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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 38, Issue 4, October 2012

Richard Dean
Pages 577-597
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract201238432

A Plausible Kantian Argument Against Moralism

There seems to be something wrong with passing moralistic judgments on others’ moral character. Immanuel Kant’s ethics provides insight into an underexplored way in which moralistic judgments are problematic, namely, that they are both a sign of fundamentally poor character in the moralistic person herself and an obstacle to that person’s own moral self-improvement. Kant’s positions on these issues provide a basically compelling argument against moralistic judgment of others, an argument that can be detached from the most controversial elements of Kantian ethics to stand as plausible and instructive in its own right.

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