Demoralization and Hope: A Psychological Reading of Kant's Moral Argument

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Abstract

Kant's "primacy of the practical"doctrine says that we can form morally justified commitments regarding what exists, even in the absence of sufficient epistemic grounds. In this paper I critically examine three different varieties of Kant's "moral proof"that can be found in the critical works. My claim is that the third variety - the "moral-psychological argument"based in the need to sustain moral hope and avoid demoralization - has some intriguing advantages over the other two. It starts with a premise that more clearly coheres with Kant's mature account of moral motivation, and it invokes plausible empirical-psychological theses to motivate a commitment to the full-blown classical deity - the result Kant clearly wanted. From the point of view of its structure, I think this third variety of moral argument also has the most by way of contemporary interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-60
Number of pages15
JournalMonist
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

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