Parfit’s Mixed Maxim Objection against the Formula of Universal Law Reconsidered

Hoesch Matthias, Sticker Martin

Research article (journal)


Parfit’s Mixed Maxims Objection against Kant’s Formula of Universal Law raises the question of what the relation is between the moral evaluation of actions and of maxims. This problem has been overlooked in recent Kantian discussions about the plausibility of the Categorical Imperative formulas. Parfit argues that we should abandon Kant’s conception of a maxim as an object of moral evaluation, and instead ask whether the performance of certain types of actions can be willed as a universal law. In this article, we firstly distinguish and discuss several versions of the Mixed Maxims Objection. Secondly, we argue that moral philosophers can and should focus ethical evaluation on maxims, but they need to introduce the condition that, while permissible maxims must contain only morally relevant properties, they do not have to contain all of these properties. This conception allows us to meet Parfit’s challenge and hold on to the Kantian insight that maxims are of moral relevance.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2024
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish
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