About this topic
Summary Kant uses the notion of justification [Rechtfertigung] in various ways in his works. For instance, he talks about justification in his ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy; however, he rarely reflects on the notion itself and does not provide a unified account of Rechtfertigung. In our modern pluralistic context, pioneering work on the notion by Leslie Stevenson and Andrew Chignell generated some intriguing philosophical discussions concerning the nature of the concept, in particular whether it has unity and whether it has an epistemic character, as well as concerning its relation to contemporary discussions of justification.
Key works Kant uses the term 'justification [Rechtfertigung]' or cognate terms (e.g., to justify [rechtfertigen]' in, among others, Kant 1998, the Critique of Practical Reason (in Kant 1996), Kant 2000, Hatfield 2004, Groundwork of The Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996), Kant 1998, or the Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996). In addition to works by Leslie Stevenson (2003) and Chignell 2007, it is worth mentioning Timmons & Baiasu 2013 - a collection of recent articles on Kant's notion of justification in the practical domain (including metaethics, ethics, legal philosophy and philosophy of religion).
Introductions A good introduction can be found in the article on Rechtfertigung from the recent Kant-Lexikon edited by Mohr, Stolzenberg and Willaschek. For an introduction to Kant's notion of justification, especially practical justification, see the introductory chapter in Timmons & Baiasu 2013.
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  1. Kant's Justification of the Role of Maxims in Ethics.Michael Albrecht - 2009 - In Karl Ameriks, Otfried Höffe & Nicolas Walker (eds.), Kant's Moral and Legal Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Die Duhem-Quine-These unter dem Geltungsaspekt der erkenntnistheoretischen Fragestellung Kants.Nikolaos Avgelis - 1991 - Kant-Studien 82 (3):285-302.
  3. Kant's Justification of Welfare.Sorin Baiasu - 2014 - Diametros 39:1-28.
    For several decades, theorists interested in Kant’s discussion of welfare have puzzled over Kant’s position on the issue of the redistribution of goods in society. They have done this both in order to clarify his position and as a source of inspiration for current conceptual problems faced by contemporary political philosophers who attempt to reconcile the ideal of equal freedom with the asymmetric interference necessary for redistribution and social provision. In this paper, I start with Kant’s brief discussion of welfare (...)
  4. Kant's Subjective Deduction.Nathan Bauer - 2010 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (3):433-460.
    In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...)
  5. Der phänomenologische Evidenzbegriff.Wilhelm Beimer - 1919 - Kant-Studien 23 (1-3):269-301.
  6. Proofs of God's Existence in German Idealism. The Justification of the Absolute by Means of Modal Theory in Kant, Hegel and Weisse.Günter Bleickert - 1977 - Philosophy and History 10 (1):24-27.
  7. La théorie friesienne de la justification.Christian Bonnet - 2002 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 3 (3):325-339.
  8. Justification of Metaphysics in View of Kant.Rudolf Brajčić - 2004 - Disputatio Philosophica 6 (1):96-71.
  9. Is Kant (W)Right? – On Kant’s Regulative Ideas and Wright’s Entitlements.Jochen Briesen - 2013 - Kant-Yearbook 5 (1):1-32.
    This paper discusses a structural analogy between Kant’s theory of regulative ideas, as he develops it in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, and Crispin Wright’s theory of epistemic entitlements. First, I argue that certain exegetical difficulties with respect to the Appendix rest on serious systematic problems, which – given other assumptions of the Critique of Pure Reason – Kant is unable to solve. Second, I argue that because of the identified structural analogy between Kant’s and Wright’s views the project (...)
  10. Kant's Concepts of Justification.Andrew Chignell - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):33–63.
    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 (...)
  11. Kant's Ethics of Assent: Knowledge and Belief in the Critical Philosophy.Andrew Chignell - 2004 - Dissertation, Yale University
    Most accounts of Kant's epistemology focus narrowly on cognition and knowledge . Kant himself, however, thought that there are many other important species of assent : opinion, persuasion, conviction, belief, acceptance, and assent to the deliverances of common sense. ;My goal in this dissertation is to isolate and motivate the principles of rational acceptability which, for Kant, govern each of these kinds of assent, instead of focusing merely on cognition and knowledge. Some of the principles apply in the context of (...)
  12. Gap? What Gap? On the Transcendental Unity of Apperception and the Necessary Application of the Categories.Schulting Dennis - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 141-191.
    In this paper, I address the problem, raised in some recent Anglophone Kant literature (Van Cleve 1999; Gomes 2010; Stephenson 2014) and going back to Stroud (1968), of an alleged ‘gap’ in Kant’s argument in TD for the necessary application of the categories to objects of experience that needs bridging, and show that it is based on a misunderstanding about the principle of the unity of apperception and its inherent objective validity. The ostensible gap is construed in terms of the (...)
  13. Necessity and Possibility: The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Review).Philip Dwyer - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):402-403.
    This book is a foray into the thorny interpretive issue of what to make of Kant's so-called "Metaphysical Deduction" of the categories. As with many of the arguments in the first Critique, the claim of the Metaphysical Deduction is easier to make out than its argument. The claim is that by some or other reference to "general logic," one may obtain a "transcendental logic," i.e., a justification (or "deduction") of the categories (of the understanding) necessary to the (very) possibility of (...)
  14. The Justification of Punishment in Kant.W. Enderlein - 1985 - Kant-Studien 76 (3):303-327.
  15. Why Reflective Equilibrium? I: Reflexivity of Justification.Svein Eng - 2014 - Ratio Juris 27 (1):138-154.
    In A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls introduces the concept of “reflective equilibrium.” Although there are innumerable references to and discussions of this concept in the literature, there is, to the present author's knowledge, no discussion of the most important question: Why reflective equilibrium? In particular, the question arises: Is the method of reflective equilibrium applicable to the choice of this method itself? Rawls's drawing of parallels between Kant's moral theory and his own suggests that his concept of “reflective (...)
  16. Kant and the Price of a Justification.James R. Flynn - 1979 - Kant-Studien 70 (1-4):279-311.
  17. Kant and the Enlightenment's Contribution to Social Epistemology.Axel Gelfert - 2010 - Episteme 7 (1):79-99.
    The present paper argues for the relevance of Immanuel Kant and the German Enlightenment to contemporary social epistemology. Rather than distancing themselves from the alleged ‘individualism’ of Enlightenment philosophers, social epistemologists would be well-advised to look at the substantive discussion of social-epistemological questions in the works of Kant and other Enlightenment figures. After a brief rebuttal of the received view of the Enlightenment as an intrinsically individualist enterprise, this paper charts the historical trajectory of philosophical discussions of testimony as a (...)
  18. Kant on Testimony.Axel Gelfert - 2006 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
    Immanuel Kant is often regarded as an exponent of the ‘individualist’ tradition in epistemology, according to which testimony is not a fundamental source of knowledge. The present paper argues that this view is far from accurate. Kant devotes ample space to discussions of testimony and, in his lectures on logic, arrives at a distinct and stable philosophical position regarding testimony. Important elements of this position consist in (a) acknowledging the ineliminability of testimony; (b) realizing that testimony can establish empirical knowledge (...)
  19. The Place of Punishment in Kant's Rechtslehre.Paul Gorner - 2000 - Kantian Review 4 (1):121-130.
    If Kant had never written the section of the Rechtslehre on punishment we would still have known from the Critique of Practical Reason that he held a strongly retributive view of punishment. But it is not a view which we could have inferred from the rest of the Rechtslehre. Despite its intuitive appeal, Kant's justification of judicial punishment simply does not fit the account of right he gives in the Rechtslehre. According to this account the only justification for coercion is (...)
  20. Transcendental Arguments: A Meta-Critique.Moltke S. Gram - 1979 - Kant-Studien 70 (1-4):508-513.
  21. The Myth of the Given and the Grip of the Given.Robert Hanna - 2011 - Diametros 27:25-46.
    In this paper I argue that the Sellarsian Myth of the Given does not apply to all forms of Non-Conceptualism; that Kant is in fact a non-conceptualist of the right-thinking kind and not a Conceptualist, as most Kant-interpreters think; and that an intelligible and defensible Kantian Non-Conceptualism can be developed which supports the thesis that true perceptual beliefs are non-inferentially justified and also normatively funded by direct, embodied, intentional interactions with the manifest world (a.k.a. the Grip of the Given).
  22. The Principle of Right: Practical Reason and Justification in Kant's Ethical and Political Philosophy.Alison Hills - 2007 - Politics and Ethics Review 3 (1):24-36.
    The principle of right is Kant's main formulation of the rules of politics, and it has obvious affinities with the moral law. Do we have moral reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we may have moral reasons to obey the principle ourselves, but not coercively to enforce it. Do we have prudential reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we do not have reasons based on happiness, but that we may have prudential reasons of a wholly different, (...)
  23. Kant on Opinion, Belief, and Knowledge.Thomas Höwing - 2016 - In The Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy. De Gruyter. pp. 201-222.
    The paper addresses an exegetical puzzle that is raised by Kant's distinction between opining (Meinen), believing (Glauben), and knowing (Wissen). In presenting his moral arguments, Kant often points out that belief, as he conceives of it, has a unique feature: it requires non-epistemic justification. Yet Kant's official formulation of the tripartite distinction runs counter to this claim. It describes Belief in terms of a set of two features, each of which also pertains to either opinion or knowledge. My aim in (...)
  24. Revisiting Kantian Retributivism to Construct a Justification of Punishment.Jane Johnson - 2008 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (3):291-307.
    The standard view of Kant’s retributivism, as well as its more recent reworking in the ‘limited’ or ‘partial’ retributivist reading are, it is argued here, inadequate accounts of Kant on punishment. In the case of the former, the view is too limited and superficial, and in the latter it is simply inaccurate as an interpretation of Kant. Instead, this paper argues that a more sophisticated and accurate rendering of Kant on punishment can be obtained by looking to his construction of (...)
  25. Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason and Other Writings.Immanuel Kant - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics (...)
  26. The Possibility of Practical Reason: An Essay on Kant's Justification of Ethics.Halla Kim - 1997 - Dissertation, The University of Iowa
    The thesis is a critical and comprehensive examination of Immanuel Kant's theory of practical reason. I argue that considerable light is thrown upon Kant's view when it is considered in light of the British naturalist ethics stretching from Hobbes to Hutcheson, and especially Hume. Consideration of the naturalist ethics is important because of that tradition's radical skepticism about the power of pure practical reason. While not many scholars emhasize this point, Kant's ethics is not so much a response to amoralism (...)
  27. Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays. [REVIEW]Markus Kohl - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (2):332-338.
  28. Review: Timmons & Baiasu Sorin (Eds), Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays[REVIEW]Markus Kohl - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (2):332-338.
  29. The Justification of a Moral Argument: The Anti-Naturalists and Kant.Armin Richard Konrad - 1968 - Dissertation, Emory University
  30. Kant, Health Care and Justification.Erich H. Loewy - 1995 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 16 (2).
    An argument based on Kant for access to health-care for all is a most helpful addition to prior discussions. My paper argues that while such a point of view is helpful it fails to be persuasive. What is needed, in addition to a notion of the legislative will, is a viewpoint of community which sees justice as originating not merely from considerations of reason alone but from a notion of community and from a framework of common human experiences and capabilities.
  31. Kant's Groundwork Justification of Freedom.Michael H. McCarthy - 1984 - Dialogue 23 (3):457-473.
  32. Kant's Justification of Freedom.Michael Henry Mccarthy - 1973 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
  33. Testimony and Kant's Idea of Public Reason.Kjartan Koch Mikalsen - 2010 - Res Publica 16 (1):23-40.
    It is common to interpret Kant’s idea of public reason and the Enlightenment motto to ‘think for oneself’ as incompatible with the view that testimony and judgement of credibility is essential to rational public deliberation. Such interpretations have led to criticism of contemporary Kantian approaches to deliberative democracy for being intellectualistic, and for not considering our epistemic dependence on other people adequately. In this article, I argue that such criticism is insufficiently substantiated, and that Kant’s idea of public reason is (...)
  34. Review: Timmons, Mark and Baiasu, Sorin, Kant on Practical Justification[REVIEW]Kate A. Moran - 2014 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 96 (4).
  35. Public Reason as a Form of Normative and Political Justification: A Study on Rawls's Idea of Public Reason and Kant's Notion of the Use of Public Reason in What is Enlightenment?Paul Nnodim - 2004 - South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):148-157.
  36. Faith as Kant's Key to the Justification of Transcendental Reflection.Stephen Palmquist - 1984 - Heythrop Journal 25 (4):442–455.
    A revised version of this article became Chapter V in my 1993 book, Kant's System of Perspectives.
  37. Kant’s Touchstone of Communication and the Public Use of Reason.Lawrence Pasternack - 2014 - Society and Politics 8 (1):78-91.
    Nearly all of the work that has been done on Kant’s conception of public reason has focused on its socio-political significance. John Rawls, Onora O’Neill and others have explored its relevance to a well ordered democracy, to pluralism, to toleration, and so on. However, the relevance of public reason for Kant is not limited to the socio-political. Kant repeatedly appeals to the “touchstone of communication” in relation to the normative side of his epistemology. The purpose of this paper is to (...)
  38. Justification and Belief in Kant's Moral Philosophy.Lawrence Robin Pasternack - 1997 - Dissertation, Boston University
    My dissertation examines the relationship between Kant's account of moral experience and his means of justifying morality. More specifically, I examine the justificatory role attributed to the consciousness of being bound by the moral law in the Critique of Practical Reason and subsequent texts. ;Rather than supplying a proof of the veracity of this consciousness, Kant claims that it alone establishes the moral law's objective validity. In my attempt to determine how this consciousness achieves its purported justificatory function, I focus (...)
  39. Kant on Justification in Transcendental Philosophy.Derk Pereboom - 1990 - Synthese 85 (1):25 - 54.
    Kant''s claim that the justification of transcendental philosophy is a priori is puzzling because it should be consistent with (1) his general restriction on the justification of knowledge, that intuitions must play a role in the justification of all nondegenerate knowledge, with (2) the implausibility of a priori intuitions being the only ones on which transcendental philosophy is founded, and with (3) his professed view that transcendental philosophy is not analytic. I argue that this puzzle can be solved, that according (...)
  40. Why is the Deduction of Taste Judgments so Easy-an Attempt at a Justification of Paragraph-38 of Kant'kritik der Urteilskraft'.C. Rapp & W. Ullrich - 1994 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 101 (2):358-365.
  41. Kant's Deduction From Apperception.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 53-96.
    In this article, I consider critical arguments levelled against central elements of my view, expounded in my book Kant’s Deduction and Apperception (Schulting 2012b; KDA), that the categories are derived a priori from the principle of apperception, the ‘I think’. This view goes back to a much earlier, and more famous attempt by Klaus Reich, first proposed in 1932 (see Reich 2001), to argue that the functions of thought are ultimately and a priori derivable from the objective unity of apperception. (...)
  42. Problems of Kantian Nonconceptualism and the Transcendental Deduction.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 195-255.
    In this paper, I discuss the debate on Kant and nonconceptual content in the context of the main argument of the B-Deduction. Kantian conceptualists (Bowman 2011; Griffith 2012; Gomes 2014) have responded to the recent nonconceptualist offensive, with reference to A89ff./B122ff. (§13)—which, confusingly, the nonconceptualists also cite as evidence for their contrary reading—by arguing that the nonconceptualist view conflicts with the central goal of TD, namely, to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I contend that the conceptualist (...)
  43. Reply to Watt: Epistemic Humility, Objective Validity, Logical Derivability.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - Critique (November):o-o.
    In this essay, I reply to Robert Watt's critique of my book Kant's Radical Subjectivism https://wp.me/ptwJK-1dr I address issues concerning epistemic humility, objective validity and the logical derivation of the categories from apperception.
  44. Probleme des ‚kantianischen‘ Nonkonzeptualismus im Hinblick auf die B-Deduktion.Dennis Schulting - 2015 - Kant-Studien 106 (4):561-580.
    Recently, Allais, Hanna and others have argued that Kant is a nonconceptualist about intuition, and that intuitions refer objectively independently of the functions of the understanding. Kantian conceptualists have responded, with reference to A89ff./B122ff. – which the nonconceptualist also cite as evidence for their reading, that this view conflicts with the central goal of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I argue that the conceptualist reading of A89ff./B122ff. is unfounded, but also that the (...)
  45. Kant's Deduction From Apperception: A Reply to My Critics.Dennis Schulting - 2014 - Studi Kantiani 27:95-115.
    In my reply to the respective critiques by Corey Dyck, Marcel Quarfood and Andrew Stephenson of my book Kant’s Deduction and Apperception: Explaining the Categories (Palgrave 2012), I go over some of the main planks of my interpretation of the first step of the B-Deduction. In response to Dyck, I explain that there are several reasons why I believe that the deduction of the categories must indeed be seen as a logical derivation from the unity of apperception, and also why (...)
  46. Kant's Deduction and Apperception. Explaining the Categories.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Dennis Schulting 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 (...)
  47. Kant's Deduction and Apperception.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    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 (...)
  48. Kant, Non-Conceptual Content, and the 'Second Step' of the B-Deduction.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - Kant Studies Online:51-92.
    This article is a modified version in translation of the original Dutch version that appeared in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 4 (2010) / * This article has been updated and improved and appears now in the definitive version in my book Kant's Radical Subjectivism, chapter 5. Please refer to that chapter, rather than to this article.
  49. Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and His Transcendental Deduction.Justin B. Shaddock - 2015 - Kantian Review 20 (2):265-288.
    I argue for a novel, non-subjectivist interpretation of Kant’s transcendental idealism. Kant’s idealism is often interpreted as specifying how we must experience objects or how objects must appear to us. I argue to the contrary by appealing to Kant’s Transcendental Deduction. Kant’s Deduction is the proof that the categories are not merely subjectively necessary conditions we need for our cognition, but objectively valid conditions necessary for objects to be appearances. My interpretation centres on two claims. First, Kant’s method of self-knowledge (...)
  50. Justification, Objectivity, and Subjectivity in Kant's Transcendental Deduction of the Categories.Justin B. Shaddock - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):177-185.
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