ADVANTAGES

Kant’s views in this regard have understandably been the subjectof much controversy. Many object that we do not think better ofactions done for the sake of duty than actions performed out ofemotional concern or sympathy for others, especially those things wedo for friends and family. Worse, moral worth appears to require notonly that one’s actions be motivated by duty, but also that noother motives, even love or friendship, cooperate. Yet Kant’sdefenders have argued that his point is not that we do not admire orpraise motivating concerns other than duty, only that from the pointof view of someone deliberating about what to do, these concerns arenot decisive in the way that considerations of moral duty are. What iscrucial in actions that express a good will is that in conforming toduty a perfectly virtuous person always would, and so ideally weshould, recognize and be moved by the thought that our conformity ismorally obligatory. The motivational structure of the agent should bearranged so that she always treats considerations of duty assufficient reasons for conforming to those requirements. In otherwords, we should have a firm commitment not to perform an action if itis morally forbidden and to perform an action if it is morallyrequired. Having a good will, in this sense, is compatible with havingfeelings and emotions of various kinds, and even with aiming tocultivate some of them in order to counteract desires and inclinationsthat tempt us to immorality. Controversy persists, however, aboutwhether Kant’s claims about the motive of duty go beyond thisbasic point (Timmermann 2007; Herman 1993; Wood 1998; Baron 1995).

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