Kant, Eudaimonism, Act-Consequentialism and the Fact of Reason

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Abstract

Kant considers eudaimonism as his main opponent and he assumes that his ethics is the only viable alternative to eudaimonism. He does not explicitly address theories differing from both eudaimonism and from his own. I argue that whilst Kant and Act-Consequentialists advocate different normative principles, their positions share the important abstract feature that they establish what is to be done from a rational principle and not based on what is in the self-interest of the respective agent, as Kant thinks eudaimonism does. Act-Consequentialism is thus closer to Kant’s ethics than is often assumed. I will demonstrate and vindicate this point with a new interpretation of the Fact of Reason. This reading also establishes that the notion of a Fact of Reason is less contentious than many of Kant’s critics believe. We should not expect that the Fact establishes Kantianism. Instead, the Fact is only supposed to count against a specific competing view of morality, namely, eudaimonism. Act-Consequentialists can accept the Fact as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-241
JournalArchiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Volume102
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020

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