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Kant and the Demandingness of the Virtue of Beneficence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-642
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
Early online date25 Apr 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Feb 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2019
DatePublished (current) - 16 Nov 2019


We discuss Kant's conception of beneficence against the background of the overdemandingness debate. We argue that Kant's conception of beneficence constitutes a sweet spot between overdemandingness and undemandingness. To this end, we defend four key claims that together constitute a novel interpretation of Kant's account of beneficence: (1) For the same reason that we are obligated to be beneficent to others, we are permitted to be beneficent to ourselves; (2) we can prioritise our own ends; (3) it is more virtuous to do more rather than less when it comes to helping others; and (4) indifference to others is vicious. Finally, we explain how this represents a system of duties that gives our personal ends a moral standing without unacceptably moralising them.



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