"An erring conscience is an absurdity": The later Kant on certainty, moral judgment and the infallibility of conscience
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Philosophy 
This article explores Kant’s view, found in several passages in his late writings on moral philosophy, that the verdicts of conscience are infallible. We argue that Kant’s infallibility claim must be seen in the context of a major shift in Kant’s views on conscience that took place around 1790 and that has not yet been sufficiently appreciated in the literature. This shift led Kant to treat conscience as an exclusively second-order capacity which does not directly evaluate actions, but one’s first-order moral judgments and deliberation. On the basis of this novel interpretation, we develop a new defence of Kant’s infallibility claim that draws on Kant’s account of the characteristic features of specifically moral judgments.