This article presents an overview of the current debate on Kant's doctrine of idealism, focussing on the metaphysical interpretations of Ameriks, Allais, Friebe, Langton, Van Cleve and Westphal, and also on Guyer's recent reassessment of Allison's latest views.
Some contemporary intepreters of Kant maintain that on Kant's view fulfilling duties of virtue require doing so from the motive of duty. I argue that there are interpretive and doctinal reasons for rejecting this interpretation. However, I argue that for Kant motives can be deontically relevant; one's motives can affect the deontic status of actions.
In his Beweisgrund (1762), Kant presents a sketch of "the only possible basis" for a proof of God's existence. In this essay, I attempt to present that proof as a valid and sound argument for the existence of God.
ABSTRACT: A general interpretation and close textual analysis of Kant’s theory of the categories of freedom (or categories of practical reason) in his Critique of Practical Reason. My main concerns in the paper are the following: (1) I show that Kant’s categories of freedom have primarily three functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. (2) I show that for Kant actions, although qua theoretical (...) objects they are always already constituted by means of the theoretical categories, qua practical objects (objects of reason in its practical use, i.e. objects qua possibly good or bad) they are constituted by means of the categories of freedom; and that it is only in this way that actions, qua phenomena, can be a consequence of freedom, and can be understood and evaluated as such. (English translation in progress.). (shrink)
According to Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, a proper science is organized according to rational principles and has a pure a priori rational part, its metaphysical foundation. In the second edition Preface to the first Critique, Kant claims that his account of time explains the a priori possibility of Newton’s laws of motion. I argue that Kant’s proof of the law of inertia fails, and that this casts doubt on Kant’s enterprise of providing a priori foundations for Newton’s physics.
In 1801 Hegel charged that, on Kant’s analysis, forces are ‘either purely ideal, in which case they are not forces, or else they are transcendent’. I argue that this objection, which Hegel did not spell out, reveals an important and fundamental line of internal criticism of Kant’s Critical philosophy. I show that Kant’s basic forces of attraction and repulsion, which constitute matter, are merely ideal because Kant’s arguments for them are circular and beg the question, and they have no determinate (...) connection to any of the basic forces of Newtonian physics. Hence they are mere Gedankendinge. I argue further, that real physical forces transcend Kant’s analysis by showing that his proof of Newton’s law of inertia is unsound. I then show that this apparently specific disagreement underlies the enormous philosophical shift from Kant’s anti-naturalist transcendental idealism to Hegel’s naturalistic use of regressive, quasi-transcendental arguments. (shrink)
This paper explores Kant's concept of the highest good and the postulate of the existence of God arising from it. Kant has two concepts of the highest good standing in tension with one another, an immanent and a transcendent one. I provide a systematic exposition of the constituents of both variants and show how Kant’s arguments are prone to confusion through a conflation of both concepts. I argue that once these confusions are sorted out Kant’s claim regarding the need (...) to postulate God’s existence from a moral point of view makes much more sense. (shrink)
It is argued that the popular story that portrays Kant’s philosophical development as a gradual emancipation from his Leibniz-Wolffian roots that culminated in a total rejection of the Leibnizian philosophy by 1781 is not accurate. Kant’s many objections against the Leibnizian philosophy in the critical period are not directed against Leibniz himself but against the Leibniz-Wolffians. Kant considers Leibniz’s philosophy to be very close to his own, calling the Critique of Pure Reason the “true apology” of Leibniz. It is claimed (...) that this assessment is correct; the correctness is demonstrated with respect to Kant’s and Leibniz’s theories of space. (shrink)
The question of Kant's relation to Spinozist thought has been virtually ignored over the years. I analyze Kant's pre-critical 'possibility-proof' of God's existence, elaborated in the Beweisgrund, as well as the echoes that this proof has in the first Critique, in beginning to uncover the connection between Kant's thought and Spinoza's. Kant's espousal of the Principle of Sufficient Reason [PSR] for the analysis of modality during the pre-critical period committed him, I argue, to Spinozist substance (...) monism. Much textual evidence suggests that he was aware of this commitment. However, by transforming the PSR into a regulative principle the critical Kant has transformed his pre-critical proof into a regulative ideal. He is thereby (consciously) committed, I argue, to regulative Spinozism. (shrink)
Kant says that it can be rational to accept propositions on the basis of non-epistemic or broadly practical considerations, even if those propositions include “transcendental ideas” of supersensible objects. He also worries, however, about how such ideas (of freedom, the soul, noumenal grounds, God, the kingdom of ends, and things-in-themselves generally) acquire genuine positive content in the absence of an appropriate connection to intuitional experience. How can we be sure that the ideas are not empty “thought-entities (Gedankendinge)”—that is, speculative fancies (...) that do not and perhaps even cannot have referents in reality? In this paper I argue for an account of the fundamental problem here (i.e. that it is based in a concern about whether or not the objects of such ideas are "really possible" in Kant's technical sense). I then critically evaluate Kant's three proposed solutions to the problem. -/- . (shrink)
I argue, without offering what Ameriks has called a 'short argument', that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it doesn't follow that by merely thinking we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves. For support, I look to a (...) much overlooked chapter in the Critique, the Transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing-in-itself proper, namely something that is thoroughly determined. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant's view of determinative judgment, we cannot determine a thing-in-itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing-in-itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing's possible determinations. (shrink)
The purpose of the third section of Kant�s Groundwork is to prove the possibility of the categorical imperative. In the end of the second section, Kant establishes that a proof like this is necessary to show that morality is �something� and �not a chimerical idea without any truth� or a �phantom� (1785: 445). Since the categorical imperative was established as a synthetic a priori practical proposition, in order to prove its possibility it is necessary �to go beyond cognition of objects (...) to a critique of the subject, that is, of pure practical reason� (1785: 440). Kant names this kind of proof a deduction. The present paper intends to (1) show the argument whose purpose is to justify the categorical imperative; (2) show that the argument is a transcendental deduction; (3) present the argument as it is reconstructed by Allison, and (4) show that, although it seems compelling, the position of the commentator could not be accepted by Kant himself. (shrink)
Within the theory of rational agency found in Kant's anthropology lectures and sketched in the moral philosophy, prudence is the manifestation of a distinctive, nonmoral rational capacity concerned with one's own happiness or well-being. Contrary to influential claims that prudential reasons are mere prima facie or "candidate" reasons, prudence can be seen to be a genuine manifestation of rational agency, involving a distinctive sort of normative authority, an authority distinguishable from and conceptually prior to that of moral norms, though (...) still overridable by them. The anthropology lectures make an important contribution to the understanding of Kant's account of the distinctive prudential task: despite Kant's familiar complaints about human finitude and the natural dialectic of our desires, Kant offers useful suggestions about how prudential reflection can generate genuine practical guidance. Even with several significant developments in Kant's anthropological theory over time, prudential norms can still be regarded as distinctive and conceptually independent of morality. (shrink)
Patriotism and cosmopolitanism are often presumed to be mutually exclusive, but Immanuel Kant defends both. Although he is best known for his moral and political cosmopolitanism, in several texts he defends the claim that we have a duty of patriotism, claiming that cosmopolitans ought to be patriotic. In this paper, I examine Kant’s different accounts of the duty of patriotism. I argue that Kant’s defense of nationalist patriotism fails, but that his argument for a duty of civic patriotism succeeds.
While there is good reason to think that Mendelssohn's Morgenstunden targets some of the key claims of Kant’s first Critique, this criticism has yet to be considered in the appropriate context or presented in all of its systematic detail. I show that far from being an isolated assault, Mendelssohn’s attack in the Morgenstunden is a continuation and development of his earlier criticism of Kant’s idealism as presented in the Inaugural Dissertation. I also show that Mendelssohn’s objection was more influential on (...) Kant than has previously been suspected; not only did Kant respond to it in a brief review and a set of remarks published along with a disciple’s examination of Mendelssohn’s text but, as I will suggest, Kant’s Refutation of Idealism is intended (at least in part) to undermine the Cartesian starting-point Mendelssohn had presumed throughout his campaign against Kantian idealism. (shrink)
Scholars have long debated the relationship between Kant’s doctrine of right and his doctrine of virtue (including his moral religion or ethico-theology), which are the two branches of his moral philosophy. This article will examine the intimate connection in his practical philosophy between perpetual peace and the highest good, between political and ethico-religious communities, and between the types of transparency peculiar to each. It will show how domestic and international right provides a framework for the development of ethical communities, including (...) a kingdom of ends and even the noumenal ethical community of an afterlife, and how the transparency and trust achieved in these communities is anticipated in rightful political society by publicity and the mutual confidence among citizens that it engenders. Finally, it will explore the implications of this synthesis of Kant’s political and religious philosophies for contemporary Kantian political theories, especially those of Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls. (shrink)
In the first edition of his book on the completeness of Kant’s table of judgments, Klaus Reich shortly indicates that the B-version of the metaphysical exposition of space in the Critique of pure reason is structured following the inverse order of the table of categories. In this paper, I develop Reich’s claim and provide further evidence for it. My argumentation is as follows: Through analysis of our actually given representation of space as some kind of object (the formal intuition of (...) space in general), the metaphysical exposition will show that this representation is secondary to space considered as an original, undetermined and as such unrepresentable intuitive manifold. Now, following Kant, the representation of any kind of object involves diversity, synthesis and unity. In the case of our representation of space as formal intuition, this involves, firstly, a manifold a priori, i.e. space as pure form, delivered by the transcendental Aesthetic, secondly, a figurative, productive synthesis of that manifold, and, thirdly, the unity provided by the categories. Analysing our given representation of space – the task of the metaphysical exposition – amounts to dismantling its unity and determine its characteristics with respect to the categories. (shrink)
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this paper that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers but also (...) a representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest. I conclude the paper by defending Kant's theory of democratization against charges of consequentialism and paternalism and by pointing out its similarity to other accounts of democratic transitions (for example, those of Samuel Huntington and Guillermo O'Donnell), suggesting a previously unnoticed opportunity for cross-fertilization between political philosophy and comparative politics. (shrink)
It might at first seem that the senses (the five traditionally recognized conduits of outer sense) would have very little to contribute to an investigation of Kant's aesthetics. Is not Kant's aesthetic theory based on a relation of the higher cognitive faculties? Much however can be revealed by asking to what degree sight is essential to aesthetic judgment (of beauty and the sublime) as Kant describes it in the 'Critique of Judgment.' Here the sublime receives particular attention.
This paper explores the charge by Bruce Aune and Allen Wood that a gap exists in Kant's derivation of the Categorical Imperative. I show that properly understood, no such gap exists, and that the deduction of the Categorical Imperative is successful as it stands.
In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Kant formulates the idea of the empirical investigation of the human being as a free agent. The notion is puzzling: Does Kant not often claim that, from an empirical point of view, human beings cannot be considered as free? What sense would it make anyway to include the notion of freedom in science? The answer to these questions lies in Kant’s notion of character. While probably all concepts of character are involved (...) in the description and explanation of human action, Kant develops a specific notion of character by distinguishing character as a “mode of thought” (Denkungsart) from character as a “mode of sensing” (Sinnesart). The former notion is distinctively Kantian. Only mode of thought reveals itself in human action such that actions can be seen as linked to an agent’s first-person perspective and the capacity to rationally reflect one’s own intentions and desires. By reference to this concept human actions can be empirically explained qua free actions. The point of this paper is not only to rule out the interpretation that Kant is an incompatibilist concerning the dilemma of freedom and causal determinism. It is also argued that Kant defends a version of soft determinism which is more sophisticated and more adequate for the human sciences than Hume’s. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that, during his early pre-critical phase, Kant accepted a Leibnizian account of freedom according to which we are free to do otherwise than we do even though our actions are determined. This assumption is false. Far from endorsing such an account, Kant explicitly argues in the "New Elucidation of the First Principle of Metaphysical Cognition" (1755) that there is no relevant sense in which we can do otherwise than we do. Nevertheless, he is equally convinced that (...) we are free and responsible for our actions. And so he concludes that we can be responsible for what we do even if we could not have done otherwise. Little attention, however, has been paid to this argument. This is unfortunate, since a better understanding of this stage in Kant’s theory of freedom would surely help us in understanding the later critical developments. (shrink)
Kant gave lectures on physical geography and anthropology and called them cosmopolitan philosophy. His physical geography lectures were intended to teach students not just facts but also how to have practical judgment (Klugheit) and were to prepare students for their place in the world. This article shows how the physical geography lectures were organized for that purpose.
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 (...) Kant pursues in the Appendix can be rehabilitated by recourse to Wright’s theory. (shrink)
Eric Watkins has argued on philosophical, textual, and historical grounds that Kant’s account of causation in the first Critique should not be read as an attempt to refute Hume’s account of causation. In this paper, I challenge the arguments for Watkins’ claim. Specifically, I argue (1) that Kant’s philosophical commitments, even on Watkins’ reading, are not obvious obstacles to refuting Hume, (2) that textual evidence from the “Disciple of Pure Reason” suggests Kant conceived of his account of causation as such (...) a refutation, and (3) that none of Hume’s early German critics provided responses to this account that would have satisfied Kant. Watkins’ reading of Kant’s account of causation is thus more compatible with traditional views about Kant’s relationship to Hume than Watkins believes. (shrink)
Examining the effectiveness of the Kant’s Refutation of Idealism as a critique of a Cartesian account of consciousness, I argue that Kant's reasoning turns on the insight that self-knowledge presupposes independent temporal determination of the self. This insight bears an intriguing resemblance to claims about meaning and justification that appear in Wittgenstein's later work. Much as Wittgenstein rules out the possibility of a private language, whose meanings derive from acts of inner ostensive definition, on the ground that language requires (...) an independent standard of meaning, so Kant shows that there must be objects in space and time outside me because they constitute the only independent standard of temporality, relative to which I can be conscious of my own existence as determined in time. But Kant only partially anticipates Wittgenstein because the former does not fully appreciate the linguistic nature of judgment. (shrink)
In the Canon of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant endorses both a Moral Belief in God as well as what he there calls Doctrinal Belief. The former mode of belief is well known and can be found throughout the Kantian Corpus. The latter, however, is far more obscure and thus far has not been carefully studied. Doctrinal Belief only appears explicitly in the Canon, but is related to a number of issues in the Transcendental Dialectic as well as the (...) Critique of Judgment. This paper will provide an account of the Doctrinal Belief in God and consider its compatibility with Kant’s other discussions of the projected ground of the principle of purposiveness. (shrink)
Although Kant (wrongly) holds that the universal communicability of aesthetic judgments logically follows from the disinterested character of the pleasure upon which they are based, Kant's emphasis on the a priori validity of judgments of beauty can be viewed as a rebuttal of the kind of empiricist arguments that Burke offers to justify the social nature of the experience of beauty. I argue that the requirement of universal communicability is not a mere addition to the requirement of universal validity (...) and is far more relevant to an adequate characterisation of the beautiful than has customarily been assumed. I further argue that the 'exemplary necessity' of pure judgments of taste, if understood correctly, reveals beauty's primordial social significance, enabling us to become alive to a profound universal solidarity among aesthetic subjects. (shrink)
This paper advances an assessment of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason made from a bird’s eye view. Seen from this perspective, the task of Kant’s work was to ground the spontaneity of human reason, preserving at the same time the strict methods of science and mathematics. Kant accomplished this objective by reviving an old philosophical discipline: the peirastic dialectic of Plato and Aristotle. What is more, he managed to combine it with logic. From this blend, Kant’s transcendental idealism appeared as (...) a new logic that paralleled Aristotle’s syllogistic logic. The first result of this move was that philosophy became a formal study that treats even such subjects as ethics with rigour. Another outcome was that it established philosophy as a professional – school – discipline. In the twentieth century academy, this development was echoed by the emergence of analytic philosophy, in which Kant’s new logic evolved into a philosophical logic. (shrink)
Although Kant argues that morality is prior to and independent of religion, Kant nevertheless claims that religion of a certain sort (“moral theism”) follows from morality, and that atheism poses threats to morality. Kant criticizes atheism as morally problematic in four ways: atheism robs the atheist of springs for moral action, leads the atheist to moral despair, corrupts the atheist’s moral character, and has a pernicious influence on the atheist’s community. I argue that Kant is right to say that moral (...) theism can help support morality, and that (for some people), morality leads to religion. But I also argue that one may refrain from accepting the existence of God and still act from respect for the moral law, resist despair, cultivate and retain a virtuous character, and pose no moral threat to one’s community. Indeed, theism, even moral theism, raises moral risks of its own. This article includes discussions of different versions of the highest good, and of two main types of atheism (skeptical and dogmatic). (shrink)
Although Kant envisaged a prominent role for logic in the argumentative structure of his Critique of pure reason, logicians and philosophers have generally judged Kant's logic negatively. What Kant called `general' or `formal' logic has been dismissed as a fairly arbitrary subsystem of first order logic, and what he called `transcendental logic' is considered to be not a logic at all: no syntax, no semantics, no definition of validity. Against this, we argue that Kant's `transcendental logic' is a (...) logic in the strict formal sense, albeit with a semantics and a definition of validity that are vastly more complex than that of first order logic. The main technical application of the formalism developed here is a formal proof that Kant's Table of Judgements in §9 of the Critique of pure reason, is indeed, as Kant claimed, complete for the kind of semantics he had in mind. This result implies that Kant's 'general' logic is after all a distinguished subsystem of first order logic, namely what is known as geometric logic. (shrink)
Kant's unduly neglected concept of cosmopolitan law suggests a third sphere of public law -- in addition to constitutional law and international law -- in which both states and individuals have rights, and where individuals have these rights as ‛citizens of the earth' rather than as citizens of particular states. I critically examine Kant's view of cosmopolitan law, discussing its addressees, content, justification, and institutionalization. I argue that Kant's conception of ‛world citizenship' is neither merely metaphorical nor (...) dependent on an ideal of a world-government. Kant's views are particularly relevant in light of recent shifts in international law, shifts that lead away from the view that individuals can only be subjects of international law insofar as they are citizens of particular states. Thereby, a category of rights has emerged that comes close to what Kant understands by cosmopolitan law. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Kant's famous critique of the Ontological Argument largely begs the question against that argument, and is no better when supplemented by the modern quantificational analysis of "exists." In particular, I argue that the claim, common to Hume and Kant, that conceptual truths can never entail substantive existential claims is false,and thus no ground for rejecting the Ontological Argument.
There exists a standard view of Kant’s position on global order and this view informs much of current Kantian political theory. This standard view is that Kant advocates a voluntary league of states and rejects the ideal of a federative state of states as dangerous, unrealistic, and conceptually incoherent. This standard interpretation is usually thought to fall victim to three equally standard objections. In this essay, I argue that the standard interpretation is mistaken and that the three standard objections miss (...) their target. Kant does advocate the establishment of a non-coercive league of states, at least in his mature political writings (such as Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals), but he does so for different reasons than is usually thought and without rejecting the ideal that a world federation of states eventually be realized. I end by indicating how Kant’s revised view can be made productive for present-day philosophical purposes. (shrink)
References to Kant's so-called Copernicanism or Copernican turn are often put in very general terms. It is commonly thought that Kant makes the Copernican analogy solely in order to point out the fact as such of a paradigm shift in philosophy. This is too historical an interpretation of the analogy. It leaves unexplained both Kant's and Copernicus' reasons for advancing their respective hypotheses, which brought about major changes in the conceptual schemes of philosophy and astronomy. My contention is (...) that something much more specific, systematic is at issue, which contrary to received understanding makes Kant's analogy in fact particularly apt. (shrink)
In attempts to come to grips with Kant’s thought, the influence of the philosophy of Christian Wolff (1679-1754) is often neglected. In this paper, I consider three topics in Kant’s philosophy of mind, broadly construed, where Wolff’s influence is particularly visible: consciousness, self-consciousness, and psychology. I argue that we can better understand Kant’s particular arguments and positions within this context, but also gain a more accurate sense of which aspects of Kant’s accounts derive from the antecedent traditions and which constitute (...) genuine philosophical innovations. (shrink)
Abstract: My aim is to reconstruct Kant's argument for the principle of the synthetic unity of apperception. I reconstruct Kant's argument in stages, first showing why thinking should be conceived as an activity of synthesis (as opposed to attention), and then showing why the unity or coherence of a subject's representations should depend upon an a priori synthesis. The guiding thread of my account is Kant's conception of enlightenment: as I suggest, the philosophy of mind advanced in (...) the Deduction belongs to an enlightenment epistemology. Kant's conception of enlightenment turns on the requirement that a subject be able to recognize herself as the source of her cognitions. The argument for the apperception principle is reconstructed under the guidance of this conception of the ideal of enlightenment. (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant appears to characterize analytic judgments in four distinct ways: once in terms of “containment,” a second time in terms of “identity,” a third time in terms of the explicative–ampliative contrast, and a fourth time in terms of the notion of “cognizability in accordance with the principle of contradiction.” The paper asks: Which of these characterizations—or apparent characterizations—best captures Kant’s conception of analyticity in the first Critique? It suggests: “the second.” It argues, further, that (...) Kant’s distinction is intended to apply only to judgments of subject–predicate form, and that the fourth alleged characterization is not properly speaking a characterization at all. These theses are defended in the course of a more general investigation of the distinction’s meaning, its epistemology, and its tenability. (shrink)
During the 1780s, as Kant was developing his universalistic moral theory, he published texts in which he defended the superiority of whites over non-whites. Whether commentators see this as evidence of inconsistent universalism or of consistent inegalitarianism, they generally assume that Kant's position on race remained stable during the 1780s and 1790s. Against this standard view, I argue on the basis of his texts that Kant radically changed his mind. I examine his 1780s race theory and his hierarchical conception (...) of the races, and subsequently address the question of the significance of these views, especially in the light of Kant's own ethical theory. I then show that during the 1790s Kant restricts the role of the concept of race, and drops his hierarchical account of the races in favour of a more genuinely egalitarian and cosmopolitan view. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Kant’s famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant’s primary target is not ontological arguments as such (...) but the metaphysical view they presuppose: that God necessarily exists in virtue of his essence being contained in, or logically entailed by, his essence. I show that this view of divine necessity requires the assumption that existence is a determination, and I show that Descartes and Leibniz are implicitly committed to this in their published versions of the ontological argument. I consider the philosophical motivations for the claim that existence is a determination and then I argue that Kant’s argument in the Critique of Pure Reason only undermines some of them. (shrink)
Kant’s example of lying to the murderer at the door has been a cherished source of scorn for thinkers with little sympathy for Kant’s philosophy and a source of deep puzzlement for those more favorably inclined. The problem is that Kant seems to say that it’s always wrong to lie – even if necessary to prevent a murderer from reaching his victim – and that if one does lie, one becomes partially responsible for the killing of the victim. If this (...) is correct, then Kant’s account seems not only to require us to respect the murderer more than the victim, but also that we somehow can become responsible for the consequences that ultimately result from someone else’s wrongdoing. After World War II our spontaneous negative reaction to this apparently absurd line of argument is brought out even more starkly by making the murderer at the door a Nazi officer looking for Jews hidden in people’s homes. This paper argues that Kant’s discussion of lying to the murderer at the door has been seriously misinterpreted. The suggested root of the problem is that the Doctrine of Right has been given insufficient attention in Kant interpretation. It is in this work we find many of the arguments needed to understand Kant’s analysis of lying to the murderer in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy”. When we interpret this essay in light of Kant’s discussion in the Doctrine of Right, we can make sense of why lying to the murderer isn’t to wrong the murderer, why we nevertheless become responsible for the consequences of the lie and why choosing to lie to do wrong ‘in the highest degree’. Finally, the Doctrine of Right account of rightful relations makes it possible for us to analyze the example when we make the murderer at the door a Nazi officer. (shrink)
James Van Cleve has argued that Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of the categories shows, at most, that we must apply the categories to experience. And this falls short of Kant’s aim, which is to show that they must so apply. In this discussion I argue that once we have noted the differences between the first and second editions of the Deduction, this objection is less telling. But Van Cleve’s objection can help illuminate the structure of the B Deduction, and it suggests (...) an interesting reason why the rewriting might have been thought necessary. (shrink)
This essay partly builds on and partly criticizes a striking idea of Dieter Henrich. Henrich argues that Kant's distinction in the first Critique between the question of fact (quid facti) and the question of law (quid juris) provides clues to the argumentative structure of a philosophical "Deduction". Henrich suggests that the unity of apperception plays a role analogous to a legal factum. By contrast, I argue, first, that the question of fact in the first Critique is settled by the (...) Metaphysical Deduction, which establishes the purity of origin of the Categories, and, second, that in the second Critique, the relevant factum is the Fact of Reason, which amounts to the fact that the Moral Law is pure in origin. (shrink)
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 the Deduction Kant only gives an account of the global applicability of the categories to experience. This novel approach enables a reappraisal of Kant's controversial claim that transcendental self-consciousness is not only a necessary condition of objective experience but also (formally) sufficient for it. The book provides an extensive analysis of Kant's theory of transcendental apperception and also explains why the argument of the Transcendental Deduction is both a regressive and a progressive argument. (shrink)
Kant's theory of animals is based on his belief that animals have presentations and consciousness and in this are like human beings. When we abuse animals then we are more likely to abuse human beings. But animals are organic beings that have internal purposiveness and hence are ends for which other things are means. In this limited sense animals have intrinsic value.