Means, Ends, and Persons: The Meaning and Psychological Dimensions of Kant's Humanity Formula

ISBN : 9780190251550

Robert Audi
192 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
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No one wants to be treated merely as a means-"used," in a sense. But just what is this repugnant treatment? Audi's point of departure is Kant's famous principle that we must treat persons as ends in themselves and never merely as means. Treatment of these kinds is conduct, a complex three-dimensional notion whose central elements are action, its motivation, and the manner of its performance. He shows how the notions of treating persons as ends and, by contrast, merely as means, can be anchored outside Kant and clarified in ways that enhance their usefulness both in ethical theory and in practical ethics, where they have much intuitive force. Audi constructs an account of treatment of persons-of what it is, how it differs from mere interpersonal action, and what ethical standards govern it. In accounting for such treatment, the book develops a wider conception of ethics than is commonly implicit in utilitarian, deontological, or virtue theories. These results contribute to ethical theory, but in its discussion of diverse narrative examples of moral and immoral conduct, the book also contributes to normative ethics. Audi's theory of conduct takes account of motivational elements that are not traits of character and of behavioral elements that are not manifestations of virtue or vice. Here it goes beyond the leading virtue approaches. The theory also advances rule ethics by framing wider conception of moral behavior-roughly, of acting morally. The results advance both normative ethics and ethical theory. For moral philosophy, the book frames conceptions, articulates distinctions, and formulates principles; and for practical ethics, it provides a multitude of cases that illustrate both the scope of moral responsibility and the normative standards for living up to it.


Preface and Acknowledgments


Part One

The Ethics of Protecting Persons

Chapter 1

The Instrumental Treatment of Persons

Means and Ends

Instrumental Versus End-Regarding Treatment

Treating Solely as a Means versus Merely as a Means

Chapter 2

Instrumental Treatment as Human Conduct

The Motivation and Controllability of Merely Instrumental Conduct

Constraints, Moral Character, and Self-Control

Motivation, Constraints, and the Appraisal of Character

Chapter 3

Action, Treatment and Conduct

Action, Endeavor, and Consequence

Two Levels of Behavioral Description

Conduct as a Morally Important Category

Manners of Action Versus Actions as Defined by Manner

Chapter 4

The Wrong-Making Character of Merely Instrumental Treatment

Thick and Thin Moral Questions

Substantive and Contrastive Views of Merely Instrumental Treatment

Persons as Ends Versus Good Ends for Persons

Internal and External Goods for Persons

Part Two

The Ethics of Respecting Persons

Chapter 5

Treating Others as Ends in Themselves

Caring about the Good of Others

Two Kinds of Normativity

Descriptive Grounds of End-regarding Treatment

Chapter 6

End-Regarding Treatment and Respect for Persons

Good Deeds, Good Reasons, and Good Conduct

End-Regarding Treatment, Intention, and Interpersonal Behavior

The Particularity of Persons and the Interchangeability of Means

Chapter 7

Autonomy and the Moral Significance of Our Self-Conceptions

Psychological Dispositions and the Basis of Consent

Respect for Persons, Point of View, and Informed Rational Desire

End-Regarding Treatment and Respecting Moral Rights

Conduct Toward Persons versus Behavior Affecting Them

Chapter 8

Conduct, Intention, and Will

Motivational Self-Control and the Scope of Intentions

The Manner of Interpersonal Conduct

Moral Requirements and the Content of Intention

Conduct Requirements and the Love Commandments



About the author: 

Robert Audi is an internationally known contributor to ethics. He has published books and numerous papers in the field, and he lectures widely in ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of action, and related areas.

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