the essay examines why Kant was conflicted about vaccination, on why vaccination can still be seen as a moral duty and on why a vaccination mandate is not (necessarily) consistent with our rightful, external freedom. It is an essay, not a scholarly paper.
Kant’s views on human history have been widely studied, but commentators have rarely discussed his speculative account of humanity’s origins, assuming that it does not neatly fit into his critical philosophy. This paper challenges this assumption by defending two claims. First, Kant’s major essay on this topic, “Conjectural Beginning of Human History,” is a key component of his teleological understanding of human history and should be incorporated into the study of his critical philosophy. Second, the story of humanity’s origins informs (...) Kant’s prescriptions for our moral education by better explaining individual development and providing guidelines for it. (shrink)
In this discussion note, I aim to reconstruct and assess Korsgaard's recent attempt to extend her regress argument. I begin, in section 1, with a brief recapitulation of the regress argument. Then, in section 2, I turn to the extension. I argue that the extension does not work because Korsgaard cannot rule out the possibility--a possibility for which there is both empirical evidence and argumentative pressure coming directly from the original regress--that we value animality in ourselves qua animality of rational (...) beings. (shrink)
In Righting Health Policy, MacDougall argues that bioethics has not developed the tools best suited for justifying health law and policy. Using Kant’s practical philosophy as an example, he explores the promise of political philosophy for making normatively justified recommendations about health law and policy.
This chapter presents an interpretation of Kant’s view on public reason. For Kant, reason in its theoretical use is the highest of our mental powers, giving principles for thinking in general that regulate our use of understanding as a faculty of cognition. In its practical use, it is a capacity to set ends to oneself and to pursue them by efficient means. Kant calls reason our “rational nature” and also employs the word ‘humanity’ as a technical term for it. Most (...) importantly, we find him saying toward the end of the Critique of Pure Reason, “The very existence of reason depends on this freedom [to communicate with others], which has no dictatorial authority, but whose claim is never more than the agreement of free citizens, each of whom must be able to express his reservations, indeed even his veto, without holding back”. In other words, for Kant, reason is essentially public. Thus, no philosophy that deserves to be called “Kantian” can be “monological” or “solipsistic,” as Habermas has depicted it. To interpret Kant’s view on public reason is therefore something like exposing the kernel of his entire critical approach to reason, both theoretical and practical. The goal of this chapter is to bring Kant’s view on public reason to bear on our thinking about how controversial bioethical matters in social debate are to be addressed through public deliberation, and what, if any, conditions ought to be designed and instituted under which such deliberation can proceed fairly and thereby achieve reasonable agreement, if not consensus. (shrink)
hese are replies to my critics at at Society for German Idealism and Romanticism (SGIR) Author-Meets-Critics session, Pacific APA 2021. -/- Published version of the full symposium is available on SGIR Review's homepage.
Intentar explicar el origen, evolución y violación de un tabú considerado casi universal en las sociedades humanas no es una empresa sencilla dado su carácter polifacético; sin embargo, ello no ha impedido que en muchos ordenamientos jurídicos sea empleado ese sentimiento de repulsión o asco como un elemento para criminalizar una relación sexual aparentemente ofensiva. El artículo sostiene que el matrimonio es la única forma en que las prácticas sexuales entre parientes en condición de igualdad pueden tener lugar. Para ello: (...) I. Presentaremos algunas teorías que ofrecen respuestas a las incógnitas en torno al tabú, II. Veremos por qué para Kant el incesto es un crimina carnis contra naturam en un caso, y secundum naturam en el otro. III. Examinaremos qué es el matrimonio para el filósofo y por qué constituye un ideal regulativo-práctico de las relaciones sexuales humanas. Por último, consideramos argumentos en contra de esta propuesta. (shrink)
Working out a Kantian theory of moral responsibility for animals2 requires the untying of two philosophical and interpretive knots: i.) How to interpret Kant’s claim in the important “episodic” section of the Doctrine of Virtue that we do not have duties “to” animals, since such duties are only “with regard to” animals and “directly to” ourselves; and ii.) How to explain why animals don’t have rights, while human beings who (currently or permanently) don’t have sufficient reason for moral responsibility do (...) have rights. At the heart of the problem lies the philosophical challenge of whether a Kantian account of moral responsibility for animals can take the animals themselves into account in the right way, that is, without utilizing arguments that (wrongly) presuppose that non-human animals are moral agents or can be morally responsible for their actions. The task of untying these two knots is the aim of this chapter. I start by defending Kant’s general claim that our duties regarding animals are not “to” them, but rather “with regard to” them. Relations between human and other animals are not relations between two kinds of moral beings, since animals are not capable of the kind of consciousness, in particular the reflective self-consciousness moral being requires. Instead the more complex human-animal relations are affectionate, social relations to which humans can and sometimes should relate morally. This is why these moral duties are “direct” only to ourselves; we are the only ones in the relations that can be morally responsible for them. Correspondingly, respect (in Kant’s precise sense of the word) is a distinctly reflective, moral emotion internal to the specific normative orientation we have only to beings that can be truly free (reflectively self-conscious), and so, to human beings; morality and respect single out how we regard ourselves and other human beings capable of freedom. As we will see, Kant has a consistent and not counter-intuitive account of why we have the moral attitudes we do about animals and of how it is that these attitudes have the appearance of being about the animals themselves. In addition, Kant can explain why it doesn’t follow from this that these moral attitudes arise from attributing moral rights to the animals themselves. Central to this interpretation is Kant’s Religion, as it contains an account of human nature that adequately explains why we have the positive attitudes we do towards animals; similarly, the Religion contains an account of human evil that explains why we consider other occasions of attitudes towards animals as genuine examples of moral failure. Hence, the Religion is central to understanding why Kant’s approach to animals is neither internally inconsistent nor counter-intuitive. (shrink)
MMA fighting in a competition is not necessarily wrong and is often, as far as we can tell, permissible. Our argument has two premises. First, if an act does not infringe on anyone’s moral right or violate another side-constraint, then it is morally permissible. Second, MMA-violence does not infringe on anyone’s moral right or violate another side-constraint. The first premise rested on two assumptions. First, if a person does a wrong act, then he wrongs someone. Second, if one person wrongs (...) a second, then the first infringes on the second’s right. We then looked at Nicholas Dixon’s powerful Kantian argument that MMA fighting is wrong. (shrink)
Kant’s emphasis on the immorality of lying even to a murderer at the door who is asking about a victim hidden inside has drawn criticism ever since. The example originally given by Constant has been read as the thread of morality by totalitarian ruthlessness. In order to defend the importance of Kant’s moral philosophy, many critics have tried to update his position by taking into account the threat of modern totalitarianism. Nonetheless, this article tries to argue that Kant is right, (...) especially since the rise of post-truth politics. Sincerity towards oneself and towards others remains the basis of democracy: we have to admit what seems to be the truth regardless of our feelings about it. (shrink)
Kant’s essay ‘On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy’ claims that everyone has an unconditional duty of right not to lie under any circumstances. This claim creates a conflict within the doctrine of right because Kant also claims that each of us is under an unconditional duty of right to obey the positive law in force in the civil condition in all circumstances. In Kant’s specific example, truthfulness would violate the positive law because it would make the speaker an (...) accomplice to a crime. Since both duties flow from the requirement that we not act inconsistently with the possibility of rightful relations among humans, a juridical solution to the conflict must be possible. That solution is to recognize that lying in appropriate circumstances is akin to the use of force in self-defence or defence of a third party. (shrink)
Im Gegensatz zur naturrechtlichen und moraltheologischen Tradition löst Kant in der „Rechtslehre“ die Ehe von Zeugungsintention und -fähigkeit, insofern das Recht Zwecksetzung wie interne Beschaffenheit von Akteuren ausblendet. In §7 der „Tugendlehre“ wirft Kant jedoch die ‚kasuistische‘ Frage auf, ob der eheliche Geschlechtsverkehr vom Standpunkt der Ethik an den Fortpflanzungszweck gebunden ist oder auch dann erlaubt sei, wenn eine Zeugung, etwa während einer Schwangerschaft oder aufgrund von Sterilität, nicht möglich ist. Dabei scheint es, als würde Kant hier ein besonderes Erlaubnisgesetz (...) annehmen, das den „unzweckmäßigen“ Geschlechtsverkehr zulassen, um andere, schwerwiegendere Laster zu verhindern. Wie eine genaue Analyse von TL § 7 zeigt, referiert Kant hier nur eine im 18. Jh. verbreitete Argumentation, die paulinischen Überlegungen des ersten Korintherbriefs verpflichtet ist. Kant selbst lehnt diese Position jedoch ab und sieht den fortpflanzungsuntauglichen Geschlechtsgebrauch als ethisch unzulässig an. Die progressive Ablösung der Ehe von der Arterhaltung, die Kant in der „Rechtslehre“ vornimmt, hat kein Pendant in der „Tugendlehre“. (shrink)
In the article, I engage with H.G.Gadamer’s reading of Kant’s aesthetic theory. Gadamer accused Kant of subjectivizing the aesthetic experience so that it would be reduced to the free play of the cognitive faculties of the subject. Consequently, the ethical dimension of aesthetic experience that played such an important role in the preceding tradition of European humanism has been lost. Yet, this charge of Gadamer is not quite right. The connection between the experience of beauty and ethics has been maintained (...) by Kant, but it has assumed a different form. The free, disinterested beauty of the objects of nature, on his account, harmonizes with the disinterested experience of the moral law. Similarly, the dependent beauty of the work of art appeals to the ethical dimension of the human being. As a result of this, the connection between aesthetics and ethics not only has not been severed by Kant, but it has also assumed an entirely new, radical form. (shrink)
Kant views every human action as either entirely determined by natural necessity or entirely free. In viewing human action this way, it is unclear how he can account for degrees of responsibility. In this article, I consider three recent attempts to accommodate degrees of responsibility within Kant's framework, but argue that none of them are satisfying. In the end, I claim that transcendental idealism constrains Kant such that he cannot provide an adequate account of degrees of responsibility.
In an earlier paper, Stephen Kershnar argued for the following thesis: An instance of trash-talking is permissible if and only if the relevant sports organization’s system of rules permits the expression. One person trash-talks a second if and only if the first intentionally insults the second during competition. The above theory sounds implausible. Surely, the conditions under which a player may insult another do not depend on what the owners arbitrarily decide. Such an approach doesn’t appear to be true in (...) the workplace, bar, or sandlot, so it is hard to see why it should be true in sport. With this general skepticism in mind, this paper evaluates Nicholas Dixon’s objections. Dixon rejects Kershnar’s argument because trash-talking conflicts with the internal value of a sport, violates a right, and degrades the person toward whom the trash-talking is directed. (shrink)
In the works of Kant and Rawls, we find an acute sensibility to the pre-eminent importance of freedom of speech. Both authors defend free speech in democratic societies as a private and as a public entitlement, but their conceptions markedly differ when applied to non-liberal and non-democratic societies. The difference is that freedom of speech, for Kant, is a universal claim that can serve as a test of legitimacy of all legal orders, while for Rawls, some legal orders are owed (...) full recognition even if they do not in principle guarantee freedom of speech. I explain Kant’s account of free political speech and argue that the defence of individual rights should be seen as its core feature, both in republican and in autocratic states. I then argue that a much-overlooked shift in Rawls’s development toPolitical Liberalismlikewise ties his account of free speech in democratic societies to issues concerning rights and justice. In a next step, I discuss Rawls’s perspective on some non-democratic regimes in hisLaw of Peoples, regimes that he understands as well-ordered but which do not guarantee freedom of speech. I criticize Rawls’s account from Kant’s perspective and suggest to introduce a ‘module’ from Kant’s pre-republican thought into Rawls’s conception, aiming to secure a core area of rights- and justice-related speech. My claim is that under Kant’s view of autocratic legitimacy, an important extension of speech rights is called for even in non-liberal, non-democratic states, and that a Rawlsian account should and can adopt it. (shrink)
This paper discusses the relationship between Kantian idealism and Marxian materialism. Part I examines the reasons this relationship is misconstrued to be predominantly a matter of practical philosophy and turns to the neglected works of Alfred Sohn-Rethel and Richard Seaford to outline the importance of money for understanding Kant’s theoretical work. Part II considers an objection that Kant confuses the commodity form for the transcendental object of experience. I am ultimately concerned with defusing the accusation that the identity of the (...) commodity with a Kantian thing renders Kantian idealism “bourgeois” in the pejorative sense. Money is implicated, historically and conceptually, in the very intelligibility of metaphysics. In that case, Kantian idealism and Marxian materialism are two sides of the same coin. (shrink)
This paper aims to highlight the role played by uncertainties in global justice theories. It will start by identifying four kinds of uncertainties that could potentially have an impact on the nature, content and very existence of global duties: first, uncertainties regarding the causes of global injustices; second, uncertainties regarding the consequences of global justice initiatives; third, uncertainties pertaining to the 'imperfect' character of certain global duties; and fourth, uncertainties regarding the conduct of others. It will discuss each of these (...) uncertainties in turn, with particular attention to their normative implications, their distinctively 'global' source, and the possibility of their being addressed. It will conclude with some reflections on how the normative issues raised by uncertainties related to spatial distance compare to those raised by uncertainties related to temporal distance. (shrink)
Using Kant’s argument that lies are evil and reprehensible in themselves regardless of the benefits that may result, I show that guns can be understood in similar terms. In a unique reading of Kant’s radical and often ridiculed ideas, I maintain that lies have this status because of the way they pervert our relationship to the truth and thus to morality and reason. Lies turn truth and reason into mere means to be used rather than to be obeyed. Kant believes (...) that the result is arrogance, insincerity, and self-deception in the form of moral impurity and depravity. This gives way to the morally bankrupt logics of the passions for honor, dominance, and possession. I argue that this destruction of virtue and of our relation to the moral law can be found in our relation to guns. Guns are not just killing machines; they are deception machines. It is for that reason, regardless of the costs and benefits, that the Kantian should deny that we have any right to them. (shrink)
Assessing the implementation of various instruments and solutions in a healthcare system, we cannot limit ourselves to examining their impact on the fulfillment of the criteria of justice and equity alone. Another important social objective is to maximize social welfare under the conditions of the scarcity of resources. The aim of the article is to analyze the impact on social welfare of the implementation of private insurance into the existing system of public security, with a view to the following factors: (...) the reasons for restrictions in the public system, the assumed forms of the aggregation of individual utilities into the social welfare function, and the assumed image of society. (shrink)
In line with familiar portrayals of Kant's ethics, interpreters of his philosophy of education focus essentially on its intellectual dimension: the notions of moral catechism, ethical gymnastics and ethical ascetics, to name but a few. By doing so, they usually emphasise Kant's negative stance towards the role of feelings in moral education. Yet there seem to be noteworthy exceptions: Kant writes that the inclinations to be honoured and loved are to be preserved as far as possible. This statement is not (...) only at odds with Kant's general claim that education should not encourage feelings, but more importantly, it encourages a feeling that is in many ways paradigmatically un-Kantian. How are we to understand the fact that of all feelings, the love of honour should be preserved? To answer this question, I begin by clarifying the reasons behind Kant's negative stance towards feelings in moral education. I then turn to his account of the feeling of love of honour. After distinguishing between its good and its bad forms, I consider two ways of making sense of the positive role Kant assigns to it. The first, modest reading will suggest that the feeling of love of honour is morally useful because it has two functions: an epistemic one, and a motivational one. The second, more ambitious reading will suggest that the feeling of love of honour enables the child to experience her inner worth as bearer of value. (shrink)
In his applied moral philosophy, Kant formulates the parents’ duty to make their child happy. I argue that, for Kant, this duty is an ad hoc attempt at compensating for the parental guilt of having brought a person into the condition of existence – and hence also having created her need for happiness – on their own initiative. I argue that Kant’s considerations regarding parental duties and human reproduction in general imply arguments for an ethically justified anti-natalism, but that this (...) position is abolished in his teleology for meta-ethical reasons. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the relationship between Kant and the traditional view of dignity. I argue that some amendments to Sensen’s description of the traditional paradigm enable us to see more clearly both where Kant adheres to the latter and where his view is original. First, a consideration of Pufendorf’s use of dignity suggests (1) that, contrary to Sensen’s reconstruction, the traditional paradigm does not entail a connection between dignity and duties to oneself, and (2) that Pufendorf’s understanding of dignity (...) as a kind of esteem, as opposed to price, provides a crucial mediation between the traditional view and Kant’s view. Finally, I argue that the traditional understanding of dignity also includes a subordinate justificatory element that helps to explain Kant’s use of dignity in the Doctrine of Virtue. (shrink)
Muitos filósofos fizeram referência à teoria ética proposta por Immanuel Kant em sua obra Crítica da Razão Pura, ora tomando-a como fundamento para desenvolvimento de teorias éticas contemporâneas, ora tomando-a como alvo de crítica pós-moderna. Contudo, apesar da grande repercussão da obra kantiana, deve-se salientar não é incomum encontrar leituras errôneas e comentários equivocados sobre as teses de Kant. Nesse sentido, o presente artigo almeja apresentar e esclarecer os principais conceitos da primeira parte da Analítica da Razão Prática Pura da (...) Crítica da Razão Prática, intitulada Das Proposições Fundamentais da Razão Prática Pura, a fim de evitar leituras equivocadas e proporcionar um caminho introdutório para a leitura e entendimento da Ética de Immanuel Kant. (shrink)
In this book, Toby Svoboda develops and defends a Kantian environmental virtue ethic, challenging the widely-held view that Kant's moral philosophy takes an instrumental view toward nature and animals and has little to offer environmental ethics. On the contrary, Svoboda posits that there is good moral reason to care about non-human organisms in their own right and to value their flourishing independently of human interests, since doing so is constitutive of certain virtues. Svoboda argues that Kant’s account of indirect duties (...) regarding nature can ground a compelling environmental ethic: the Kantian duty to develop morally virtuous dispositions strictly proscribes unnecessarily harming organisms, and Svoboda argues that this duty compels us to act in ways that benefit non-human organisms, given that doing so can enhance one’s virtues. Svoboda’s argument engages the recent literature on environmental virtue and provides an original argument for an environmental virtue ethic firmly rooted in Kant’s moral philosophy. (shrink)
Kant commentators have recently begun to pay attention to Kant’s account of friendship. They have asked questions, such as: Is his description of friendship consistent and robust and does it provide an account of friendship that satisfies common intuitions and expectations of friendship? Their answers to these questions have often been negative. At the same time, many of these critics share a common understanding of two basic aspects of Kant’s account of friendship. Kant sees friendship as both a duty and (...) an ideal state. One critic, Patricia Flynn, considers the implications of this dual claim. She argues that the view that friendship is both duty and idea gives rise to a tension in the concept of friendship. This tension makes the duty of friendship different from all other Kantian moral duties and leaves us with a duty that we cannot achieve. My aim is to revisit Flynn’s argument and by reassessing Kant’s claims to show that there is indeed complexity in Kant’s understanding of friendship, but there is no conceptual problem that makes friendship a duty unlike all other duties or makes it an impossible duty. (shrink)
The account of marriage Kant presents in the Rechtslehre strikes most readers as cold, legalistic and obsessed with sex. It seems to ignore at least nearly all of the morally valuable aspects of marriage. Consequently, most have felt that this is a feature of Kant 's theory best ignored. Against this view, this article argues that Kant 's focus is appropriate, that his understanding of marriage is much more romantic than is commonly thought and that it presents a thought-provoking alternative (...) to the picture of marriage found in the modern law. (shrink)
Samuel J. Kerstein develops a new, broadly Kantian account of the ethical issues that arise when a person treats another merely as a means. He explores how Kantian principles on the dignity of persons shed light on pressing issues in modern bioethics, including the distribution of scarce medical resources and the regulation of markets in organs.
Many philosophers have objected to Kant’s account of duties regarding non-human nature, arguing that it does not ground adequate moral concern for non-human natural entities. However, the traditional interpretation of Kant on this issue is mistaken, because it takes him to be arguing merely that humans should abstain from animal cruelty and wanton destruction of flora solely because such actions could make one more likely to violate one’s duties to human beings. Instead, I argue, Kant’s account of duties regarding nature (...) grounds much stronger limitations on how humans may treat non-human animals and flora, since such duties are rooted in the imperfect duty to increase one’s own moral perfection. This duty proscribes actions affecting non-human nature that decrease one’s moral perfection, such as those that cause organisms unnecessary harm. Moreover, the duty to moral perfection prescribes (but does not strictly require) actions affecting non-human nature that increase one’s moral perfection, such as those that benefit organisms. Given this interpretation, I show that, contrary to a widely held view, Kant’s moral philosophy can ground a coherent and robust approach to environmental ethics. (shrink)
Liberal theories of justice have been rightly criticized for two things by care theorists. First, they have failed to deal with private care relations’ inherent (inter)dependency, asymmetry and particularity. Second, they have been shown unable properly to address the asymmetry and dependency constitutive of care workers’ and care-receivers’ systemic conditions. I apply Kant’s theory of right to show that current care theories unfortunately reproduce similar problems because they also argue on the assumption that good care requires only virtuous private individuals. (...) Giving up this assumption enables us to solve the problems regarding both private care relations and systemic injustice. (shrink)
Kant’s strict views on lying have been regularly cited as a reason for thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with Kantian ethics. Some of Kant’s statements here seem so excessive that most Kantians who have dealt with the topic have tried to distance themselves from them, usually claiming that they do not (or need not) follow from Kant’s own principles. In this chapter, I will do a little of that, partly by questioning whether the famous example of the “murderer at (...) the door” really fits the principles Kant applies to it. By and large, however, I will argue Kant’s views about veracity are reasonable or at least defensible, if not selfevident. This is mainly because I also think some of them –especially his position in the brief, late and famous (or notorious) essay On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy (1797)– have been badly misunderstood. My principal aim here will be to correct that misunderstanding. (shrink)
Kant has famously argued that monogamous marriage is the only relationship where sexual use can take place "without degrading humanity and breaking the moral laws." Kantian marriage, however, has been the target of fierce criticisms by contemporary things: it has been regarded as flawed and paradoncal, as being deeply at odds with feminism, and, at best, as plainly uninteresting. In this paper, I argue that Kantian marriage can indeed survive these criticisms. Finally, the paper advances the discussion beyond marriage. Drawing (...) on Kant 's conception of friendship, I suggest that he might have overlooked the possibility of sex being morally permissible in yet another context. (shrink)
In this paper I provide an interpretation of Kant’s conception of free speech. Free speech is understood as the kind of speech that is constitutive of interaction respectful of everybody’s right to freedom, and it requires what we with John Rawls may call ‘public reason’. Public reason so understood refers to how the public authority must reason in order to properly specify the political relation between citizens. My main aim is to give us some reasons for taking a renewed interest (...) in Kant’s conception of free speech, including his account public reason. Kant’s position provides resources for dealing with many of the legal and political problems we currently struggle to analyze under this heading, such as the proper distinction between the sphere of justice and the sphere of ethics, hate speech, freedom of speech, defamation, and the public guarantee of reliable media and universal education. (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)