, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 23–41 | Cite as

Categorical and Agent-neutral Reasons in Kantian Justifications of Morality



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 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PhilosophyUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

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