Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A central claim of the Kantian approach to ethics is Kant's famous thesis that moral obligations or oughts are “categorical imperatives.” This Kantian thesis has four aspects: normativity, universality, supremacy, and necessity. This article presents the strongest case for the Kantian thesis: the analytical or conceptual interpretation, and the normative interpretation. It argues that moral obligations are tied conceptually to moral responsibility, and therefore, to reasons that can be addressed as demands to one another as free and equal moral persons. It claims that an appreciation of the second-personal character of moral accountability must enter both into an adequate understanding of the concept of moral obligation and as the source of one's awareness of the distinctive kind of freedom, autonomy, that a Kantian must hold is necessary to vindicating the categoricality of moral reasons.

Keywords: Kantian approach, moral obligations, Kantian thesis, normativity, universality, supremacy, necessity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.