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Reading: On the Necessity of Duty

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On the Necessity of Duty

Author:

Chiara Felli

About Chiara
M.Sc. Economics and Philosophy
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Abstract

Kant argues that in order for an action to be morally worthy it needs to be performed out of respect of the moral law - that duty has to be the agent’s primary motive for action. If this was the case, acts done in conformity with duty, but from love would not have any moral content, in contrast with our intuitive judgments. For instance, we are prone to argue that a father who acts from love is intuitively morally superior to one who acts from duty only.

I wish to claim that there indeed exists a sense in which an action done from a specific kind of love acquires moral content and that this does not invalidate Kant’s theory, for moral worth is produced precisely because acting from this form of love implicitly fulfills the Kantian requirement of acting from duty. I will clarify what is meant by ‘duty’ and ‘love’, and show that there is no such thing as a morally worthy action done from a kind of love which does not presuppose duty.

How to Cite: Felli, C., 2011. On the Necessity of Duty. Rerum Causae, 3(1), pp.71–80.
Published on 01 Jan 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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