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Self-Improvement – An Essay in Kantian Ethics - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Self-Improvement: An Essay in Kantian Ethics

Robert N. Johnson


Is there any moral obligation to improve oneself, to foster and develop various capacities in oneself? From a broadly Kantian point of view, Self-Improvement defends the view that there is such an obligation, and that it is an obligation that each person owes to him- or herself. The defence addresses a range of arguments philosophers have mobilized against this idea, such as it being impossible to owe anything to yourself, or the belief that an obligation to improve oneself is overly ‘moralistic’. It argues against Kantian universalization arguments for a duty of self-improvement, as well as a ... More

Keywords: ability, consequentialism, constructivism, Categorical Imperative, contractarianism, duties to oneself, humanity, imperfect duties, Kant, rights, self-realization, perfectionism, self-respect, universalizability, virtue

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199599349
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599349.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert N. Johnson, author
University of Missouri