XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Making Sense of Kant's Casuistry

Tatiana N Patrone

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Diderot
Data: 24 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 13 aprile 2010


The paper challenges the ‘standard reading’ of Kant according to which (1) the categorical imperative (CI) is a test to be used in our moral deliberation, and (2) in addition to the CI when dealing with difficult (casuistical) questions we need supplementary heuristic(s) to solve moral problems. Contrary to this reading, I argue that Kant did not intend the CI to be an aid in moral decision-making. Instead of helping ‘common human reason’, the CI is merely a philosopher’s tool for revealing the right-making properties of maxims. I then argue that Kant thought that there was no set algorithm for dealing with casuistical questions, and that, according to him, the thing to do when faced with particular moral dilemmas was to engage the problem in terms of its particular features. This view (I argue) follows from Kant’s claims that (i) casuistry does not belong to a system of ethics, and that (ii) casuistry can be of especial use in catechistic education.