XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

A Splitting Mind-Ache: The Case of Self-Legislation

Reshef Agam-Segal

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Rousseau
Data: 23 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 12 aprile 2010


In “Modern Moral Philosophy” Elizabeth Anscombe attacks the idea of self-legislation, at the heart of Kantian ethics. The very idea, she thinks, is suspect; it does not even make sense to say that we can or cannot legislate for ourselves. My aim is to elucidate the challenge Anscombe’s argument poses to Kantian ethics. I elaborate, and add an auxiliary consideration to clarify, Anscombe’s claim. The Kantian uses the idea of self-legislation to explain both how we constitute our moral identity, and the moral law necessitates action. I argue, however, that when explaining moral necessity, the reflexive use of the idea of legislation in “self-legislation” may indicate a lack of attention to the logic of legislation. This may be the result of being held captive by a picture: falsely expecting the grammar of legislation to remain constant even when the context of use drastically changes from non-reflexive to reflexive.