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By Voltaire

ISBN-10: 1145659519

ISBN-13: 9781145659513

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But we should do so cautiously for several reasons. First, it is clearly crucial for Kant to avoid any dependence on claims of human nature to ground the basic principles of his ethics. But this fundamental task of grounding the most basic principle of morality is not his project here. Rather, he is concerned with the question of the “highest good,” with the possible employment of moral principles, and with the achievement thereby of both virtue and happiness. It is with such questions that appeal to human nature becomes more apropos.

Be placed, as is commonly done, in the sensuous nature of the human being, and in the natural inclinations originating from it. For not only do these bear no direct relation to evil . : we also cannot presume ourselves responsible for their existence (we cannot because, as conatural to us, natural inclinations do not have us for their author), though we can well be responsible for the propensity to evil” (6:35/57–58). Allison is, of course, aware of, and in agreement with this point (Allison, 1990, 155–156), but believes that his own account does not make one’s sensible nature “directly responsible for our moral failings” (Allison, 1990, 156).

The greatest perfection of agency would be not only to achieve particular ends, nor even a mere aggregate of them, but also to achieve perfect coherence, unity, and harmony in the setting, pursuit, and accomplishment of ends overall. The content of one’s ends could not be inherently opposed to each other. The agent would not pursue certain ends in one direction only to counteract her own activity by pursuing others which led in opposite, contradictory, and self-defeating directions. Rather, her particular ends would be guided by some overall principle, or by several non-conflicting and mutually enhancing principles which assured their overall coherence.

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