Defending the Traditional Interpretations of Kant’s Formula of a Law of Nature

Theoria 66 (158):76-102 (2019)

Authors
Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
Abstract
In this paper I defend the traditional interpretations of Kant’s Formula of a Law of Nature from recent attacks leveled by Faviola Rivera-Castro, James Furner, Ido Geiger, Pauline Kleingeld and Sven Nyholm. After a short introduction, the paper is divided into four main sections. In the first, I set out the basics of the three traditional interpretations, the Logical Contradiction Interpretation, the Practical Contradiction Interpretation and the Teleological Contradiction Interpretation. In the second, I examine the work of Geiger, Kleingeld and Nyholm: these three commentators reject the traditional interpretations entirely, but I argue that this rejection is ill-founded. In the third and fourth, I take a detailed look at Furner’s work, work in which he seeks to revise (rather than reject) the traditional interpretations. I argue that, despite his more modest aims, Furner’s revision is also ill-founded.
Keywords Categorical Imperative   Contradiction in Conception   Contradiction in Willing   Formula of a Law of Nature   Kant’s Ethics   Kantian Ethics   Logical Contradiction Interpretation  Practical Contradiction Interpretation
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DOI 10.3167/th.2019.6615804
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