File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1999/bhaskar.9904, message 45

Subject: BHA: Kant on Yugoslavia
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 20:54:30 -0400

Perhaps my mind has become numbed by all the bombing (Tobin's and
Jonathon's, that is).  Philip Walsh writes: "... reducing the issue to the
private motivations of ... any individual agent involved in this matter is a
Kantian step, in that it implies that the normative content of an action
resides exclusively in the agent's purpose."  I recall another recent
message making a similar statement, not to speak of a clear general animus
towards things Kantian.

Where is this view Kantian ethics coming from?  When I think of Kantian
dictums regarding action, I think of his requirement of universalizability,
a far cry, it seems to me, from placing "the normative content of an action
exclusively in the agent's purpose."  Why is Kantian ethics thought on this
list to be nothing more than a form of atomistic individualism?

Louis Irwin

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