Kant's Justification of Ethics

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2021)
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Abstract

Kant’s arguments for the reality of human freedom and the normativity of the moral law continue to inspire work in contemporary moral philosophy. Many prominent ethicists invoke Kant, directly or indirectly, in their efforts to derive the authority of moral requirements from a more basic conception of action, agency, or rationality. But many commentators have detected a deep rift between the _Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals_ and the _Critique of Practical Reason_, leaving Kant’s project of justification exposed to conflicting assessments and interpretations. In this major re-reading of Kant, Owen Ware defends the controversial view that Kant’s mature writings on ethics share a unified commitment to the moral law’s primacy. Using both close analysis and historical contextualization, Owen Ware overturns a paradigmatic way of reading Kant’s arguments for morality and freedom, situating them within Kant’s critical methodology at large. The result is a novel understanding of Kant that challenges much of what goes under the banner of Kantian arguments for moral normativity today.

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Author's Profile

Owen Ware
University of Toronto, Mississauga