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Noller, Jörg (2020): Vernünfteln. Kant über die Rationalität des Bösen. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Vol. 68, No. 1: pp. 28-50
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Abstract

Kant attempted to answer the question of whether immoral actions result from a mere lack or failing of reason, or whether they consist in a certain form of rationality, i. e. in immoral reasons. The paper addresses this question by concentrating on Kant's conception of "rationalising" ("Vernunfteln"). This concept is the key for understanding how immoral actions can be based on reasons and are thus imputable. According to Kant, by rationalising, the moral agent constructs a formal coherence of his maxims that pretends to conform with the moral law but actually follows motives such as self-love or self-conceit. This activity of constructing a rational illusion, which derives from a dialectic of reason, can be imputed to the moral agent. Finally, the paper addresses strategies that Kant develops in order to circumvent the rationalising trap.