant’s moral philosophy. It is generally admitted that Kant’s ethics, through a range of influences including English/Scottish philosophies of moral feeling, the theological thinking of Crusius and the Rousseauian conception of moral consciousness, was defined in opposition to Wolff’s practical philosophy. This is an inaccurate interpretation as, on the contrary, all Kant’s efforts to maintain morals within the bounds of rationalism testify to the persistent influence of Wolff, particularly in respect of the conception of obligation. It is quite true that Kant thoroughly transformed this rationalist conception of morals, in particular through laying out the specificity of practical reason. Nevertheless, it is Wolff’s influence that ultimately convinced him to recognize a demand of reason in the form of moral commands.