It has been widely accepted that Kant holds the “Opacity Thesis,” the claim that we cannot know the ultimate grounds of our actions. Understood in this way, I shall argue, the Opacity Thesis is at odds with Kant's account of practical self-consciousness, according to which I act from the (always potentially conscious) representation of principles of action and that, in particular, in acting from duty I act in consciousness of the moral law's determination of my will. The Opacity Thesis thus threatens to render acting from duty unintelligible. To diffuse the threat, I argue, first, that we need not attribute the Opacity Thesis to Kant. Kant's concern with the ubiquity of moral self-opacity does not imply the strong skeptical conclusion that knowledge of the grounds of one's action is impossible. Second, I show how moral self-opacity in cases of morally bad action emerges from the intrinsic inability of representing to oneself what one is doing, insofar one is pursuing the indeterminate end of “happiness.”.
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