The Highest Good as Content for Kant’s Ethical Formalism

Jeffrie G. Murphy

Arizona State University College of Law


Kant-Studien, Vol. 56, p. 102, 1965

This article examines Kant’s conception of the highest good (summum bonum) with a view to determining whether it can, as Kant believed, function as a necessary content for the form of moral violation. It argues that it cannot and also suggests that the whole procedure of looking for a material content to fill out Kant’s formalism is spurious, because this content is already quite obviously given in the context of common moral experience.

In dealing with this notion of the highest good, this article is primarily concerned to investigate the differences between Professors John Silber and Lewis White Beck on this subject. It outlines and questions Professor Silber’s continued insistence that Kant, in speaking of the highest good as a necessary object of moral violation, was exhibiting great insight. Contrarily, this article argues that Kant’s introduction of this notion was unnecessary and ill-advised, serving as it does extra-moral theological purposes by introducing confusions into the epistemology of his moral philosophy proper.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Professor John Silber, Immanuel Kant, Summum Bonum

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: September 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Jeffrie G., The Highest Good as Content for Kant’s Ethical Formalism (1965). Kant-Studien, Vol. 56, p. 102, 1965. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1469724

Contact Information

Jeffrie G. Murphy (Contact Author)
Arizona State University College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-5856 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,142
Downloads: 176
Download Rank: 128,231

© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollobot1 in 0.187 seconds