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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 3, September 2020

Fiorella Tomassini
Pages 257-269

Kant and the Notion of a Juridical Duty to Oneself

In the Doctrine of Right Kant holds that the classical Ulpian command honeste vive is a juridical duty that has the particular feature (in contrast to the other juridical duties) of being internal. In this paper I explore the reasons why Kant denies that the duty to be an honorable human being comprises an ethical obligation (as, for example, Pufendorf and Achenwall thought) and conceives it as a juridical duty to oneself. I will argue that, despite the conceptual problems that the systematical incorporation of this type of duty into the doctrine of morals might entail, these reasons are coherent. The fulfillment of the duty honeste vive involves a coercion to the self but at the same time does not necessarily imply the adoption of a moral end.

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