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Why we go wrong: beyond Kant’s dichotomy between duty and self-love

Sticker, Martin and Saunders, Joe (2022) 'Why we go wrong: beyond Kant’s dichotomy between duty and self-love.', Inquiry. .


Kant holds that whenever we fail to act from duty, we are driven by self-love. In this paper, we argue that there are a variety of different ways in which people go wrong, and we show why it is unsatisfying to reduce all of these to self-love. In doing so, we present Kant with five cases of wrongdoing that are difficult to account for in terms of self-love. We end by suggesting a possible fix for Kant, arguing that he should either accept a pluralistic account of self-love, or move beyond the duty/self-love dichotomy entirely.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:11 March 2022
Date deposited:26 May 2022
Date of first online publication:24 May 2022
Date first made open access:26 May 2022

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