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Kant, Moral Overdemandingness and Self-Scrutiny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Jun 2019
DatePublished (current) - 8 Aug 2019


This paper contributes to the debate about how the overdemandingness objection applies to Kant’s ethics. I first look at the versions of the overdemandingness objections Kant himself levels against other ethicists and ethical principles and I discuss in what sense he acknowledges overdemandingness as a problem. Then I argue that, according to Kant’s own standards, introspection about the moral worthiness of one’s actions can constitute forms of moral overdemandingness. Self-scrutiny and Kant’s well-known claim that we can never be certain that we acted for the right reason jeopardize agents’ deserved happiness. Furthermore, self-scrutiny can constitute an activity Kant himself criticizes under the labels of “micrology” and “fantastic virtue”. The demandingness of critical self-scrutiny has not yet received due attention in the overdemandingness debate since this debate is focused on duties we have towards others.



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