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CUNYColluq: James Mahon
November 16, 2016 @ 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm
Each colloquium will be held on Wednesday at 4:15 P.M.
All colloquia will take place at the Graduate Center in rooms 9204/9205 except as otherwise noted.
James Mahon (CUNY Lehman College)
“The Duty of Beneficence in Kant”
There are two interpretations of the duty of beneficence in Kant’s moral philosophy: the overly demanding interpretation, according to which one must always be acting beneficently so long as one is not violating a perfect duty, and the lax interpretation, according to which one only has to act beneficently now and again, although there are times when one must act beneficently. In this paper I offer a third interpretation, according to which there are no times when one must act beneficently, and yet, no exceptions may be made to the duty of beneficence. In order to defend this interpretation, it is necessary to explain perfect and imperfect duties in Kant’s ethics, and what it means for the duty of beneficence to be an imperfect duty.