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Rigorism and the New Kant

Rigorism and the New Kant

(p.11) 1 Rigorism and the New Kant
Robert B. Pippin
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines several recent attempts to interpret Kant in the light of two classic objections to his moral philosophy: the “rigorism” objection (the charge that Kant’s view of moral duty demands a motivational purity that is impossible to realize) and the “formalism” objection (the claim that Kant’s supreme moral principle, the Categorical Imperative, is too indeterminate to be action-guiding). These interpretations helpfully bring out a number of features of Kant’s project that are responsive to such charges. The question posed is whether the core of Kant’s distinct position in moral theory can be maintained in such attempts to interpret a “Kant” responsive to these objections.

Keywords:   rigorism, formalism, Categorical Imperative, Realm of Ends, Friedrich Schiller, Bernard Williams, Barbara Herman, Marcia Baron, Allen Wood, Richard Henson

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