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The good will

DOI: 10.2298/theo0704007b

Keywords: good will , value , autonomy , agency , practical reason

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Abstract:

Kant begins his most important ethical writing, Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals, with a very strong statement that 'it is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will'. Other goods, or good features of human nature and the benefits of a good life, are good only under some proper conditions, the most important of which is precisely the good will. It is the capacity of autonomy, and entirely independent of all external ('empirical') conditions, and such a capacity is present in every moral agent capable to act 'from the duty', i. e. on the basis that morality could be the sole reason for doing what is right. So, good will is the ground of morality, and an expression of the presence of the personal autonomy.

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