About this topic
Summary There are three fundamental questions guiding Kant's ethics: (1) What is the supreme principle of morality? (2) What makes this principle binding? and (3) What duties arise from it? In answering the first question, Kant seeks to derive a principle of morality from the universal form we are capable of giving our maxims, whereby we exercise our power of self-legislation or what Kant calls ‘autonomy’. In answering the second question, Kant seeks to justify the principle of autonomy as a presupposition of rational agency and as a ‘fact’ illustrated in common moral thought, judgment, and feeling. In answering the third question, Kant offers a system of duties, both self-regarding and other-regarding. While commentators disagree over its ultimate success, Kant’s ethics presents us with one of the most systematic accounts of morality, autonomy, and agency in the history of moral thought, and it continues to have a lasting influence on contemporary ethics.
Key works The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant 2011) is Kant’s first book devoted to ethics, although he worked on similar issues much earlier. Other key works include the Critique of Practical Reason (Kant 1997) and the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant 1797/1996). Kant’s Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (Kant 1996), while guided by historical and theological questions, also contains insights relevant for his ethics.
Introductions For comprehensive studies, see Allison 1990Korsgaard 1996, Wood 1999Guyer 2000Reath 2006, and the collection of essays in Hill Jr 2009. For contemporary versions of Kantian ethics, see Herman 2007Korsgaard 2009, and Hill 2012.
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  1. Toleration and Some Related Concepts in Kant.Andrew Bain & Paul Formosa - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (2):167-192.
    In this article we examine Kant’s understanding of toleration by including a study of all instances in which he directly uses the language of toleration and related concepts. We use this study to resolve several key areas of interpretative dispute concerning Kant’s views on toleration. We argue that Kant offers a nuanced and largely unappreciated approach to thinking about toleration, and related concepts, across three normative spheres: the political, the interpersonal and the personal. We examine shortcomings in earlier interpretations and (...)
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  2. Mark Timmons, Significance and System: Essays on Kant's Ethics Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017 Pp. 352 ISBN 9780190203368 (Hbk) $78.00. [REVIEW]Sergio Tenenbaum - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (2):321-327.
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  3. A Kantian Account of Emotions as Feelings1.Alix Cohen - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):429-460.
    The aim of this paper is to extract from Kant's writings an account of the nature of the emotions and their function – and to do so despite the fact that Kant neither uses the term ‘emotion’ nor offers a systematic treatment of it. Kant's position, as I interpret it, challenges the contemporary trends that define emotions in terms of other mental states and defines them instead first and foremost as ‘feelings’. Although Kant's views on the nature of feelings have (...)
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  4. La Religion Est-Elle « Purement Une Affaire de Raison »?: Réflexions Sur Quelques Aspects du Traitement de la Religion Chez Kant.Robert Theis - 2020 - Kant-Studien 111 (1):29-66.
    This study reflects upon the fundamental justification of the radicality of Kant’s affirmation according to which religion is “a matter of reason alone”. To this end, this paper bores in two directions: In a first direction, the premises as well as the context of the Critique of Practical Reason’s thesis, according to which the moral law leads to religion, are reconstructed. The question that needs to be clarified in this context concerns the semantic content of the concept of religion that (...)
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  5. Walid Faizzada: Autonome Praxis und intelligible Welt: Die transzendental-praktische Freiheit in Kants Lehre vom höchsten Gut. Leiden/boston: Brill, 2017. XI, 332 Seiten. ISBN: 978-90-04-35415-9.Autonome Praxis und intelligible Welt: Die transzendental-praktische Freiheit in Kants Lehre vom höchsten Gut. [REVIEW]Michael Pluder - 2020 - Kant-Studien 111 (1):145-148.
  6. Jeffrey Edwards: Autonomy, Moral Worth, and Right. Kant on Obligatory Ends, Respect for Law, and Original Acquisition. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2018. 353 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-11-051606-7.Autonomy, Moral Worth, and Right. Kant on Obligatory Ends, Respect for Law, and Original Acquisition. [REVIEW]Georg Geismann - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (2):326-332.
  7. Bona Fama Defuncti in Kant’s Rechtslehre: Some Perspectives.Thomas Mertens - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):513-529.
    Although Kant’s final work in moral philosophy, Die Metaphysik der Sitten, currently attracts much scholarly attention, there is still a lot to explore. This article is an attempt to get to grips with a particular, often neglected passage of the Rechtslehre, namely §35. Here Kant defends the view that not only can a person’s good reputation can be tarnished after his death, but also that this constitutes a violation of this dead person’s property. Here I will not be able to (...)
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  8. Gualtiero Lorini and Robert B. Louden , Knowledge, Morals and Practice in Kant’s Anthropology London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 Pp. Xix + 171 ISBN 978-3-319-98725-5 £69.99. [REVIEW]Antonino Falduto - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):659-663.
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  9. The Legislative Authority.M. E. Newhouse - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):531-553.
    This article develops an account of the nature and limits of the state’s legislative authority that closely attends to the challenge of harmonizing Kant’s ethical and juridical theories. It clarifies some key Kantian concepts and terms, then explains the way in which the state’s three interlocking authorities – legislative, executive, and judicial – are metaphysically distinct and mutually dependent. It describes the emergence of the Kantian state and identifies the preconditions of its authority. Then it offers a metaphysical model of (...)
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  10. Christine M. Korsgaard, Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018 Pp. 272 ISBN 9780198753858 $24.95. [REVIEW]Kyla Ebels-Duggan - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):653-659.
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  11. Kant on Moral Agency: Beyond the Incorporation Thesis.Valtteri Viljanen - forthcoming - Kant-Studien.
    Journal Name: Kant-Studien Issue: Ahead of print.
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  12. The Differend and the Paradox of Contempt.Bryan Lueck - forthcoming - Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy.
    In this paper I begin by suggesting that Immanuel Kant’s argument for the impermissibility of treating others with contempt seems to be subject to a paradox very similar to the well known paradox of forgiveness first described by Aurel Kolnai. Specifically, either the object of the judgment of contempt is not really contemptible, in which case the prohibition on treating him with contempt is superfluous, or else the person truly is contemptible, in which case the prohibition seems unjustifiable, reducing to (...)
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  13. The Oxford Handbook of Kant.Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  14. Jeffrey Edwards: Autonomy, Moral Worth, and Right. Kant on Obligatory Ends, Respect for Law, and Original Acquisition. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2018. 353 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-11-051606-7. [REVIEW]Georg Geismann - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (2):326-332.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 110 Heft: 2 Seiten: 326-332.
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  15. Die Aufrichtigkeit als die Wurzel der Moralität. Kant.Jakub Sirovátka - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (2):256-271.
    In this essay, I examine the motive of inner truthfulness in the moral philosophy of Kant, which came to the fore in his work in the 1790s. Truthfulness and sincerity are interpreted as the roots of all morality. In the first chapter, I present two interpretations of inner honesty from two different perspectives: in relation to a duty to oneself and to the issue of conscience. The second chapter (the core of the essay) works out the main demand of truthfulness, (...)
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  16. A Funeral March for Those Drowning in Shallow Ponds?: Imperfect Duties and Emergencies.Martin Sticker - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (2):236-255.
    I discuss the problem that Kant’s ethics seems to be incapable of capturing our strong intuition that emergencies create a context for actions that is very different from other cases of helping and from other opportunities to further obligatory ends. I argue that if we pay attention to how Kant grounds beneficence we see that distress and emergency function as constitutive concerns. They are vital to establishing the duty of beneficence in the first place, and they also guide the application (...)
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  17. Eric Watkins . Kant on Persons and Agency Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018 Pp. Xii + 242, Hbk ISBN 9781107182455, £75.00. [REVIEW]Colin Marshall - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (2):327-333.
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  18. Autonomy and the Idea of Freedom: Some Reflections on Groundwork III.Andrews Reath - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (2):223-248.
    This article explores a set of questions about the ‘idea of freedom’ that Kant introduces in the fourth paragraph of Groundwork III. I develop a reading that supports treating it as a normative notion and brings out its normative content in some detail. I argue that we should understand the idea as follows: that it is a general feature of reasoning and judgement that it understands itself to be a correct or sound application of the normative standards of the relevant (...)
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  19. Laura Papish, Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018 Pp. Xvii + 280 ISBN 9780190692100 $85.00. [REVIEW]Pablo Muchnik - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (2):316-322.
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  20. Symbolic Representation in Kant’s Practical Philosophy. [REVIEW]Kostas Koukouzelis - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (4):802-805.
  21. Kate A. Moran, Community and Progress in Kant’s Moral PhilosophyWashington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012 Pp. 272 9780813219523 $64.95. [REVIEW]Jane Kneller - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (3):495-500.
  22. Oliver Sensen, Kant on Human DignityBerlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011 Pp. Xii + 230.978-3-11-0266214 $119.00.Frederick Rauscher - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (3):491-495.
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  23. Oliver Sensen, , Kant on Moral AutonomyCambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013 Pp. 311 ISBN 978-1-107-00486-3 £55.00. [REVIEW]Lara Denis - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (2):327-332.
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  24. Can Kant’s Formula of the End in Itself Condemn Capitalism?James Furner - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (1):1-25.
    Kantian socialists at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as contemporary authors seeking a principle with which to condemn capitalism, have turned to Kant’s Formula of the End in Itself. This article assesses the arguments from FEI against capitalism from the perspective of the issues that arise in interpreting and applying Kant’s formula. There are various strategies with which a Kantian might use FEI to condemn conduct that Kant did not use FEI to condemn. The article asks whether (...)
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  25. Oliver Thorndike, Kant’s Transition Project and Late Philosophy: Connecting the Opus Postumum and Metaphysics of Morals London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018 Pp. Xviii + 258 ISBN 9781350050303. [REVIEW]Bryan Hall - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (1):161-165.
  26. Das Verhältnis von Recht und Ethik in Kants praktischer Philosophie. Hrsg. von Bernd Dörflinger, Dieter Hüning und Günter Kruck. Hildesheim / Zürich / New York: Georg Olms, 2017. 327 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-487-15558-6.Das Verhältnis von Recht und Ethik in Kants praktischer Philosophie. [REVIEW]Georg Geismann - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (4):645-650.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 4 Seiten: 645-650.
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  27. Gabriela Basterra: The Subject of Freedom. Kant, Levinas. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015. 197 S. ISBN: 978-0-8232-6515-2.The Subject of Freedom. Kant, Levinas. [REVIEW]Michael Pluder - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (4):654-657.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 4 Seiten: 654-657.
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  28. Onora O’Neill: Constructing Authorities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 253 P. ISBN 978-1-107-11631-3.Constructing Authorities. [REVIEW]Jacinto Rivera de Rosales - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (4):639-645.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 4 Seiten: 639-645.
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  29. The Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy. Ed. By Thomas Höwing. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016. 294 P. ISBN 978-3-11-036900-7.The Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy. Ed. By. [REVIEW]Lawrence Pasternack - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (3):477-482.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 3 Seiten: 477-482.
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  30. Jakub Sirovátka: Das Sollen und das Böse in der Philosophie Immanuel Kants. Zum Zusammenhang zwischen kategorischem Imperativ und dem Hang zum Bösen. Hamburg: Meiner, 2015. 190 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-7873-2773-7. Das Sollen und das Böse in der Philosophie Immanuel Kants. Zum Zusammenhang zwischen kategorischem Imperativ und dem Hang zum Bösen. [REVIEW]Peter Heintel - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (2):352-356.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 2 Seiten: 352-356.
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  31. Joachim Hruschka: Kant und der Rechtsstaat und andere Essays zu Kants Rechtslehre und Ethik. München: Alber, 2015. 264 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-495-48723-5.Kant und der Rechtsstaat und andere Essays zu Kants Rechtslehre und Ethik. [REVIEW]Oscar Cubo Ugarte - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (1):170-174.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 109 Heft: 1 Seiten: 170-174.
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  32. Die „Kategorien der Freiheit“ in Kants praktischer Philosophie. Historischsystematische Beiträge. Hrsg. von Stephan Zimmermann. Berlin/boston: Walter de Gruyter 2016. ISBN 978-3-11-048929-3.Die „Kategorien der Freiheit“ in Kants praktischer Philosophie. Historischsystematische Beiträge. [REVIEW]Norbert Fischer - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (1):177-182.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 110 Heft: 1 Seiten: 177-182.
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  33. Zhengmi Zhouhuang: Der sensus communis bei Kant. Zwischen Erkenntnis, Moralität und Schönheit. Kantstudien-Ergänzungshefte 187. Berlin/boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2016. IX, 132 Seiten. ISBN: 978-3-11-045017-0.Der sensus communis bei Kant. Zwischen Erkenntnis, Moralität und Schönheit. Kantstudien-Ergänzungshefte 187. 2016. IX, 132 Seiten. ISBN: 978-3-11-04. [REVIEW]Michael Pluder - 2019 - Kant-Studien 110 (1):182-185.
    Name der Zeitschrift: Kant-Studien Jahrgang: 110 Heft: 1 Seiten: 182-185.
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  34. A Tale of Two Conflicts: On Pauline Kleingeld’s New Reading of the Formula of Universal Law.Jens Timmermann - 2018 - Kant-Studien 109 (4):581-596.
    Pauline Kleingeld’s “Contradiction and Kant’s Formula of Universal Law”, published in this journal in 2017, presents a powerful challenge to what has become the standard reconstruction of the categorical imperative. In this response to Kleingeld, I argue that she is right to emphasise the ‘simultaneity requirement’ - that we must be able to will a proposed maxim and ‘simulataneously’, ‘also’ or ‘at the same time’ the maxim in its universalised form - but I deny that this removes the categorical imperative (...)
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  35. Critique Phénoménologique de L’Éthique Kantienne.Dominique Pradelle - 2016 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 8 (2):442-481.
    In this paper we want to focus on Husserl’s critique of Kantian ethics and to develop the following questions. Against the merely empiristic orientation of Hume’s ethics, the Kantian foundation of ethics has an aprioristic character; but does this aprioristic character have to be identified with the origin of ethical principles in the pure subjectivity, and if not, which is its phenomenological signification? The sense of the Copernican revolution is that the structures of the objects are in accordance with the (...)
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  36. Affektion Und Zeitlichkeit Bei Kant Und Husserl.Alice Mara Serra - 2016 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 8 (2):482-501.
    In Critics of pure reason the notion of affection appears at first in the "Transcendental Aesthetic" and is unfolded on the notion of self-affection in the "Transcendental Analytic". Husserl, in manuscripts written from 1918, presents some developments of these Kantian notions. If by affection Kant explains that something can be given to the subject from the sensibility, that is, something that affects oneself from the external and the internal sense, however, Husserl extends the analysis of affection toward a broad spectrum (...)
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  37. Means, Ends, and Persons: The Meaning and Psychological Dimensions of Kant's Humanity Formula, by Robert Audi: New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, Pp. Xvi + 171, £29.99. [REVIEW]Paul Formosa - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):412-412.
    Book review of 'Means, Ends, and Persons: The Meaning and Psychological Dimensions of Kant's Humanity Formula, by Robert Audi, OUP'.
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  38. The Correlation of Science and Ethics in Hermann Cohen's Philosophy.Richard Mather - 2018
    Hermann Cohen made a distinction between the logic of science and the ideal of ethics, and noted that the natural world and the world of ethics are perceived very differently. This is because the order of the physical world is unchangeable (e.g, the sun sets in the west, night follows day, etc), while in the ideal world ethical rules can be accepted or rejected. It seems there should be one explanation for science, which is empirically self-evident, and another for ethics, (...)
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  39. The Ethical Idealism and Prophetic Messianism of Hermann Cohen.Richard Mather - 2018
    Hermann Cohen agreed with Immanuel Kant that ethics must be directed towards the well-being of humanity. The essential feature of this is its universality. As Cohen saw it, progress was (or at least ought to be) moving towards universal suffrage and democratic socialism. Following Kant, Cohen defended the so-called categorical imperative; that we should treat humanity in other persons always as an end and never as a means only. (Kant’s famous definition of the categorical imperative is to “act only according (...)
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  40. The Internality of Moral Faith in Kant’s Religion.Addison Ellis - 2018 - Kant Yearbook 10 (1):1-17.
    Wood (1970) convincingly argues that Kant’s notion of moral faith is a response to a “dialectical perplexity” or antinomy. Specifically, moral faith is a response to the threat of moral despair. In line with this suggestion, I make the case that moral faith is the resolution of a crisis about how to go on with one’s life in the face of the threat of moral despair. If this is right, then we have a potential solution to two related anxieties: (1) (...)
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  41. Kenneth Westphal, How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law: Justifying Strict Objectivity Without Debating Moral Realism Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 Pp. 208 ISBN 9780198747055 $65.00. [REVIEW]Frederick Rauscher - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):491-496.
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  42. Moral Rationalism and Demandingness in Kant: A Response to van Ackeren and Sticker.Roger Crisp - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):429-433.
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  43. Comment on Jens Timmermann, ‘Autonomy, Progress and Virtue: Why Kant Has Nothing to Fear From the Overdemandingness Objection’.John Skorupski - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):399-405.
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  44. Autonomy, Progress and Virtue : Why Kant has Nothing to Fear From the Overdemandingness Objection.Jens Timmermann - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):379-397.
    Is Kant’s ethical theory too demanding? Do its commands ask too much of us, either by calling for self-sacrifice on particular occasions, or by pervading our lives to the extent that there is no room for permissible action? In this article, I argue that Kant’s ethics is very demanding, but not excessively so. The notion of ‘latitude’ does not help. But we need to bear in mind that moral laws are self-imposed and cannot be externally enforced; that ‘right action’ is (...)
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  45. Moral Rationalism and Demandingness in Kant.Marcel van Ackeren & Martin Sticker - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):407-428.
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  46. Kant and the Problem of Demandingness: Introduction.Marcel van Ackeren & Martin Sticker - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (3):373-378.
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  47. Obligation and the Fact of Sense.Bryan Lueck - 2019 - Edinburgh University Press.
    This book proposes a substantially new solution to a classic philosophical problem: how is it possible that morality genuinely obligates us, binding our wills without regard to our perceived well-being? Building on Immanuel Kant’s idea of the fact of reason, the book argues that the bindingness of obligation can be traced back to the fact, articulated in different ways by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Serres, and Jean-Luc Nancy, that we find ourselves responsive, prior to all reflection, to a pre-personal, originary dimension (...)
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  48. Kant’s ‘Curious Catalogue of Human Frailties’: The Great Portrait of Nature.Alix Aurelia Cohen - 2012 - In Patrick Frierson & Paul Guyer (eds.), Critical Guide to Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 144-62.
    As has been noted in the recent literature on Kant’s ethics, Kant holds that although natural drives such as feelings, emotions and inclinations cannot lead directly to moral worth, they nevertheless play some kind of role vis-à-vis morality. The issue is thus to understand this role within the limits set by Kant’s account of freedom, and it is usually tackled by examining the relationship between moral and non-moral motivation in the Groundwork, the Critique of Practical Reason, and more recently, the (...)
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  49. Was Kant a 'Kantian Constructivist'?Jeremy Schwartz - 2017 - Kantian Review 22 (2):257-280.
    Both metaethicists and Kant scholars alike use the phrase ‘Kantian constructivism’ to refer to a kind of austere constructivism that holds that substantive ethical conclusions can be derived from the practical standpoint of rational agency as such. I argue that this widespread understanding of Kant is incompatible with Kant’s claim that the Categorical Imperative is a synthetic a priori practical judgement. Taking this claim about the syntheticity of the Categorical Imperative seriously implies that moral judgements follow from extra-logical but necessary (...)
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  50. Willing the End Means Willing the Means: An Overlooked Reading of Kant.Wooram Lee - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    In his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant famously claims that it is analytic that whoever wills the end also wills the indispensably necessary means to it that is within his control. The orthodox consensus has it that the analytic proposition expresses a normative principle of practical reason. In this paper, I argue that this consensus is mistaken. On my resolute reading of Kant, he is making a descriptive point about what it is to will an end, and not (...)
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