When does a human being begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard have argued that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. In their view, a human individual begins to exist at gastrulation, i. e. at about sixteen days after fertilization. In this paper we argue that even granting Smith and Brogaard's ontological commitments and biological assumptions, the existence of a human being can be shown to (...) begin much earlier, viz., with fertilization. Their interpretative claim that a zygote divides immediately into two substances and therefore ceases to exist is highly implausible by their own standards, and their factual claim that there is no communication between the blastomeres has to be abandoned in light of recent embryological research. (shrink)
Kant is by no means the pure rationalist that Husserl and others represented him as being. To the contrary I claim that Kant is an ethical intuitionist when it comes to our recognition of the validity of the moral law. Interpreting Kant’s famous thesis about the “fact of reason”, I will first argue for three interpretative theses: 1. The factum theory explains our insight into the binding character of the moral law; it is a theory of justification. 2. In our (...) consciousness of the categorical imperative, the moral law is immediately given in its unconditional and binding validity. 3. The unconditional validity of the CI is given in the feeling of respect. Drawing on basic thoughts of Reformed Epistemology, I will then sketch a way to defend Kant’s theory. (shrink)
In the Introduction of the Tugendlehre, Kant identifies love of human beings as one of the four moral predispositions that make us receptive to the moral law. We claim that this love is neither benevolence nor the aptitude of the inclination to beneficence in general (both are also called love of human beings); rather it is amor complacentiae, which Kant understands as the delight in moral striving for perfection. We also provide a detailed analysis of Kant's almost completely neglected theory (...) of moral predispositions. They are necessary conditions to be aware of the moral law and to be motivated by it. (shrink)
In the debate about the moral status of human embryos, it is not always clear which arguments are actually disputed. This book offers students and researchers, but also laypersons interested in the current debate, the opportunity to inform themselves about the current state of discussion and to learn about the most important arguments in a clear and concise form. These arguments are as follows: Since embryos as members of the species homo sapiens sapiens are human beings, they possess dignity (species (...) argument); embryos develop continuously, i.e. without morally relevant incisions, into adult human beings possessing dignity (continuum argument); embryos are identical with adult human beings possessing dignity (identity argument); embryos have the potential to become human beings, and this potential is without restriction worth protecting (potentiality argument). These arguments are each represented by a pro position and a contra position and defended or criticized. In an accompanying contribution by the editors, the four arguments in context are reconstructed, evaluated, and supported by new arguments. (shrink)
When in doubt, for the embryo. New arguments on the moral status of human embryos. - In the first part of our essay we distinguish the philosophical from the legal and political level of the embryo debate and describe our indirect justification strategy. It consists in renouncing a determination of the dignity-giving φ-properties and instead starting from premises that are undoubted by all discussion partners. In the second part we reconstruct and criticize the species, continuum, identity and potentiality arguments. The (...) species argument only has a certain plausibility, if at all, as a critical argument. From the continuum argument and identity argument we take over the idea of numerical identity (NI) and link it with the core idea of the potentiality argument (P). So we come to the NIP argument: -/- (NIP) -/- (1) Every living human body that is the bearer of (or has) potential φ-properties has dignity. (2) Every viable human embryo is a living human body that is the bearer of (or has) potential φ properties. Therefore, (3) Every viable human embryo has dignity. -/- Reversibly comatose people and newborns are protected because they have the potential to have actual personal characteristics in the future; our thesis is that embryos that are capable of development also have the same potential in moral terms. The basic idea of numerical identity, with which we support the second premise, is that every human being, from embryonic existence to adulthood, forms a physical unity. In a detailed part, we deal with the crown princess, gametes, parthenogenesis, somatic cell, pronuclear stage, biological heteronome early embryo, multiple, fusion, Siamese twin, hydatidiform mole and finally trophoblast problems. In a third part, the indirect argument is supplemented by a metatheoretical cautionary argument. It states that in situations where there is doubt as to whether a being falls within the scope of a moral norm, but there are sufficiently strong reasons for this subsumption, it must be assumed that this is the case if the contrary assumption and the positive effects it may have are in no acceptable proportion to the moral harm that would result if that subsumption were not made. The main result of our considerations is therefore: When in doubt, for the embryo. (shrink)
There is hardly an analogy in the history of philosophy that has been referred to as often as the one that Kant himself draws in the second preface of the Critique of pure reason between Copernicus′ revolution in astronomy and his own revolution in metaphysics; and yet there is to the present day no detailed analysis thereof. The analogy is much more complex than meets the superficial eye: In the first passage , Kant does not draw a simple comparison to (...) Copernicus′ famous heliocentric hypothesis . In the second passage , Kant connects the reference to Copernicus with a reference to Newton by drawing an extremely rich analogy between the law of gravitation and the moral law of freedom. The revolution in metaphysics is related to the revolution in ethics; that famous analogy of Kant really is a Copernican-Newtonian analogy. (shrink)
In response to Reinhard Brandt's criticisms (Kant-Studien 101 (2020):377-379), we defend our the conjecture on the text of Kant's "Doctrine of Virtue", § 9 presented in "Zwei Konjekturvorschläge zur Tugendlehre, § 9" (Kant-Studien 101 (2010):247-252).
We conjecture that the text of § 9 in Kant's "Doctrine of Virtue" might have been assembled in a wrong order, because of issues in the preparation of the manuscript for publication. We show that textual clues suggest to consider the possibility of reordering two passages in the section, which might yield a more coherent argumentative structure.
Doing Philosophy Yourself. A Book of Methods. Whoever wants to philosophize must do three things: analyze for himself, argue for himself, and interpret for himself. This book enables one to learn the methods of philosophy through exercises and solutions close to philosophical practice; particular emphasis is put on close textual interpretation. This book is excellent both for the university and for self-study.
Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic. One had time to save either a young girl, or a tray of ten human embryos. Would it be wrong to save the girl? According to Michael Sandel, the moral intuition is to save the girl; what is more, one ought to do so, and this demonstrates that human embryos do not possess full personhood, and hence deserve only limited respect and may be killed for medical research. We will argue, however, (...) that no relevant ethical implications can be drawn from the thought experiment. It demonstrates neither that one always ought to let the embryos die, nor does it allow for any general conclusion concerning the moral status of human embryos. (shrink)
Kant und die Alternativen Heiner F. Klemme Manfred Kühn, Dieter Schönecker. H . Klemme / M. Kühn / D. Schönecker (Hg.) Moralische Motivation Kant und die Alternativen Meiner KANT-FORSCHUNGEN Begründet von Reinhard Brandt und ...
The so-called ”argument from religious experience’ plays a prominent role in today’s analytical philosophy of religion. It is also of considerable importance to richard Swinburne’s apologetic project. However, rather than joining the polyphonic debate around this argument, the present paper examines the fundamental concept of religious experience. The upshot is that Swinburne neither develops a convincing concept of experience nor explains what makes a religious experience religious. The first section examines some problems resulting mainly from terminology, specifically Swinburne’s use of (...) appear-words as success-verbs. While these problems might be resolved by a recurrence to the observer, the second and third part of our paper present problems not so easily resolved: namely, that Swinburne’s concept of experience as conscious mental events is too broad and inaccurate for its role in the argument given ; and that Swinburne does not even attempt to figure out which features of an experience, when present, turn an experience simpliciter into a distinctly religious experience. Section 4, in conclusion, outlines possible reasons for this unusual and remarkable inaccuracy in conceptualisation. (shrink)
Unbemerkt von der internationalen Philosophie gibt es seit fast dreißig Jahren eine deutsche Debatte über die Frage, ob die Hauptthese des Fallibilismus – keine Aussage ist sicher – widersprüchlich sei. Wir werden zeigen, daß diese Debatte auf beiden Seiten an begrifflichen Unklarheiten und fehlenden Unterscheidungen leidet. Die insbesondere von Karl-Otto Apel und Wolfgang Kuhlmann vorgetragenen Vorwürfe der Selbstimmunisierung und der Gehaltlosigkeit des Fallibilismus erweisen sich als unbegründet. Daraus folgt allerdings nicht, daß der von Hans Albert und Herbert Keuth verteidigte Fallibilismus (...) wirklich haltbar ist. (shrink)
Der US-amerikanische Philosoph Alvin Plantinga ist nach allgemeiner Einschätzung nicht nur einer der zentralen Akteure der analytischen Religionsphilosophie der letzten 50 Jahre; vielmehr ist er der wichtigste Vordenker der sogenannten ›Reformierten Epistemologie‹ und vermutlich der einflussreichste Religionsphilosoph des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts. Einer akademisch geprägten Einwandererfamilie aus den Niederlanden entspringend, hat Plantinga hauptsächlich am Calvin College in Grand Rapids, an der University of Michigan und an der Yale University studiert.