Kant's attempts to provide a foundation for morality are examined, with particular focus upon the fact of reason proof in the second Critique. The reconstructions proposed by Allison and Korsgaard are analysed in detail. Although analogous in many ways, they ultimately differ in their understanding of the relation between this proof and that presented in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. A synthesis of the two reconstructions is proposed which amounts to combining Korsgaard's awareness of the issue of agent-situatedness, (...) with Allison's emphasis upon the pivotal role of the notion of transcendental freedom. The reconstructed proof relies upon a teleological assumption about human agency, and thus does not provide an unconditional grounding for the moral law. After a brief examination of contemporary approaches to the grounding of a universal morality in the broadly Kantian tradition, the paper concludes with a suggestion as to how the value of freedom can form the core of an adequate response to reason's demand for such a ground. (shrink)
Book synopsis: This key collection of essays sheds new light on long-debated controversies surrounding Kant’s doctrine of idealism and is the first book in the English language that is exclusively dedicated to the subject. Well-known Kantians Karl Ameriks and Manfred Baum present their considered views on this most topical aspect of Kant's thought. Several essays by acclaimed Kant scholars broach a vastly neglected problem in discussions of Kant's idealism, namely the relation between his conception of logic and idealism: The standard (...) view that Kant's logic and idealism are wholly separable comes under scrutiny in these essays. A further set of articles addresses multiple facets of the notorious notion of the thing in itself, which continues to hold the attention of Kant scholars. The volume also contains an extensive discussion of the often overlooked chapter in the Critique of Pure Reason on the Transcendental Ideal. Together, the essays provide a whole new outlook on Kantian idealism. No one with a serious interest in Kant's idealism can afford to ignore this important book. (shrink)
This paper examines some consequences of the (quasi-)epiphenomenalism implied by a property dualistic view of phenomenal consciousness. The focus is upon the variation of phenomenal content over time. A thought-experiment is constructed to support two claims. The weaker claim exhibits an incompatibility which arises in certain logically possible situations between a conscious subject’s epistemic norms and the requirement that one be aware of one’s conscious experience. This could be interpreted as providing some epistemic grounds for the postulation of bridging laws (...) between the physical/functional and phenomenal domains. The stronger claim has it that the ontology of property dualism is not properly able to account for the certainty I have of being phenomenally conscious. The problem is viewed as resulting from the neglect of the intensional context involved in a proper representation of the argument for property dualism. It is argued that only a transcendental move can do justice to this certainty I have. (shrink)
This paper addresses the issue of making sense of Kant’s notion of moral worth. Kant’s identification in GMM1 I of the good will as the unconditional good leads to understanding the moral worth of human agency in ways which, some critics claim, is at odds with our moral intuitions. By first focusing upon how Kant singles out action out of duty as characteristic of the good will, we shall show that a covert assumption about our nature potentially weakens the force (...) of Kant’s argument. This paper claims that this assumption is not needed, and proposes an interpretation of Kant’s notion of moral worth that dispenses with it. In so doing, the interpretative strategy draws upon Kant’s solution to the Third Antinomy, and therefore on Transcendental Idealism. An analysis of the moral worth of the action of a benevolent agent who heeds the requirements of duty will show how inclinations contribute to morally worthy action, while the action’s moral worth lies in its being motivated by duty. A further analysis of the issue of moral worth in the light of recent scholarship introduces a distinction between the moral worth of the action and of the agent. This provides the material to address an important standard criticism of Kantian ethics. The paper concludes by suggesting that the proposed interpretation is required to make proper sense of Kant’s indirect duty to develop compassionate inclinations. (shrink)
This paper examines Kant’s conception of the self as subject, to show that it points to an understanding of the self as embodied. By considering ways in which the manifold of representations can be unified, different notions of self are identified through the subjective perspectives they define. This involves an examination of Kant’s distinction between subjective and objective unities of consciousness, and the notion of empirical unity of apperception in the first Critique, as well as the discussion of judgements of (...) perception and judgements of experience in the Prolegomena. If this identifies the self as subject through its embodied perspective, it leaves open the question of the self’s existence. The paper proposes an interpretation of Kant’s brief statements on this matter which provides grounds for an existence claim that extends to the embodied self. This suggests considering Kant’s view of the certainty of one’s existence as involving a feeling of self, albeit in a specifically Kantian form drawing on the transcendental unity of apperception. This feeling of self introduces a practical dimension that supports the claim that any determination of the self as subject has to be practical, namely as free agent subject to inclinations, insofar as he is embodied. (shrink)
No longer is sociality the preserve of the social sciences, or ‘‘culture’’ the preserve of the humanities or anthropology. By the same token, cognition is no longer the sole preserve of the cognitive sciences. Social cognition (SC) or, sociocognition if you like, is thus a kaleidoscope of research projects that has seen exponential growth over the past 30 or so years.
To know is to cognize, to cognize is to be a culturally bounded, rationality-bounded and environmentally located agent. Knowledge and cognition are thus dual aspects of human sociality. If social epistemology has the formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers as its subject matter, then its third party character is essentially stigmergic. In its most generic formulation, stigmergy is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment. Extending this notion one might (...) conceive of social stigmergy as the extra-cranial analog of an artifcial neural network providing epistemic structure. This paper recommends a stigmergic framework for social epistemology to account for the supposed tension between individual action, wants and beliefs and the social corpora. We also propose that the so-called "extended mind" thesis offers the requisite stigmergic cognitive analog to stigmergic knowledge. Stigmergy as a theory of interaction within complex systems theory is illustrated through an example that runs on a particle swarm optimization algorithm. (shrink)
This collection of papers, Consciousness and its Place in Nature: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism?, edited by Anthony Freeman presents seventeen responses to Galen Strawson’s keynote paper which claims that the only plausible way to be a real physicalist is to accept that the intrinsic properties of the physical are experiential in character, i.e., the doctrine of panpsychism. The book concludes with Strawson’s reply to these responses. This “real physicalism” is, according to Strawson, the only way of dealing with what Chalmers (...) calls the “hard problem of consciousness.” This problem lies in the fact that the experiential nature of our conscious experience is a puzzling phenomenon for the materialist. It is of an apparently fundamentally different nature from the rest of the physical world, hence the problem of integrating it into a satisfactory naturalistic world-picture. (shrink)
This paper examines some consequences of the epiphenomenalism implied by a property dualistic view of phenomenal consciousness. The focus is upon the variation of phenomenal content over time. A thought-experiment is constructed to support two claims. The weaker claim exhibits an incompatibility which arises in certain logically possible situations between a conscious subjecfs epistemicnorms and the requirement that one be aware of one’s conscious experience. This could be interpreted as providing some epistemic grounds for the postulation of bridging laws between (...) the physical/functional and phenomenal domains. The stronger claim has it that the ontology of property dualism is not properly able to account for the certainty I have of being phenomenally conscious. The problem is viewed as resulting from the neglect of the intensional context involved in a proper representation of the argument for property dualism. It is argued that only a transcendental move can do justice to this certainty I have. (shrink)
This article presents a metaphysical approach to the interpretation of the role of things-in-themselves in Kant’s theoretical philosophy. This focuses upon identifying their transcendental function as the grounding of appearances. It is interpreted as defining the relation of appearing as the grounding of empirical causality. This leads to a type of dual-aspect account that is given further support through a detailed examination of two sections of Kant’s first Critique. This shows the need to embed this dual-aspect account within a two-perspective (...) framework. The resulting picture is contrasted with the main rival theories and objections are addressed. (shrink)
Book synopsis: Held every five years under the auspices of the Kant-Gesellschaft, the International Kant Congress is the world’s largest philosophy conference devoted to the work and legacy of a single thinker. The five-volume set Kant and Philosophy in a Cosmopolitan Sense contains the proceedings of the Eleventh International Kant Congress, which took place in Pisa in 2010. The proceedings consist of 25 plenary talks and 341 papers selected by a team of international referees from over 700 submissions. The contributions (...) span 14 sections: Kant’s Concept of Philosophy; Theory of Cognition and Logic; Ontology and Metaphysics; Ethics; Law and Justice; Religion and Theology; Aesthetics; Anthropology and Psychology; Politics and History; Science, Mathematics, and the Philosophy of Nature; Kant and the Leibnizian Tradition; Kant and the Philosophical Tradition; Kant and Schopenhauer; and Kant’s Heritage. Thanks to cooperation from the Schopenhauer Gesellschaft, the 2010 conference was the first in the history of the International Kant Congress to include a session on Kant and Schopenhauer. (shrink)
An integral translation of Kant's 'Über Kästners Abhandlungen' (AA XX: 410-23). This translation is accompanied by an introductory essay on the importance of the Kästner treatise for an understanding of Kant's theory of space as infinite. See Onof & Schulting, "Kant, Kästner and the Distinction between Metaphysical and Geometrical Space".
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