XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Respect and Obligation

Carla Bagnoli

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


This paper concerns a puzzle that arises about the constructivist interpretation of Kant’s account of moral obligation. Kant holds that moral obligation is unconditional, that is, valid and compelling independently of the agent’s particular inclinations and interests. Constructivism holds that obligations are established via deliberation. But if moral obligations are the products of deliberation, as constructivists claim, then they are conditional upon the agent’s decision. In response to this challenge, constructivists reply that the agent’s deliberation is rationally constrained, and that the constraints that reason provides are not themselves constructed. This is a solution to the problem of the unconditionality of moral obligations, but it seems to commit constructivism to build on a realist foundation.
I argue for an alternative constructivist interpretation of Kant’s conception of obligation that rests on the constitutive role of respect, as the subjective aspect of the objectivity of practical reason.