Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Andrew Schroeder

Rights Information

© 2022 Leyna Hong


Kantian ethics has prevailed as one of the most popular ethical theories due to its appeal to our moral intuitions. The good will is the good with the most intrinsic value, and respect for others as rational beings is at the core of the moral principles. Despite its appeal, Kantian Ethics faces some difficult challenges. One challenge with great force is that of rigorism. The charge is that the moral principles outlined by Kant should allow for exceptions; if they don't, Kantian ethics is too rigorous and inflexible to fit our moral intuitions.

One particular essay of Kant that has garnered significant attention under this rigorism challenge is his essay "On the Supposed Right to Lie." Here, he makes a controversial claim regarding the "murderer at the door" case. In this case, a murderer seeks to murder your friend and shows up at your door asking if you know their whereabouts. While our intuitions tell us we shouldn't tell the truth, Kant argues that we should. This paper seeks to understand Kant's controversial response and explore defenses for Kantian ethics against the general charge of rigorism. In particular, I explore Christine Korsgaard's, Tamar Schapiro's, and Michael Cholbi's approaches to this question. I present a further defense of Schapiro's proposal to ultimately provide a significant and coherent defense for Kantian ethics against rigorism.