Kant and a Problem of Motivation
Moral Judgment, Psychological Problem, Moral Philosopher, Normative Reason Moral Problem
n The Moral Problem, Michael Smith argues that there is an on-going tension in discussions among moral philosophers between the putative objectivity of morality, the practicality of moral judgments, and Hume’s view of motivation.Footnote1 From an agent’s point of view, putatively objective claims imply cognitivism, the view that moral judgments express beliefs about the way the world is morally.Footnote2 But if moral judgments are practical and on Hume’s view of motivation dependent on the desires of an agent, then from a moral standpoint, we risk making claims that the agent cannot be motivated to act upon.Footnote3 In this sense the problem, which Smith calls the moral problem, is a problem of motivation. It is a problem of how beliefs about putatively objective morality considerations can universally motivate individuals with differing motivational psychologies. Smith considers the tension to be meta-ethical and that its resolution is the primary task of moral philosophers. Secondary to such problems, on his view, are problems of normative ethics.
Original Publication Citation
“Kant and a Problem of Motivation.” Journal of Value Inquiry. 2012. 46.1: 83-96.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jensen, David A., "Kant and a Problem of Motivation" (2012). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 17.
The Journal of Value Inquiry
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012