The appeal to conscience still has a great importance in common moral reasoning and in political discourse; at the same time, the notion of conscience has played only a limited role in the philosophical foundation of ethics since the 20th century. This is the fundamental trait of the ‘problem of conscience’ mentioned in the title. In relation to many aspects of this peculiar situation, Kant’s position is of particular significance, since he limits, on the one hand, the systematic role of conscience in moral theory, anticipating to some extent its contemporary ‘dismissal’, but, on the other hand, he gives to conscience a crucial role in the phenomenology of moral life. Kant’s theory can be examined in this context by posing two questions: (1) Why doesn’t Kant develop an ethics of conscience? (2) Which still important role does he give to conscience in moral life and how can it be justified? I address both questions, giving more importance to the second one, which involves an interpretation of many features of Kant’s very intriguing theory of conscience, and in particular of the alleged ‘infallibility’ of this faculty, which needs to be understood in accordance with the fallibility of moral judgment. I shall argue that Kant undertakes a sort of ‘formalisation’ of conscience, which represents an interesting position for the ‘problem of conscience’: according to this view, conscience does not guarantee the content of any moral evaluation, of any belief, but it prescribes a way of proceeding which demands that any moral deliberation should take place in the space of moral shareable reasons.
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|Titolo:||Kant and the Problem of Conscience|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 - Contributo in volume (Capitolo o saggio)|