, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 23-41

First online:

Categorical and Agent-neutral Reasons in Kantian Justifications of Morality

  • Vaughn E. HuckfeldtAffiliated withPhilosophy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The dispute between Kantians and Humeans over whether practical reason can justify moral reasons for all agents is often characterized as a debate over whether reasons are hypothetical or categorical. Instead, this debate must be understood in terms of the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons. This paper considers Alan Gewirth’s Reason and Morality as a case study of a Kantian justification of morality focused on deriving categorical reasons from hypothetical reasons. The case study demonstrates first, the possibility of categorical agent-relative reasons, and second, that inattention to this possibility has caused considerable confusion in the debate between Kantians and Humeans.


Morality Practical reason Categorical Agent-neutral