Moral goodness and human equality in Kant's ethical theory
A potential tension looms in Kant's ethical thought. According to one dominant strand of it, human beings are equals under and through the moral law. All share the dignity of humanity. All are ends in themselves. All are owed respect; none may be subject to others' arrogance or contempt. But Kant also says that human beings attain personal worth through fulfillment of the moral law. A morally good person has an inner worth lacking in others. Those whom we regard as morally good elicit our respect; we attribute dignity to them because of their morality. Assuming that some but not all people are morally good, some human beings are superior to others. This implication sits uneasily with human equality.
Denis, L. (2014)., Moral goodness and human equality in Kant's ethical theory, in M. C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 85-104.
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