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On a Supposed Solution to the Reinhold/Sidgwick Problem in Kant's Metaphysics of Morals



The purpose of this paper is to challenge the suggestion that Kant offers a solution to the Reinhold/Sidgwick Problem in his Metaphysics of Morals. The problem, briefly, is about how Kant can hold moral evil to be imputable when he also seems to hold that freedom is found only in moral actions. After providing a new formulation of this problem under the title ‘Objection R/S’ and describing the popular strategy for addressing it through reference to this text, the paper recounts some of the history relevant to interpreting the passage in question. The paper then argues that this strategy is not supported by the text and indeed proves to be contrary to other arguments that are central to Kant's moral thought. The closing section briefly considers other possible ways of addressing the Objection R/S.