Overdetermination of dutiful actions occurs when dutiful actions are done from the motive of duty where the agent also has nonmoral interests in the action (Herman: 6) and according to Kant although this action might be dutiful and amiable it is still of no moral worth. For example a man who does acts of good will and gets a feeling of satisfaction from doing them is not acting morally. In the same way that a soldier saves another soldiers with only an inclination that he will get a medal is also not morally dutiful.
So how can we have Overdetermined dutiful moral actions?
Henson attempts to get around Kant's rather stark doctrine by saying that a dutiful act would have moral worth provided that respect for duty was present and would have sufficed by itself to produce the dutiful act, even though other motives were also present and might themselves have sufficed (Herman: 7). For example the brave dutiful soldier who saves one of his brothers in arms from certain death despite danger to himself. According to Henson GI Joe's action are morally dutiful as long as he acted from moral duty.
Thus over determined actions can be morally good as long as the duty motive is able by itself to produce the action. This then can be interpreted in two ways; either it is strong enough by itself to cause the action and does not require any other inclinations to carry it out i.e.GI Jane is a friend. Or it could be that it is strong enough to prevail over a clashing motive so that the morally dutiful action can occur i.e. I'm going to get myself shot if I save her. (Herman: 8)
However Herman disagrees
Take the shopkeeper whose honest actions are overdetermined for example. According to Henson's model the shopkeeper has sufficient moral motives to perform honest actions even if the profit motive is absent. However we cannot be sure that he would act the same way in other situations where profit motivates him to act immorally. Thus it is possible that the shopkeeper...
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