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Practical Reason and Justice: On the Moral Content Inscribed in the Principle Of Universalization

Practical Reason and Justice: On the Moral Content Inscribed in the Principle Of Universalization

Flávia Carvalho Chagas, “Practical Reason and Justice: On the Moral Content Inscribed in the Principle Of Universalization,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 75, no. 1 (2019): 537–54, https://doi.org/10.17990/RPF/2019_75_1_0537.

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Practical Reason and Justice: On the Moral Content Inscribed in the Principle Of Universalization

Type Journal Article
Author Flávia Carvalho Chagas
Rights © 2019 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2019 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 75
Issue 1
Pages 537-554
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
ISSN 0870-5283
Date 2019
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2019_75_1_0537
Language English
Abstract The objective of this paper is to show that the Kantian moral principle, namely the universalizability of the maxims of the will enables “accommodating” different conceptions of good life, due to the fact of it being a formal principle, without the problem of relativism. The steps that will guide the argumentation are as follows: 1) show at first that it is exactly because the Kantian moral principle consists of a formal criterion of the second order that it enables different fillings according to the individual conception of good. This position of Kant, namely that of the primacy of the just over the good, is what allows him to affirm that his moral position can be conceived a pluralistic perspective; 2) the second step may be understood as a corollary of the first in the sense that the pluralism defended by Kant has as its “enemy” skepticism, which is founded on the principle of one’s own happiness. The Kantian thesis, as we read it, is that there is not a mere logical distinction between the principles of happiness and morality, but a practical one. Such a difference in the nature of the cited principles evidences the genuinely moral or substantive character of the principle of universalization. Thus, if, on the one hand, happiness and morality constitute “open” principles in relation to the possibility of alternative fillings of its concept, the latter points to a limit for what can be thought of as content. This limit seems to be reached always in a negative path, which involves, according to Kant, a logical or practical contradiction, which leads us to the exposition of the 3) moment of this text, namely that the criterion of universalizability of the maxims of the will seems to be an indispensable tool to show us what cannot be rationally justified, since justifying that X is good/bad means that, even though the moral principle is formal, it is not empty in content insofar as it expresses the principle of justice or equity.
Date Added 24/04/2019, 19:28:05
Modified 24/04/2019, 21:02:44

Tags:

  • justice,
  • Kant,
  • moral pluralism,
  • practical reason,
  • universalization

Notes:

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