Kant on the Radical Evil of Human Nature

Formosa, P. (2007) Kant on the Radical Evil of Human Nature. The Philosophical Forum, 38 3: 221-245. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9191.2007.00265.x


Author Formosa, P.
Title Kant on the Radical Evil of Human Nature
Journal name The Philosophical Forum   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-806X
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9191.2007.00265.x
Volume 38
Issue 3
Start page 221
End page 245
Total pages 25
Editor Lackey, D.
Place of publication USA
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
440103 Ethical Theory
Abstract In his book Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant presents his thesis that human nature is “radically evil.”2 To be radically evil is to have a corrupted moral orientation or, equivalently, an evil disposition. However, the very coherency of Kant’s radical evil thesis has often been questioned, as has the nature of the argument Kant supposedly offers for this thesis. Kant’s argument for radical evil consists primarily of two parts: an evil disposition derivation, where Kant argues that from a single evil maxim one can infer an evil disposition, and the universality claim, where Kant argues that all humans have an evil disposition. The first but not second of these arguments succeeds. Even so, radical evil is likely to be very widespread, if not universally so, among humanity. As such, Kant’s thesis deserves to be taken seriously by any moral and political theory. It deserves to be taken seriously, or so I shall argue, because it paints an eminently plausible picture of the human moral condition.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2008 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 28 Apr 2008, 12:54:23 EST by Ms Emma Pursey on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry