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Kant, Garve, and the Motives of Moral Action

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Kant's comments `against Garve' constitute his reaction to the latter's remarks on Cicero's De Officiis . Two related criticisms of Kant's against Garve are discussed in brief in this paper. A closer look is then taken at Garve's claim that `Kantian morality destroys all incentives that can move human beings to act at all'. I argue that Kant and Garve rely on two different models of human action for their analyses of moral motivation; these models differ in what each takes to be salient for the explanation of human action. I show that Samuel Clarke's analogy of physical explanation in the framework of Newtonianism (in his Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion ) usefully illuminates the difference between Kant and Garve in these respects.


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Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy University of Göttingen The Netherlands,, Email: bernd.ludwig@phil.uni


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