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Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of MoralsA Commentary$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691531.001.0001

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The Formula of Humanity (FH)

The Formula of Humanity (FH)

(p.204) 8 The Formula of Humanity (FH)
Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative: the formula of humanity as an end in itself (FH). It examines Kant’s claims that a categorical imperative presupposes something of absolute value; that this must have the status of an end in itself, and that humanity or rational nature is the only thing that could meet this condition. It argues that this end must be understood in the negative sense as something not to be acted against, rather than in the positive sense as something to be attained. In light of this, it examines FH, which maintains that humanity (whether in one’s own person or that of others) is always to be respected as an end in itself and never treated merely as a means, and considers Kant’s application of this principle to the four examples that considered under FLN.

Keywords:   absolute value, categorical imperative, end in itself, formula of humanity, means, rational nature

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