Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth-the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just how valuable moral theory (...) can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
Rejecting Kant''s absolute opposition to revolution, I propose a modified Kantian perspective for reflecting on political violence, drawing from Kant''s basic ideas but abandoning some dubious assumptions. Developing suggestions in earlier papers, the essay sketches a model for moral legislation that combines the core ideas of each of Kant''s formulas of the Categorical Imperative. Though only a framework for deliberation, not a complete decision procedure, this excludes extremist positions, prohibitive and permissive, about political violence. Despite Kant''s hopes, the values implicit (...) in his fundamental principle fail to support easy, inflexible solutions; but they place strong presumptions against lawless coercion and killing, undermining social order, treating persons as dispensable, underestimating options, arrogant faith in one''s own judgment, and reckless simplicity in political thinking. (shrink)
This stimulating collection of essays in ethics eschews the simple exposition and refinement of abstract theories. Rather, the author focuses on everyday moral issues, often neglected by philosophers, and explores the deeper theoretical questions which they raise. Such issues are: Is it wrong to tell a lie to protect someone from a painful truth? Should one commit a lesser evil to prevent another from doing something worse? Can one be both autonomous and compassionate? Other topics discussed are servility, weakness of (...) will, suicide, obligations to oneself, snobbery, and environmental concerns. A feature of the collection is the contrast of Kantian and utilitarian answers to these problems. The essays are crisply and lucidly written and will appeal to both teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
The moral significance of preserving natural environments is not entirely an issue of rights and social utility, for a person’s attitude toward nature may be importantly connected with virtues or human excellences. The question is, “What sort of person would destroy the natural environment--or even see its value solely in cost/benefit terms?” The answer I suggest is that willingness to do so may well reveal the absence of traits which are a natural basis for a proper humility, self-acceptance, gratitude, and (...) appreciation of the good in others. (shrink)
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