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Kant and the demandingness of the virtue of beneficence

Abstract We discuss Kant's conception of beneficence against the background of the overdemandingness debate. We argue that Kant's conception of beneficence constitutes a sweet spot between overdemandingness and undemandingness. To this end, we defend four key claims that together constitute a novel interpretation of Kant's account of beneficence: (1) For the same reason that we are obligated to be beneficent to others, we are permitted to be beneficent to ourselves; (2) we can prioritise our own ends; (3) it is more virtuous to do more rather than less when it comes to helping others; and (4) indifference to others is vicious. Finally, we explain how this represents a system of duties that gives our personal ends a moral standing without unacceptably moralising them.

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