XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

The Deontic Force of the Formula of Universal Law

Sorin Baiasu

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


In recent work on Kant’s categorical imperative, Mark Timmons proposes the Formal Constraint Interpretation as a new solution to the question of how the Formula of Universal Law can function as a normative standard in our moral deliberations.
This solution radically departs from the dominant Decision Procedure Interpretation: The point is that the Formula of the Universal Law should be regarded as a set of formal constraints on the motivations with which we perform actions, rather than as a decision procedure concerning the deontic status of our actions.
In this paper, I focus on Timmons’s argument against the Decision Procedure Interpretation and I show that, by starting from a contradictory notion of a decision procedure, the argument against the Formula of Universal Law misses its target.
I conclude with some suggestions on how the argument can be strengthened, although I doubt that this will succeed in rejecting the Decision Procedure Interpretation.