The original edition of Kant: Political Writings was first published in 1970, and has long been established as the principal English-language edition of this important body of writing. In this new, expanded edition two important texts illustrating Kant's view of history are included for the first time, his reviews of Herder's Ideas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind and Conjectures on the Beginning of Human History, as well as the essay What is Orientation in Thinking?. In (...) addition to a general introduction assessing Kant's political thought in terms of his fundamental principles of politics, this edition also contains such useful student aids as notes on the texts, a comprehensive bibliogaphy and a new postscript, looking at some of the principal issues in Kantian scholarship that have arisen since the first edition. (shrink)
Kant's Moral Law: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks with Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Ethics as one of the most important works of moral philosophy ever written. In Moral Law, Kant argues that a human action is only morally good if it is done from a sense of duty, and that a duty is a formal principle based not on self-interest or from a consideration of what results might follow. From this he derived his famous and controversial (...) maxim, the categorical imperative: "Act as if the maxim of your action were to become by your will a universal law of nature." H. J. Paton's translation remains the standard in English for this work. It retains all of Kant's liveliness of mind, suppressed intellectual excitement, moral earnestness, and pleasure in words. The commentary and detailed analysis that Paton provides is an invaluable and necessary guide for the student and general reader. (shrink)
This collection of seminal essays on Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics provides the student of philosophy with an invaluable overview of the issues and problems raised by Kant. Starting with the Carus translation of Kant's work, the edition offers a substantive introduction, six papers never before published together, and a comprehensive bibliography. Special attention is paid to the relationship between Kant and David Hume, whose philosophical investigations, according to Kant's famous quote, first interrupted (...) class='Hi'>Kant's "dogmatic slumber.". (shrink)
With an Introduction by renowned Kant scholar Allen W. Wood, this is the only available one-volume edition of the essential works of the Enlightenment's greatest philosopher and one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. Containing carefully selected excerpts from his most frequently taught essays and book-length publications, including Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Judgment, and Eternal Peace , the Basic Writings of Kant is an indispensable collection. This revised edition was edited by Carl J. Friedrich.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Chronology; Further reading; Note on the texts; Thoughts on the Occasion of Mr Johann Friedrich von Funk's Untimely Death (1760); Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764); Remarks in Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764-5); Essay on the Maladies of the Head (1764); Inquiry concerning the distinctness of the principles of natural theology and morality (1764); M. Immanuel Kant's announcement of the programme of his lectures for the (...) winter semester, 1765-6 (1765); Herder's Notes from Kant's Lectures on Ethics (1762-4); Selected notes and fragments from the 1760s; Index. (shrink)
Kant's letters to Marcus Herz and J. C. Lavater.--Critique of pure reason; selections.--Fundamental principles of the metaphysics of morals.--Critique of practical reason; selections.--Critique of judgement; selections.--Metaphysics of morals: the metaphysical principles of virtue; selection.--Bibliography (p. 31).
Many contemporaries criticized him for smashing the Age of Reason. Goethe, however, remarked that reading a page of Immanuel Kant was like entering a bright and well-lighted room: The great eighteenth-century philosopher illuminated everything he ever pondered. The twelve essays in this volume reveal Kant's towering importance as an ethical and social thinker as well as his enduring influence on the shape of philosophy. Included are excerpts from Dreams of a Visionary, Prolegomena to Every Future Metaphysics, Metaphysical Foundations (...) of Morals, Critique of Judgement , and Eternal Peace . As Professor Friedrich writes in his introduction to this volume: "The problem of freedom, the freedom of the human personality to unfold and fulfill its higher destiny, is the central issue of all of Kant's philosophizing.". (shrink)
Like nuclear energy, most technologies could have dual use—for health and well being and disaster and terror. Some research publications have brought to the forefront the tragic consequences of the latter potential through their possible use. Monitoring life science research and development (R&D) to prevent possible misuse is a challenging task globally, more so in developing economies like India, which are emerging as major biotech hubs. As a signatory to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, India has put in motion (...) a process of evolving a series of measures to manage dual-use technology. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has taken a lead in drafting model codes of conduct, ethics and practice for use by other S&T agencies to tailor them as per their requirements. Taking cue from the discussions held by the editors of the various medical and science journals in the developed world, the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the official publication of the ICMR, is working on policy and uniform practice of publication of dual-use research results. The Government of India too has promulgated legal provisions to minimize the risks of misuse of technology, like the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. Clearly, no single agency would be able to manage the dual-use of technology effectively. Multiple agencies have to come together to work in tandem for effective implementation of various measure and also like Janus, ensure that they are neither too restrictive nor intrusive to discourage the development of science. (shrink)
Introduction.--Thoughts on the true estimation of living forces (selected passages)--On the first ground of the distinction of regions in space.--Dissertation on the form and principles of the sensible and intelligible world.
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.
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. (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)
Pauline Kleingeld, "What Do the Virtuous Hope For?: Re-reading Kant's Doctrine of the Highest Good." In Proceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress, Memphis 1995, edited by Hoke Robinson, Vol. I.1, 91-112. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1995.
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)
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 the charge that it neglects the possibility of the existence of essentially non-conceptual content that is not conceptualized or subject to conceptualization. Their defence against McDowell amounts to non-conceptualism. Both views believe that intuition is synthesized content in Kant's sense. In this article I am particularly interested in how their views are true to Kant. I argue that although McDowell is right that intuition is only epistemically relevant in conjunction with concepts, I also believe that Hanna and Allais are right with regard to the existence of essentially non-conceptual content, but that they are wrong with regard to intuition being synthesized content in Kant's sense. I also point out the common failure to take account of the modal nature of Kant's argument for the relation between intuition and concept. (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)
In his early lecture note Versuch einiger Betrachtungen über den Optimismus (1759) a young supporter of metaphysical optimism called Immanuel Kant tested the Leibnizian optimism by posing some counter-arguments against it only to falsify them. His counter-arguments were very inventive and they feature often in modern scholarship on Leibniz. In this paper I will present Kant’s main arguments and evaluate them. I will argue that Kant’s understanding on Leibnizian optimism is little misguided and for this reason his (...) own positive counter-argument despite its ingeniousness is problematic. His second solution to the problem is comparable to the doctrine of metaphysical optimism, but fails also for the same reason as the first one. -/- . (shrink)
Kant claims that the nominal definition of truth is: “Truth is the agreement of cognition with its object”. In this paper, I analyse the relevant features of Kant's theory of definition in order to explain the meaning of that claim and its consequences for the vexed question of whether Kant endorses or rejects a correspondence theory of truth. I conclude that Kant's claim implies neither that he holds, nor that he rejects, a correspondence theory of truth. (...)Kant's claim is not a generic way of setting aside a correspondence definition of truth, or of considering it uninformative. Being the nominal definition of truth, the formula “truth is the agreement of cognition with its object” illustrates the meaning of the predicate “is true” and people's ordinary conception of truth. True judgements correspond to the objects they are about. However, there could be more to the property of truth than correspondence. (shrink)
Pauline Kleingeld, "What Do the Virtuous Hope For?: Re-reading Kant's Doctrine of the Highest Good." In Proceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress, Memphis 1995, edited by Hoke Robinson, Vol. I.1, 91-112. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1995.
We are able to think of empirical objects as capable of existing unperceived. What explains our grasp of this conception of objects? In this paper I examine the claim that experience explains our understanding of objects as capable of existing unperceived with reference to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I argue that standard accounts of experience’s explanatory role are unsatisfactory, but that an alternative account can be extracted from the first Critique – one which relies on Kant’s transcendental (...) idealism. (shrink)
The theorist who denies the objective reality of non-relational temporal properties, or ‘A-series’ determinations, must explain our experience of the passage of time. D.H. Mellor, a prominent denier of the objective reality of temporal passage, draws, in part, on Kant in offering a theory according to which the experience of temporal passage is the result of the projection of change in belief. But Mellor has missed some important points Kant has to make about time-awareness. It turns out that (...)Kant's theory of time-awareness also involves projection – but for him, the projection of temporal passage is necessary to any coherent experience at all, and for this reason events in the world cannot be represented except as exhibiting real tensed change. Consequently we cannot intelligibly suppose the world we know to be without the passage of time. This fact would permit a modest transcendental argument the conclusion of which is that we are entitled to describe the world in terms of temporal passage. (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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Kant's transcendental idealism hinges on a distinction between appearances and things in themselves. The debate about how to understand this distinction has largely ignored the way that Kant applies this distinction to the self. I argue that this is a mistake, and that Kant's acceptance of a single, unified self in both his theoretical and practical philosophy causes serious problems for the 'two-world' interpretation of his idealism.
This essay reconsiders Kant's denial of scientific status to the discipline of empirical psychology, which have often been viewed as quite problematic. In the preface to the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant denies that psychology can be natural science proper. I argue that Kant's impossibility claim is (1) based on a very specific conception of science that he did not put forward elsewhere, and that is restricted to *natural* sciences in any case. Also, (2) Kant's (...) critical remarks are directed merely against a particular conception of psychology, namely one going back to Baumgarten and adopted by many psychologists in the eighteenth century, according to which introspection is the sole means of gathering empirical evidence about the mind. Although this particular conception of psychology precludes it from being natural science proper, it is possible that other conceptions of psychology could allow it to be scientific. Also, for Kant the study of the mind should not be introspection-based. He himself developed a "pragmatic anthropology", which he viewed as a significant factor in our knowledge of the world. (shrink)
Kant's writings on logic illustrate the comparison argument about truth, which goes as follows. A truth-bearer p is true if and only if it corresponds, or it agrees, with a portion of reality: the object(s), state(s) of affairs, or event(s) p is about. In order to know whether p agrees with that portion of reality, one must check if that portion of reality is as p states. Using the terms of the comparison argument, one must compare p with that (...) portion of reality. This is impossible, because the only knowledge of reality we can have is in the form propositions, beliefs, or judgments, whose agreement with reality is as much in need of justification as the agreement of p with reality. Therefore, it is impossible to know which truth-bearers are true. This paper reconstructs Kant's version of the comparison argument. It is argued that, according to Kant, the argument is sound only under the assumption of transcendental realism. Transcendental idealism avoids the sceptical consequences of the comparison argument. (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.
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)
Kant’s body offered a constant target for his own remarks, both in correspondence and during his lunchtime conversations. Several good descriptions of Kant’s body have come down to us over the centuries, as well as a number of visual representations, but these are remarkably limited, given his stature in the world of ideas. A new description of Kant, written by a novelist who visited Kant while passing through Königsberg, has recently come to light. It is reproduced (...) here — in English translation as well as the original German — and earlier descriptions of Kant are briefly recounted. (shrink)
A review of electronic versions of writings by Kant's: first, a CD-Rom containing central parts of the Academy edition; second, an edition containing next to central works by Kant also texts by Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Both editions are useful and complement each other, although for scholarly purposes the electronic version of the Academy edition is to be preferred.
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)
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)
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)
Kant identifies knowledge [Wissen], belief [Glaube], and opinion [Meinung] as our three primary modes of “holding-to-be-true” [Fürwahrhalten]. He also identifies opinion as making up the greatest part of our cognition. After a preliminary sketch of Kant’s system of propositional attitudes, this paper will explore what he says about the norms governing opinion and empirical hypotheses. The final section will turn to what, in the Critique of Pure Reason and elsewhere, Kant refers to as “General Applied Logic”. It (...) concerns the “contingent conditions of the subject, which can hinder or promote” good inquiry; and, though rarely mentioned in the secondary literature, it offers Kant’s methodological alternative to the traditional epistemological goal of finding “a sufficient and at the same time general criterion of truth”. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore historically the origin of the difficulty of founding the reflecting power of judgment as Kant outlines it in the Preface to the third Critique. Despite that a foundation of the power of judging in the system of Transcendental Philosophy was only established in 1790, we must interpret it as a critical solution for an old problem, which Kant had already recognized around 1770. Through his comprehension of the meaning of healthy (...) understanding he already confirms the impossibility of determining the correctness of our judging activity from the use of rules. This insight of the problem must be understood in the context of the controversy about the relation between logica naturalis and logica artificialis as it occurs in the Leibniz-Wolffian aesthetics and logic. Although Kant had not yet developed the transcendental critique of taste around 1770, he already elucidates the problematic of judging through the model of taste and in close conjunction with this tradition. (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. (shrink)
Emotional cognitivists, such as the Stoics and Aristotle, hold that emotions have cognitive content, whereas noncognitivists, like Plato and Kant, believe the emotions to be nonrational bodily movements. I ask, taking Martha Nussbaum's account of cognitivism, what if Kant had become convinced of a cognitive theory of the emotions, what changes would this require in his moral philosophy. Surprisingly, since this represents a radical shift in his psychology, it changes almost nothing. I show that Kant's account of (...) continence, virtue, the evaluation of inclinations, and his argument for morality taking the form of categorical imperatives, are immune to such a change, despite the prima facie deep connection (on the received view) between these and his moral psychology. (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)
In this paper I argue for three distinct, albeit mutually illuminating theses: first I explain why well informed eighteenth-century thinkers, e.g., the pre-critical Immanuel Kant and Richard Bentley, who had a very important correspondence with Newton, would have identified important aspects of Newton’s natural philosophy with (a species of modern) Epicureanism. Second, I explore how some significant changes to Newton’s Principia between the first (1687) and second (1713) editions can be explained in terms of attempts to reframe the Principia (...) so that the charge of “Epicureanism” can be deflected. In order to account for this I call attention to significant political and theological changes in the wake of the Glorious Revolution; as has been documented by others, it turns out that Bentley plays a non-trivial role in these matters. Third, I argue that there is an argument in Kant’s (1755) Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens that undermines a key claim in Newton’s General Scholium. I suggest that this particular argument reopens the door to Epicurean “blind necessity,” in particular, Spinozism. -/- . (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)
This paper provides an account of Kant's categories of freedom, explaining how they fit together and what role they are supposed to play. My interpretation places particular emphasis on the structural features that the table of the categories of freedom shares with the table of judgements and the table of categories laid out by Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason. In this way we can identify two interpretative constraints, namely (i) that the categories falling under each heading (...) must form a synthetic unity whereby the third one derives from the combination of the other two. and (ii) that the first two categories falling under each heading must be morally undetermined and sensibly conditioned, while the third category is sensibly unconditioned and determined only by the moral law. (shrink)
Kant’s account of the freedom gained through virtue builds on the Socratic tradition. On the Socratic view, when morality is our end, nothing can hinder us from attaining satisfaction: we are self-sufficient and free since moral goodness is (as Kant says) “created by us, hence is in our power.” But when our end is the fulfillment of sensible desires, our satisfaction requires luck as well as the cooperation of others. For Kant, this means that happiness requires that (...) we get other people to work for our ends; and this requires, in turn, that we gain control over the things other people value so as to have influence over them. If this plan for happiness is not subordinated to morality, then what is most valuable to us will be precisely what others value. This is the root of the “passions” that make us evil and make us slaves whose satisfaction depends on others. But, significantly, this dependence is a moral slavery and hence does not signal a loss, or even diminishment of the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility. (shrink)
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)
Though Kant calls the prohibition against suicide the first duty of human beings to themselves, his arguments for this duty lack his characteristic rigor and systematicity. The lack of a single authoritative Kantian approach to suicide casts doubt on what is generally regarded as an extreme and implausible position, to wit, that not only is suicide wrong in every circumstance, but is among the gravest moral wrongs. Here I try to remedy this lack of systematicity in order to show (...) that Kant's position on suicide is more appealing and credible than it seems at first glance. Kant in fact offers three distinct lines of argument against suicide. The first, the chief argument in his Lectures on Ethics, holds that suicide violates the divine will, for in willing our own deaths we usurp God's right to determine the duration of our existence; as God's property, we are not entitled to end our own lives willfully. The second, rooted in the Groundwork, holds that suicide is incompatible with a system of willed ends conceived analogously with a system of nature, so a maxim to commit suicide cannot be coherently willed as a universal practical principle. The third argument, drawn from the Metaphysics of Morals, holds that because suicide obliterates the rational will from the world, and as the rational will is the source of moral worth, suicide cannot be consistently willed by beings subject to moral requirements. To authorize oneself to take one's own life, Kant claims, is to attempt 'to withdraw from all obligation.' We cannot, under the color of morality, seek to cancel the will that authorizes all obligation in the first place. This third argument is demonstrably superior to the other two in being both more philosophically plausible in its own right and more Kantian in flavor. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of (...) moral development is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
I take up Kant's remarks about a "transcendental deduction" of the "concepts of space and time" (A87/B119-120). I argue for the need to make a clearer assessment of the philosophical resources of the Aesthetic in order to account for this transcendental deduction. Special attention needs to be given to the fact that the central task of the Aesthetic is simply the "exposition" of these concepts. The Metaphysical Exposition reflects upon facts about our usage to reveal our commitment to the (...) idea that these concepts refer to pure intuitions. But the legitimacy of these concepts still hangs in the balance: these concepts may turn out to refer to nothing real at all. The subsequent Transcendental Exposition addresses this issue. The objective validity of the concepts of space and time, and hence their transcendental deduction, hinges on careful treatment of this last point. (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 “The Paralogisms of Pure Reason” Kant seeks to explain how rationalist philosophers could have arrived at the dogmatic conclusion that the self is a substance. His diagnosis has two components: first, the positing of “Transcendental Illusion”—a pervasive intellectual illusion that predisposes us to accept as sound certain unsound arguments for substantive theses about the nature of the self; second, the identification of the relevant fallacy we commit when we succumb to this illusion. This paper explains how these two (...) elements combine to produce the doctrine that the self is a substance. It is argued that Kant has a novel, ingenious—and even somewhat plausible—account of how the rational psychologist might arrive at this view-- one that involves identifying a fundamental confusion about the nature of conceivability. (shrink)
Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in (...) undoing it as a source of knowledge of God's existence (in the critical period). Along the way I examine Kant's version of the now-popular “actualist” thesis that facts about what is possible must be explained by facts about what is actual. I conclude by discussing why the critical Kant claims both that there are rational grounds for accepting the conclusion of his theistic proof, and that such acceptance can not count as knowledge. This is important, I argue, because the same considerations ultimately motivate his prohibition on knowledge of things-in-themselves generally. -/- . (shrink)
Most work in Kant’s epistemology focuses on what happens “upstream” from experience, prior to the formation of conscious propositional attitudes. By contrast, this essay focuses on what happens "downstream": the formation of assent (Fuerwahrhalten) in its various modes. The mode of assent that Kant calls "Belief" (Glaube) is the main topic: not only moral Belief but also "pragmatic" and "doctrinal" Belief as well. I argue that Kant’s discussion shows that we should reject standard accounts of the extent (...) to which theoretical reason can provide justified assent about things-in-themselves, in favor of one that is much more liberal. Interpretive benefits are not the only results of the discussion, however. I also hope it will become clear along the way that there is such a thing as Kantian Belief, and that we often have quite a lot of it. -/- . (shrink)
Kant holds that in order to have knowledge of an object, a subject must be able to “prove” that the object is really possible—i.e., prove that there is neither logical inconsistency nor “real repugnance” between its properties. This is (usually) easy to do with respect to empirical objects, but (usually) impossible to do with respect to particular things-in-themselves. In the first section of the paper I argue that an important predecessor of Kant’s account of our ignorance of real (...) possibility can be found in Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In the middle sections I discuss the way in which our inability to prove the real possibility of things-in-themselves motivates Kant’s famous prohibition on certain kinds of knowledge-claims about them. In the final section I examine Hegel’s attempts to dissolve this problem of real repugnance and thereby remove an inherited obstacle to speculative knowledge of the supersensible. -/- . (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)
In the first part of the paper I reconstruct Kant’s proof of the existence of a ‘most real being’ while also highlighting the theory of modality that motivates Kant’s departure from Leibniz’s version of the proof. I go on to argue that it is precisely this departure that makes the being that falls out of the pre-critical proof look more like Spinoza’s extended natura naturans than an independent, personal creator-God. In the critical period, Kant seems to think (...) that transcendental idealism allows him to avoid this conclusion, but in the last section of the paper I argue that there is still one important version of the Spinozistic threat that remains. (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)
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)
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 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.
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.
In his critical works of the 1780's, Kant claims, seemingly inconsistently, that (1) theoretical and practical reason are one and the same reason, applied differently, (2) that he still needs to show that they are, and (3) that theoretical and practical reason are united. I first argue that current interpretations of Kant's doctrine of the unity of reason are insufficient. But rather than concluding that Kant’s doctrine becomes coherent only in the Critique of Judgment, I show that (...) the three statements are compatible, providing a new and more coherent account of Kant's 1780's doctrine of the unity of reason. (shrink)
This is the published version of a paper presented at the Hegel conference on the occasion of 200 years of Hegel's essay Glauben und Wissen, held in Jena in 2002. It concerns a critical Kantian account of Hegel's critique of Kant.
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)
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 conditions under which attitudes are rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence but not candidates for knowledge (even if true). The latter conditions will typically be “pragmatic” or “practical,” and thus license acceptance from a “practical” point of view. For Kant, only broadly-speaking practical reasons can provide adequate motivation for adopting a positive attitude towards a proposition (rather than suspending judgment) in the absence of sufficient epistemic grounds. -/- . (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)
The most widespread interpretation amongst contemporary theorists of Kant's theory of punishment is that it is retributivist. On the contrary, I will argue there are very different senses in which Kant discusses punishment. He endorses retribution for moral law transgressions and consequentialist considerations for positive law violations. When these standpoints are taken into consideration, Kant's theory of punishment is more coherent and unified than previously thought. This reading uncovers a new problem in Kant's theory of punishment. (...) By assuming a potential offender's intentional disposition as Kant does without knowing it for certain, we further exacerbate the opportunity for misdiagnosis. (shrink)
This critical notice highlights the important contributions that Eric Watkins's writings have made to our understanding of theories about causation developed in eighteenth-century German philosophy and by Kant in particular. Watkins provides a convincing argument that central to Kant's theory of causation is the notion of a real ground or causal power that is non-Humean (since it doesn't reduce to regularities or counterfactual dependencies among events or states) and non-Leibnizean because it doesn't reduce to logical or conceptual relations. (...) However, we raise questions about Watkins's more specific claims that Kant completely rejects a model on which the first relatum of a phenomenal causal relation is an event and that he maintains that real grounds are metaphysically and not just epistemically indeterminate. -/- . (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)
This paper examines some of the central arguments of John McDowell's Mind and World, particularly his treatment of the Kantian themes of the spontaneity of thought and of the nature of self-consciousness. It is argued that in so far as McDowell departs from Kant, his position becomes less plausible in three respects. First, the space of reason is identified with the space of responsible and critical freedom in a way that runs together issues about synthesis below the level of (...) concepts and at the level of complete judgements. This leads to the unwarranted exclusion of animal minds from the space of reasons. Second, McDowell draws no essential distinction between apperception and inner sense, a distinction which is important to a defensible Kantian view and to the very idea of a sui generis transcendental knowledge of the mind that is consistent with Kant's critical principles. McDowell does not take into account some of Kant's developed arguments about the inherently reflective nature of consciousness which is interpreted as an adverbial theory of the nature of conscious experience, a mode of being in a mental state (so neither an intrinsic nor extrinsic property of it). Third, McDowell endorses a standard treatment of Kant's approach to the mind in which a merely formal account of mind needs to be anchored outside consciousness on the physical body. The arguments for this conclusion, both in Mind and World and in related work by Bermudez and Hurley, is shown to be very inconclusive as a criticism of Kant. The capacity to self-ascribe thoughts that are already conscious shows, but does not say, a truth about the unity of our conscious experience that does not require further anchoring on a physical body; at that stage of the Critique Kant is describing conditions for conscious experience in general, not the conscious experience of spatio-temporally located makers of judgements. The alleged lacuna in Kant's arguments is no lacuna at all. (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)
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 the charge that it neglects the possibility of the existence of essentially non-conceptual content that is not conceptualized or subject to conceptualization. (...) Their defense against McDowell amounts to non-conceptualism. Both views believe that intuition is synthesized content in Kant's sense. In this article, I am particularly interested in how their views are true to Kant. I argue that although McDowell is right that intuition is only epistemically relevant in conjunction with concepts, I also believe that Hanna and Allais are right with regard to the existence of essentially non-conceptual content, but that they are wrong with regard to intuition being synthesized content in Kant's sense. I also point out the common failure to take account of the modal nature of Kant's argument for the relation between intuition and concept. [the article is written in Dutch]. (shrink)
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)
The increasingly common use of inclusive language (e.g., "he or she") in representing past philosophers' views is often inappropriate. Using Immanuel Kant's work as an example, I compare his use of terms such as "human race" and "human being" with his views on women to show that his use of generic terms does not prove that he includes women. I then discuss three different approaches to this issue, found in recent Kant-literature, and show why each of them is (...) insufficient. I conclude that the tension between gender-neutral and gender-specific views in Kant's work should be made explicit, and I offer several strategies for doing so. (shrink)