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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Are We Selfish? - Kant

The 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant most famously held the view that moral behavior is driven by a sense of duty rather than desire.


Such a view continues to be popular, and is now most famously defended by Christine Korsgaard. Against such a view, we might worry that people only do their duty when they want to do so. After all, when someone does their duty freely and without being forced, doesn’t that just show that they wanted to do so?

For more on this topic, you might read Chapter 5 of Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy. At Southampton, we run various modules that address these and similar issues: Ethics, Political Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Happiness and Wellbeing, and Action, Reason, and Ethics. Many of our staff undertake research in this area, such as Dr. Alex Gregory, Prof. Chris Janaway, Dr. Sasha Mudd, and Dr. Jonathan Way.

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