In his new book the eminent Kant scholar Henry Allison provides an innovative and comprehensive interpretation of Kant's concept of freedom. The author analyzes the concept and discusses the role it plays in Kant's moral philosophy and psychology. He also considers in full detail the critical literature on the subject from Kant's own time to the present day. In the first part Professor Allison argues that at the centre of the Critique of Pure Reason there is the foundation for a (...) coherent general theory of rational agency. The second part employs this account of rational agency as a key to understanding Kant's concept of moral agency and associated moral psychology. The third part focuses on Kant's attempt to ground both moral law and freedom in the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason. This is a major contribution to the interpretation of Kant which will be of special interest to scholars and graduate students of Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
Henry Allison is one of the foremost interpreters of the philosophy of Kant. This new volume collects all his recent essays on Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy. All the essays postdate Allison's two major books on Kant, and together they constitute an attempt to respond to critics and to clarify, develop and apply some of the central theses of those books. Two are published here for the first time. Special features of the collection are: a detailed defence of the author's (...) interpretation of transcendental idealism; a consideration of the Transcendental Deduction and some other recent interpretations thereof; further elaborations of the tensions between various aspects of Kant's conception of freedom and of the complex role of this conception within Kant's moral philosophy. (shrink)
This book constitutes one of the most important contributions to recent Kant scholarship. In it, one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Kant, Henry Allison, offers a comprehensive, systematic, and philosophically astute account of all aspects of Kant's views on aesthetics. The first part of the book analyses Kant's conception of reflective judgment and its connections with both empirical knowledge and judgments of taste. The second and third parts treat two questions that Allison insists must be kept distinct: the normativity of (...) pure judgments of taste, and the moral and systematic significance of taste. The fourth part considers two important topics often neglected in the study of Kant's aesthetics: his conceptions of fine art, and the sublime. (shrink)
Henry E. Allison presents a comprehensive commentary on Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals . Allison pays special attention to the structure of the work and its historical and intellectual context. He argues that, despite its relative brevity, the Groundwork is the single most important work in modern moral philosophy.
This essay argues that the key to understanding Kant's transcendental idealism is to understand the transcendental realism with which he contrasts it. It maintains that the latter is not to be identified with a particular metaphysical thesis, but with the assumption that the proper objects of human cognitions are “objects in general” or “as such,” that is, objects considered simply qua objects of some understanding. Since this appears to conflict with Kant's own characterization of transcendental realism as the view that (...) (mistakenly) regards appearances as if they were things in themselves, the essay explicates the connection between the concepts of an object (or thing) considered as such and a thing considered as it is in itself. In light of this, it maintains that Kant's transcendental idealism is compatible with a robust empirical realism and that many of its critics are tacitly committed to a misguided transcendental realism. (shrink)
This paper contains a critical analysis of the interpretation of Kant's second edition version of the Transcendental Deduction offered by Béatrice Longuenesse in her recent book: Kant and the Capacity to Judge. Though agreeing with much of Longuenesse's analysis of the logical function of judgment, I question the way in which she tends to assign them the objectifying role traditionally given to the categories. More particularly, by way of defending my own interpretation of the Deduction against some of her criticisms, (...) I argue that Longuenesse fails to show how either part of the two-part proof may be plausibly thought to have established the necessity of the categories (as opposed to the logical functions). Finally, I question certain aspects of her 'radical' interpretation of the famous footnote at B160-1, where Kant distinguishes between 'form of intuition' and 'formal intuition'. (shrink)
People talk about rats deserting a sinking ship, but they don't usually ask where the rats go. Perhaps this is only because the answer is so obvious: of course, most of the rats climb aboard the sounder ships, the ships that ride high in the water despite being laden with rich cargoes of cheese and grain and other things rats love, the ships that bring prosperity to ports like eighteenth-century Königsberg and firms such as Green & Motherby. By making the (...) insulting comparison - as I am in the course of doing – between us Kant scholars and a horde of noxious vermin, my more or less transparent aim is to mitigate, or at least to distract attention from, the collective immodesty of what I am saying about us. For my point is that, in the past half-century or so, Kant studies has become a very prosperous ship indeed. Its success has even been the chief thing that has buoyed all its sister ships in the fleet of modern philosophy, most of which are also doing very well. (shrink)
This paper argues that Hume’s central concern in T 1.4.7 is to find a way to rely upon his cognitive faculties in spite of what he has learned about them in the preceding sections of part 4. The trouble is that having identified the understanding with "the general and more establish'd properties of the imagination" (T 184.108.40.206; SBN 267), Hume finds that these properties cannot function apart from other "seemingly trivial" ones, which calls into question the trustworthiness of his cognitive (...) faculties. I claim that Hume justifies this reliance by appealing to what Don Garrett has termed the "title principle," which enables him to practice "true scepticism" by being diffident of his philosophical doubts as well as of his philosophical conviction" (T 220.127.116.11; SBN 273). (shrink)
This volume presents seventeen essays by one of the world's leading scholars on Kant. Henry E. Allison explores the nature of transcendental idealism, freedom of the will, and the concept of the purposiveness of nature. He places Kant's views in their historical context and explores their contemporary relevance to present day philosophers.
Guyer argues for four major theses. First, in his early, pre-critical discussions of morality, Kant advocated a version of rational egoism, in which freedom, understood naturalistically as a freedom from domination by both one's own inclinations and from other people, rather than happiness, is the fundamental value. From this point of view, the function of the moral law is to prescribe rules best suited to the preservation and maximization of such freedom, just as on the traditional eudaemonistic account it is (...) to prescribe rules for the maximization of happiness. Second, in the Groundwork, Kant abandoned this naturalistic approach and while retaining the same substantive thesis as his early moral philosophy, "namely that freedom is the value that is realized by adherence to the moral law" (Guyer 455), attempted to provide a non-naturalistic (transcendental) grounding for this valuation of freedom. Third, this took the form of a transcendental deduction, closely modeled on that of the first Critique, which was intended to demonstrate that we are in fact (noumenally) free and the moral law is the "causal law" of this freedom. Fourth, this deduction is a disaster, indeed, one of Western philosophy's "most spectacular train wrecks" (Guyer 445). I shall discuss each in turn, devoting the bulk of my attention to the last. (shrink)
SummaryThe paper is concerned with the connection between Kant's conception of transcendental schematism and his analysis of the conditions of the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments. After dealing with some of the standard objections to Kant's theory, I argue that transcendental schemata must be construed as pure intuitions. I then point out that the Principles of Pure Understanding are a set of synthetic a priori judgments which assert the function of the various schemata as necessary conditions of the possibility (...) of experience, and that each of these judgments involves the relation of a pure concept to pure intuition . Finally, I argue that the connection between a category and its schema must itself be both synthetic and a priori. It therefore requires a “deduction”, which Kant himself does not provide, but which I endeavor, in part, to provide for him. (shrink)
This paper defends the thesis of the analyticity of the principle of apperception, as developed in the first part of the B-Deduction, against recent criticisms by Paul Guyer and Patricia Kitchen The first part presents these criticisms, the most important of which being that the analyticity thesis is incompatible with both the avowed goal of which being that the Deduction of establishing the validity of the categories and Üie account of apperception in the A-Deduction. The second part argues that Kant's (...) procedure in the B-Deduction of beginning with an abstract analysis of a discursive understanding, independentiy of its relation to the specifically human forms of sensibility, requires him to regard the principle as analytic and that this explains the difference from the A-Deduction. By appealing to the model of a deduction in Kant's moral theory and the two step in one proof structure of the B-Deduction, the third part argues that the analyticity thesis is in fact compatible with the goal of the Deduction. (shrink)
Kant’s views on enlightenment are best known through his essay, “What is Enlightenment?” This is, however, merely the first of a series of reflections on the subject contained in the Kantian corpus. In what follows, I shall attempt to provide an overview of the Kantian conception of enlightenment. My major concern is to show that Kant had a complex and nuanced conception of enlightenment, one which is closely connected to some of his deepest philosophical commitments, and is as distinct from (...) the views of his contemporaries, including Mendelssohn’s, as his critical philosophy is from the rationalism of Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten. (shrink)
The first two sections of this paper are devoted respectively to the criticisms of my views raised by Stephen Engstrom and Andrews Reath at a symposium on Kant's Theory of Freedom held in Washington D.C. on 28 December 1992 under the auspices of the North American Kant Society. The third section contains my response to the remarks of Marcia Baron at a second symposium in Chicago on 24 April 1993 at the APA Western Division meetings. The fourth section deals with (...) some general criticisms of my treatment of Kant's theory of freedom and its connection with transcendental idealism that have been raised by Karl Ameriks, who was also a participant in the second symposium, in an earlier piece published in Inquiry and by Paul Guyer in a review. The paper as a whole is thus an attempt to reformulate and clarify some of the central claims of my book in light of the initial critical reaction. (shrink)
At the end of §40 of the Critique of Judgement, after a discussion of the sensus communis and its connection with taste, Kant writes:If we could assume that the mere universal communicability as such of our feeling must already carry with it an interest for us , then we could explain how it is that we require from everyone as a duty, as it were , the feeling in a judgment of taste.