Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by Horn, Christoph / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Together with Carriero, John / Meyer, Susan Sauvé

Editorial Board Member: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.173
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.221
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.195

See all formats and pricing
Select Volume and Issue


Self-Legislation in Kant's Moral Philosophy

Patrick Kain1


Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. Volume 86, Issue 3, Pages 257–306, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph.2004.86.3.257, July 2005

Publication History

Published Online:


Kant famously insisted that “the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislative will” is the supreme principle of morality. Recent interpreters have taken this emphasis on the self-legislation of the moral law as evidence that Kant endorsed a distinctively constructivist conception of morality according to which the moral law is a positive law, created by us. But a closer historical examination suggests otherwise. Kant developed his conception of legislation in the context of his opposition to theological voluntarist accounts of morality and his engagement with conceptions of obligation found in his Wolffian predecessors. In order to defend important claims about the necessity and immediacy of moral obligation, Kant drew and refined a distinction between the legislation and authorship of the moral law in a way that precludes standard theological voluntarist theories and presents an obstacle to recent constructivist interpretations. A correct understanding of Kant's development and use of this distinction reveals that his conception of legislation leaves little room for constructivist moral anti-realism.

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Eric Entrican Wilson
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2015, Volume 96, Number 2, Page 256
Camillia Kong
International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2012, Volume 20, Number 5, Page 661
Lara Ostaric
Kantian Review, 2012, Volume 17, Number 01, Page 75
Siegfried Van Duffel
Critical Review, 2009, Volume 21, Number 1, Page 117
Patrick Kain
Kantian Review, 2005, Volume 9, Page 128
John E. Hare
Philosophical Investigations, 2011, Volume 34, Number 2, Page 151
Margit Ruffing
Kant Studien, 2006, Volume 97, Number 4
Garrath Williams
Politics and Ethics Review, 2007, Volume 3, Number 1, Page 8
Paul Formosa
European Journal of Philosophy, 2013, Volume 21, Number 2, Page 170
Patrick Kain
Philosophy Compass, 2006, Volume 1, Number 5, Page 449

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.