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Summary Kant uses the notion of justification [Rechtfertigung] in various ways in his works. For instance, he talks about justification in his ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy; however, he rarely reflects on the notion itself and does not provide a unified account of Rechtfertigung. In our modern pluralistic context, pioneering work on the notion by Leslie Stevenson and Andrew Chignell generated some intriguing philosophical discussions concerning the nature of the concept, in particular whether it has unity and whether it has an epistemic character, as well as concerning its relation to contemporary discussions of justification.
Key works Kant uses the term 'justification [Rechtfertigung]' or cognate terms (e.g., to justify [rechtfertigen]' in, among others, Kant 1998, the Critique of Practical Reason (in Kant 1996), Kant 2000, Kant 2004, Groundwork of The Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996), Kant 1998, or the Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996). In addition to works by Leslie Stevenson (2003) and Chignell 2007, it is worth mentioning Timmons & Baiasu 2013 - a collection of recent articles on Kant's notion of justification in the practical domain (including metaethics, ethics, legal philosophy and philosophy of religion).
Introductions A good introduction can be found in the article on Rechtfertigung from the recent Kant-Lexikon edited by Mohr, Stolzenberg and Willaschek. For an introduction to Kant's notion of justification, especially practical justification, see the introductory chapter in Timmons & Baiasu 2013.
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  1. Michael Albrecht (2009). Kant's Justification of the Role of Maxims in Ethics. In Karl Ameriks, Otfried Höffe & Nicolas Walker (eds.), Kant's Moral and Legal Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
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  2. Nikolaos Avgelis (1991). Die Duhem-Quine-These unter dem Geltungsaspekt der erkenntnistheoretischen Fragestellung Kants. Kant-Studien 82 (3):285-302.
  3. Sorin Baiasu (2014). Kant's Justification of Welfare. Diametros 39:1-28.
    For several decades, theorists interested in Kant’s discussion of welfare have puzzled over Kant’s position on the issue of the redistribution of goods in society. They have done this both in order to clarify his position and as a source of inspiration for current conceptual problems faced by contemporary political philosophers who attempt to reconcile the ideal of equal freedom with the asymmetric interference necessary for redistribution and social provision. In this paper, I start with Kant’s brief discussion of welfare (...)
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  4. Nathan Bauer (2010). Kant's Subjective Deduction. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (3):433-460.
    In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...)
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  5. Wilhelm Beimer (1919). Der phänomenologische Evidenzbegriff. Kant-Studien 23 (1-3):269-301.
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  6. Günter Bleickert (1977). Proofs of God's Existence in German Idealism. The Justification of the Absolute by Means of Modal Theory in Kant, Hegel and Weisse. Philosophy and History 10 (1):24-27.
  7. Christian Bonnet (2002). La théorie friesienne de la justification. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 3 (3):325-339.
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  8. Rudolf Brajčić (2004). Justification of Metaphysics in View of Kant. Disputatio Philosophica 6 (1):96-71.
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  9. Jochen Briesen (2013). Is Kant (W)Right? – On Kant’s Regulative Ideas and Wright’s Entitlements. Kant-Yearbook 5 (1):1-32.
    This paper discusses a structural analogy between Kant’s theory of regulative ideas, as he develops it in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, and Crispin Wright’s theory of epistemic entitlements. First, I argue that certain exegetical difficulties with respect to the Appendix rest on serious systematic problems, which – given other assumptions of the Critique of Pure Reason – Kant is unable to solve. Second, I argue that because of the identified structural analogy between Kant’s and Wright’s views the project (...)
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  10. Andrew Chignell (2007). Kant's Concepts of Justification. Noûs 41 (1):33–63.
    An essay on Kant's theory of justification, where by “justification” is meant the evaluative concept that specifies conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence. Kant employs both epistemic and non-epistemic concepts of justification: an epistemic concept of justification sets out conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence and a candidate (if true and Gettier-immune) for knowledge. A non-epistemic concept of justification, by contrast, sets out (...)
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  11. Andrew D. Chignell (2003). Kant's Ethics of Assent: Knowledge and Belief in the Critical Philosophy. Dissertation, Yale University
    Most accounts of Kant's epistemology focus narrowly on cognition and knowledge . Kant himself, however, thought that there are many other important species of assent : opinion, persuasion, conviction, belief, acceptance, and assent to the deliverances of common sense. ;My goal in this dissertation is to isolate and motivate the principles of rational acceptability which, for Kant, govern each of these kinds of assent, instead of focusing merely on cognition and knowledge. Some of the principles apply in the context of (...)
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  12. Philip Dwyer (2010). Necessity and Possibility: The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):402-403.
    This book is a foray into the thorny interpretive issue of what to make of Kant's so-called "Metaphysical Deduction" of the categories. As with many of the arguments in the first Critique, the claim of the Metaphysical Deduction is easier to make out than its argument. The claim is that by some or other reference to "general logic," one may obtain a "transcendental logic," i.e., a justification (or "deduction") of the categories (of the understanding) necessary to the (very) possibility of (...)
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  13. W. Enderlein (1985). The Justification of Punishment in Kant. Kant-Studien 76 (3):303-327.
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  14. Svein Eng (2014). Why Reflective Equilibrium? I: Reflexivity of Justification. Ratio Juris 27 (1):138-154.
    In A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls introduces the concept of “reflective equilibrium.” Although there are innumerable references to and discussions of this concept in the literature, there is, to the present author's knowledge, no discussion of the most important question: Why reflective equilibrium? In particular, the question arises: Is the method of reflective equilibrium applicable to the choice of this method itself? Rawls's drawing of parallels between Kant's moral theory and his own suggests that his concept of “reflective (...)
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  15. James R. Flynn (1979). Kant and the Price of a Justification. Kant-Studien 70 (1-4):279-311.
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  16. Axel Gelfert (2010). Kant and the Enlightenment's Contribution to Social Epistemology. Episteme 7 (1):79-99.
    The present paper argues for the relevance of Immanuel Kant and the German Enlightenment to contemporary social epistemology. Rather than distancing themselves from the alleged ‘individualism’ of Enlightenment philosophers, social epistemologists would be well-advised to look at the substantive discussion of social-epistemological questions in the works of Kant and other Enlightenment figures. After a brief rebuttal of the received view of the Enlightenment as an intrinsically individualist enterprise, this paper charts the historical trajectory of philosophical discussions of testimony as a (...)
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  17. Axel Gelfert (2006). Kant on Testimony. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
    Immanuel Kant is often regarded as an exponent of the ‘individualist’ tradition in epistemology, according to which testimony is not a fundamental source of knowledge. The present paper argues that this view is far from accurate. Kant devotes ample space to discussions of testimony and, in his lectures on logic, arrives at a distinct and stable philosophical position regarding testimony. Important elements of this position consist in (a) acknowledging the ineliminability of testimony; (b) realizing that testimony can establish empirical knowledge (...)
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  18. Paul Gorner (2000). The Place of Punishment in Kant's Rechtslehre. Kantian Review 4 (1):121-130.
    If Kant had never written the section of the Rechtslehre on punishment we would still have known from the Critique of Practical Reason that he held a strongly retributive view of punishment. But it is not a view which we could have inferred from the rest of the Rechtslehre. Despite its intuitive appeal, Kant's justification of judicial punishment simply does not fit the account of right he gives in the Rechtslehre. According to this account the only justification for coercion is (...)
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  19. Moltke S. Gram (1979). Transcendental Arguments: A Meta-Critique. Kant-Studien 70 (1-4):508-513.
  20. Robert Hanna (2011). The Myth of the Given and the Grip of the Given. Diametros 27:25-46.
    In this paper I argue that the Sellarsian Myth of the Given does not apply to all forms of Non-Conceptualism; that Kant is in fact a non-conceptualist of the right-thinking kind and not a Conceptualist, as most Kant-interpreters think; and that an intelligible and defensible Kantian Non-Conceptualism can be developed which supports the thesis that true perceptual beliefs are non-inferentially justified and also normatively funded by direct, embodied, intentional interactions with the manifest world (a.k.a. the Grip of the Given).
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  21. Alison Hills (2007). The Principle of Right: Practical Reason and Justification in Kant's Ethical and Political Philosophy. Politics and Ethics Review 3 (1):24-36.
    The principle of right is Kant's main formulation of the rules of politics, and it has obvious affinities with the moral law. Do we have moral reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we may have moral reasons to obey the principle ourselves, but not coercively to enforce it. Do we have prudential reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we do not have reasons based on happiness, but that we may have prudential reasons of a wholly different, (...)
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  22. Jane Johnson (2008). Revisiting Kantian Retributivism to Construct a Justification of Punishment. Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (3):291-307.
    The standard view of Kant’s retributivism, as well as its more recent reworking in the ‘limited’ or ‘partial’ retributivist reading are, it is argued here, inadequate accounts of Kant on punishment. In the case of the former, the view is too limited and superficial, and in the latter it is simply inaccurate as an interpretation of Kant. Instead, this paper argues that a more sophisticated and accurate rendering of Kant on punishment can be obtained by looking to his construction of (...)
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  23. Immanuel Kant (1998). Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press.
    Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics (...)
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  24. Halla Kim (1997). The Possibility of Practical Reason: An Essay on Kant's Justification of Ethics. Dissertation, The University of Iowa
    The thesis is a critical and comprehensive examination of Immanuel Kant's theory of practical reason. I argue that considerable light is thrown upon Kant's view when it is considered in light of the British naturalist ethics stretching from Hobbes to Hutcheson, and especially Hume. Consideration of the naturalist ethics is important because of that tradition's radical skepticism about the power of pure practical reason. While not many scholars emhasize this point, Kant's ethics is not so much a response to amoralism (...)
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  25. Markus Kohl (2014). Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays. [REVIEW] Kantian Review 19 (2):332-338.
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  26. Markus Kohl (2014). Review: Timmons & Baiasu Sorin (Eds), Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays. [REVIEW] Kantian Review 19 (2):332-338.
  27. Armin Richard Konrad (1968). The Justification of a Moral Argument: The Anti-Naturalists and Kant. Dissertation, Emory University
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  28. Erich H. Loewy (1995). Kant, Health Care and Justification. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 16 (2).
    An argument based on Kant for access to health-care for all is a most helpful addition to prior discussions. My paper argues that while such a point of view is helpful it fails to be persuasive. What is needed, in addition to a notion of the legislative will, is a viewpoint of community which sees justice as originating not merely from considerations of reason alone but from a notion of community and from a framework of common human experiences and capabilities.
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  29. Michael H. McCarthy (1984). Kant's Groundwork Justification of Freedom. Dialogue 23 (03):457-473.
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  30. Michael Henry Mccarthy (1973). Kant's Justification of Freedom. Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
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  31. Kate A. Moran (forthcoming). Kant on Practical Justification (Review). [REVIEW] Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
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  32. Paul Nnodim (2004). Public Reason as a Form of Normative and Political Justification: A Study on Rawls's Idea of Public Reason and Kant's Notion of the Use of Public Reason in What is Enlightenment? South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):148-157.
  33. Stephen Palmquist (1984). Faith as Kant's Key to the Justification of Transcendental Reflection. Heythrop Journal 25 (4):442–455.
    A revised version of this article became Chapter V in my 1993 book, Kant's System of Perspectives.
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  34. Lawrence Pasternack (2014). Kant’s Touchstone of Communication and the Public Use of Reason. Society and Politics 8 (1):78-91.
    Nearly all of the work that has been done on Kant’s conception of public reason has focused on its socio-political significance. John Rawls, Onora O’Neill and others have explored its relevance to a well ordered democracy, to pluralism, to toleration, and so on. However, the relevance of public reason for Kant is not limited to the socio-political. Kant repeatedly appeals to the “touchstone of communication” in relation to the normative side of his epistemology. The purpose of this paper is to (...)
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  35. Lawrence Robin Pasternack (1997). Justification and Belief in Kant's Moral Philosophy. Dissertation, Boston University
    My dissertation examines the relationship between Kant's account of moral experience and his means of justifying morality. More specifically, I examine the justificatory role attributed to the consciousness of being bound by the moral law in the Critique of Practical Reason and subsequent texts. ;Rather than supplying a proof of the veracity of this consciousness, Kant claims that it alone establishes the moral law's objective validity. In my attempt to determine how this consciousness achieves its purported justificatory function, I focus (...)
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  36. Derk Pereboom (1990). Kant on Justification in Transcendental Philosophy. Synthese 85 (1):25 - 54.
    Kant''s claim that the justification of transcendental philosophy is a priori is puzzling because it should be consistent with (1) his general restriction on the justification of knowledge, that intuitions must play a role in the justification of all nondegenerate knowledge, with (2) the implausibility of a priori intuitions being the only ones on which transcendental philosophy is founded, and with (3) his professed view that transcendental philosophy is not analytic. I argue that this puzzle can be solved, that according (...)
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  37. C. Rapp & W. Ullrich (1994). Why is the Deduction of Taste Judgments so Easy-an Attempt at a Justification of Paragraph-38 of Kant'kritik der Urteilskraft'. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 101 (2):358-365.
  38. Dennis Schulting (2012). Kant's Deduction and Apperception. Explaining the Categories. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Dennis Schulting offers a thoroughgoing, analytic account of the first half of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the B-edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason that is different from existing interpretations in at least one important aspect: its central claim is that each of the 12 categories is wholly derivable from the principle of apperception, which goes against the current view that the Deduction is not a proof in a strict philosophical sense and the standard reading that in (...)
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  39. Dennis Schulting (2012). Kant's Deduction and Apperception. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book offers a thoroughgoing, analytic account of the first half of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the B-edition of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason that is different from existing interpretations in at least one important aspect: its central claim is that each of the 12 categories is wholly derivable from the principle of apperception, which goes against the current view that the Deduction is not a proof in a strict philosophical sense and the standard reading that in (...)
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  40. Dennis Schulting (2012). Kant, Non-Conceptual Content, and the 'Second Step' of the B-Deduction. Kant Studies Online:51-92.
    This article is a modified version in translation of the original Dutch version that appeared in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 4 (2010) / * Inspired by Kant's account of intuition and concepts, John McDowell has forcefully argued that the relation between sensible content and concepts is such that sensible content does not severally contribute to cognition but always only in conjunction with concepts. This view is known as conceptualism. Recently, Robert Hanna and Lucy Allais, among others, have brought against this view (...)
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  41. Justin B. Shaddock (2012). Justification, Objectivity, and Subjectivity in Kant's Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):177-185.
  42. Joseph Shieber (2010). Between Autonomy and Authority: Kant on the Epistemic Status of Testimony. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):327-348.
  43. David Lee Sobers (1967). Kant's Justification of the Possibility of Judgments of Taste. Dissertation, The University of Rochester
  44. George N. Terzis (1984). The Requirements of Reason: An Essay on Justification in Kant's Ethics. Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University
    Kant insists that our actions ought to conform to objective moral rules, and that these rules apply to us regardless of whether we feel inclined to conform to them. Can he establish the truth of these claims? ;His writings on moral philosophy contain not a single answer to this question but two distinct and incompatible ones. In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant argues that the basic norm that underlies our moral judgments, the Moral Law, is valid for (...)
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  45. Mark Timmons (1992). Necessitation and Justification in Kant's Ethics. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):223 - 261.
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  46. Mark Timmons & Sorin Baiasu (eds.) (2013). Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretative Essays. Oxford University Press.
    This volume of new essays provides a comprehensive and structured examination of Kant's justification of norms, a crucial but neglected theme in Kantian practical philosophy.
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  47. Alberto Vanzo (2012). Kant on Experiment. In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor. Springer. 75-96.
    This paper discusses Immanuel Kant’s views on the role of experiments in natural science, focusing on their relationship with hypotheses, laws of nature, and the heuristic principles of scientific enquiry. Kant’s views are contrasted with the philosophy of experiment that was first sketched by Francis Bacon and later developed by Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. Kant holds that experiments are always designed and carried out in the light of hypotheses. Hypotheses are derived from experience on the basis of a set (...)
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  48. Thomas E. Wartenberg (1979). Order Through Reason. Kant's Transcendental Justification of Science. Kant-Studien 70 (1-4):409-424.
  49. E. Watkins (1998). Kant's Justification of the Laws of Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (4):539-560.
  50. Kenneth R. Westphal (forthcoming). ‘Constructivism, Contractarianism and Basic Obligations: Kant and Gauthier’. In J.-C. Merle (ed.), Reading Kant’s Doctrine of Right.
    Gauthier’s contractarianism begins with an idea of a rational deliberator but ‘finds no basis for postulating a moral need for the justification of one’s actions to others. The role of agreement is to address each person’s demand that the constraints of society be justified to him, not a concern that he justify himself to his fellows’ (Gauther 1997, 134–5). He contrasts his view with Scanlon’s contractualism, according to which agreement with others is the core of morality and each agent has (...)
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