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Volume 11, 1985

Richard A. Blanke
Pages 335-345

The Motivation to be Moral in the Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals

Kant maintained that in order for an act to have moral worth it is necessary that it be done from the motive of duty. On the traditional view of Kant, the motive of duty is constituted solely by one’s belief or cognition that some act is one’s duty. Desire must be ruled out as forming part of the moral motive. On this view, if an agent’s act is to have moral worth, then it must be the ease that his belief that he has a duty has, on its own, motivational force. I attempt to argue that this view is mistaken, that for Kant desire does have a place in moral motivation, and that for Kant it is not possible that we can have an obligation, sincerely assert that we have, and at the same time have no desire to perform that obligation.

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