Northern European Journal of Philosophy
Editor-in-Chief: Addis, Mark / Hämäläinen, Nora / Pedersen, Esther Oluffa / Westphal, Kenneth R.
Managing Editor: Pedersen, Esther Oluffa
Together with Niknam, Arman Teymouri
2 Issues per year
CiteScore 2017: 0.07
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.107
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.274
Mündigkeit und Tugend. – David Hume, Immanuel Kant und Adam Smith über Dispositionen zu moralischem Handeln und Strategien, sich der moralischen Verpfl ichtung zu entziehen
Moral principles are universally valid, valid for all human beings in so far as they are mature, responsible and of a sound mind – this idea is an essential part of our understanding of morality. Moral principles do not allow for any exceptions. Therefore, we expect from every person we take for mature and responsible to do her or his moral duty. This does not mean that we are naive about the moral goodness of human beings. We just cannot give up this expectation without considering a person as immature and irresponsible, as not being provided with a sound mind so that we cannot blame her or him for any moral failure. Any analysis of moral motivation therefore has to explain both that all responsible persons can and must have a disposition to moral agency and that for all of them this disposition is somehow privileged so that, in a case of confl icting dispositions of volition and action, it is the moral dispositions that finally determine the aim or purpose of the action. On this background, the theories of moral motivation provided by David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Adam Smith are compared. Whereas Hume seems to give up the whole idea of universal validity of moral principles and moral obligation, both Kant and Smith try to explain how dispositions to moral agency can be as omnipresent and motivationally strong as they should be – given the implication of our moral expectations. However, both theories meet with essential difficulties because they cannot exclude the influence of contingent factors on the moral motivation of a responsible person.