I discuss the problem that Kant's ethics seems to be incapable of capturing our strong intuition that emergencies create a context for actions that is very different from other cases of helping and from other opportunities to further obligatory ends. I argue that if we pay attention to how Kant grounds beneficence we see that distress and emergency function as constitutive concerns. They are vital to establishing the duty of beneficence in the first place, and they also guide the application of duties to specific cases. Kant's conception of imperfect duties to others, when understood correctly, offers a way to understand why emergencies are morally important, but also why other factors have a place in our moral reasoning.
- Imperfect Duties
- Easy Rescue Cases