In this paper, we draw attention to several important tensions between Kant’s account of moral education and his commitment to transcendental idealism. Our main claim is that, in locating freedom outside of space and time, transcendental idealism makes it difficult for Kant to both provide an explanation of how moral education occurs, but also to confirm that his own account actually works. Having laid out these problems, we then offer a response on Kant’s behalf. We argue that, while it might (...) look like Kant has to abandon his commitment to either moral education or transcendental idealism, there is a way in which he can maintain both. (shrink)
This volume features original essays on the philosophy of love. The essays are organized thematically around the past, present, and future of philosophical thinking about love. In section I, the contributors explore what we can learn from the history of philosophical thinking about love. The chapters cover Ancient Greek thinkers, namely Plato and Aristotle, as well as Kierkegaard's critique of preferential love and Erich Fromm's mystic interpretation of sexual relations. Section II covers current conceptions and practices of love. These chapters (...) explore how love changes over time, the process of falling in love, envy in romantic partnerships, and a new interpretation of grand-parental love. Finally, Section III looks at the future of love. These chapters address technological developments related to love, such as algorithm-driven dating apps and robotic companions, as well as the potential of polyamory as a future romantic ideal. This book will be of interest to researchers and advanced students in moral philosophy and social and political philosophy who are working on issues related to philosophy of love. (shrink)
Kant wants to show that freedom is possible in the face of natural necessity. Transcendental idealism is his solution, which locates freedom outside of nature. I accept that this makes freedom possible, but object that it precludes the recognition of other rational agents. In making this case, I trace some of the history of Kant’s thoughts on freedom. In several of his earlier works, he argues that we are aware of our own activity. He later abandons this approach, as he (...) worries that any awareness of our activity involves access to the noumenal, and thereby conflicts with the epistemic limits of transcendental idealism. In its place, from the second Critique onwards, Kant argues that we are conscious of the moral law, which tells me that I ought to do something, thus revealing that I can. This is the only proof of freedom consistent with transcendental idealism, but I argue that such an exclusively first-personal approach precludes the recognition of other rational agents. I conclu.. (shrink)
In this chapter, we compare Kant and James’ accounts of freedom. Despite both thinkers’ rejecting compatibilism for the sake of practical reason, there are two striking differences in their stances. The first concerns whether or not freedom requires the possibility of an open future. James holds that morality hinges on the real possibility that the future can be affected by our actions. Kant, on the other hand, seems to maintain that we can still be free in the crucial sense, even (...) if none of our actions can have any effect on the future. The second difference between them is related, and concerns the location of freedom. Kant views experience as determined by natural necessity, and locates freedom outside of it, in things-in-themselves. James, on the other hand, has a richer conception of experience than Kant, and holds that we can locate our freedom within experience alone. In the end, we contend that James has a better account of how freedom relates to our experience, but this comes at a cost. For while Kant's account struggles with the relationship between freedom and experience, it has the advantage of insulating our freedom from potential empirical challenges. (shrink)
How we understand, protect, and discharge our rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society committed to the principle of political equality is intimately connected to the standards and behaviour of our media in general, and our news media in particular. However, the media does not just stand between the citizenry and their leaders, or indeed between citizens and each other. The media is often the site where individuals attempt to realise some of the most fundamental democratic liberties, including (...) the right to free speech. -/- Media Ethics, Free Speech, and the Requirements of Democracy explores the conflict between the rights that people exercise in, and through, the modern media and the responsibilities that accrue on account of its awesome and increasing power. The individual chapters—written by leading scholars from the US, UK, and Australia—address several recent events and controversial developments in the media, including Brexit, the rise of Trump, Lynton Crosby, Charlie Hebdo, dog-whistle politics, fake news, and political correctness. This much-needed philosophical treatment is a welcome addition to the recent literature in media ethics. It will be of interest to scholars across political and social philosophy, applied ethics, media and communication studies, and political science who are interested in the important issues surrounding the media and free speech and democracy. (shrink)
This article presents results from a multidisciplinary research project on the integration and transfer of language knowledge into robots as an empirical paradigm for the study of language development in both humans and humanoid robots. Within the framework of human linguistic and cognitive development, we focus on how three central types of learning interact and co-develop: individual learning about one's own embodiment and the environment, social learning (learning from others), and learning of linguistic capability. Our primary concern is how these (...) capabilities can scaffold each other's development in a continuous feedback cycle as their interactions yield increasingly sophisticated competencies in the agent's capacity to interact with others and manipulate its world. Experimental results are summarized in relation to milestones in human linguistic and cognitive development and show that the mutual scaffolding of social learning, individual learning, and linguistic capabilities creates the context, conditions, and requisites for learning in each domain. Challenges and insights identified as a result of this research program are discussed with regard to possible and actual contributions to cognitive science and language ontogeny. In conclusion, directions for future work are suggested that continue to develop this approach toward an integrated framework for understanding these mutually scaffolding processes as a basis for language development in humans and robots. (shrink)
Both Kant and James claim to limit the role of knowledge in order to make room for faith. In this paper, we argue that despite some similarities, their attempts to do this come apart. Our main claim is that, although both Kant and James justify our adopting religious beliefs on practical grounds, James believes that we can—and should—subsequently assess such beliefs on the basis of evidence. We offer our own account of this evidence and discuss what this difference means for (...) their accounts of religious belief. (shrink)
This paper lays out two recent accounts of Hegel’s practical philosophy in order to present a challenge. According to Robert Stern and Mark Alznauer, Hegel attempts to ground our ethical practices in ontological norms. I argue that we cannot ground our ethical practices in this way. However, I also contend that Stern’s and Alznauer’s conception of reality as both conceptual and normative can still play a useful role in practical philosophy, namely, to help defuse a sceptical worry about a threat (...) to ethics. (shrink)
This paper draws attention to two problems with Kant's claim that transcendental freedom is timeless. The problems are that this causes conceptual difficulties and fails to vindicate important parts of our moral practices. I then put forward three ways in which we can respond to these charges on Kant's behalf. The first is to defend Kant's claim that transcendental freedom occurs outside of time. The second is to reject this claim, but try to maintain transcendental idealism. And the third is (...) to reject both Kant's claim about the timelessness of freedom and also transcendental idealism itself. (shrink)
In his pre-critical lectures on rational psychology, Kant employs an argument from the I to the transcendental freedom of the soul. In the (A-edition of the) first Critique, he distances himself from rational psychology, and instead offers four paralogisms of this doctrine, insisting that ‘I think’ no longer licenses any inferences about a soul. Kant also comes alive to the possibility that we could be thinking mechanisms – rational beings, but not agents. These developments rob him of his pre-critical rationalist (...) argument for freedom. In the Groundwork, this is a serious problem; if we are not free, morality will be a phantasm for us. In Groundwork III, Kant attempts to overcome this by offering a new argument for our freedom, involving the standpoint of practical reason. In this paper, I detail these developments and present a practical and phenomenological reading of Kant’s approach in Groundwork III. I also venture a defence of this new argument. (shrink)
Kant holds that whenever we fail to act from duty, we are driven by self-love. In this paper, we argue that there are a variety of different ways in which people go wrong, and we show why it is unsatisfying to reduce all of these to self-love. In doing so, we present Kant with five cases of wrongdoing that are difficult to account for in terms of self-love. We end by suggesting a possible fix for Kant, arguing that he should (...) either accept a pluralistic account of self-love, or move beyond the duty/self-love dichotomy entirely. (shrink)
This paper argues that there are important irrational elements to love. In the philosophical literature, we typically find that love is either thought of as rational or arational and that any irrational elements are thought to be defective, or extraneous to love itself. We argue, on the contrary, that irrationality is in part connected to what we find valuable about love. -/- We focus on 3 basic elements of love: -/- 1) Whom you love 2) How much you love them (...) 3) How much of a role love plays in your life -/- And in each case, we argue that love can be irrational and valuable. (shrink)
This introduction briefly lays out the basics of Kant’s concept, transcendental freedom, and some of its discontents. It also provides an overview of the dossier itself, introducing Katerina Deligiorgi’s discussion of ought-implies-can, Patrick Frierson’s account of degrees of responsibility, and Jeanine Grenberg’s treatment of the third-person.
Political advertising is changing. This chapter considers some of the implications of this for the democratic process. I begin with recent reports of online political advertising. From this, two related concerns emerge. The first is that online political advertisements sometimes occur in the dark, and the second is that they can involve sending different messages to different groups. I consider these issues in turn. This involves an extended discussion of the importance of publicity and discussion in democracy, and a comparison (...) between dog whistles and dark advertisements. Through this, I look to outline some of the ways in which online political advertisements can undermine the democratic process. (shrink)
This paper explores the political campaigning strategies of Lynton Crosby, and argues that they pose a threat to democracy. In doing so, I looks to shed light on Crosby’s tactics, but also to elucidate exactly what is anti-democratic about them. I argue that there are two worrying aspects to this. The first involves Crosby’s lack of respect for voters’ beliefs, interests and values, whereas the second concerns his propensity for avoiding debate.
Freedom after Kant situates Kant's concept of freedom in relation to leading philosophers of the period to trace a detailed history of philosophical thinking on freedom from the 18th to the 20th century. Beginning with German Idealism, the volume presents Kant's writings on freedom and their reception by contemporaries, successors, followers and critics. From exchanges of philosophical ideas on freedom between Kant and his contemporaries, Reinhold and Fichte, through to Kant's ideas on rational self-determination in Hegel and Schelling, we see (...) Kant's original arguments transformed through concepts of autonomy, freedom and absolutes. The political aspect of Kant's freedom finds further articulation in chapters on Marx and Mill who developed their own notions of political freedom after Kant. Revealing how Kant's concept of freedom shaped the history of philosophy in the broadest sense, contributors chart the development of an ethics of freedom in the 20th century which brings Kant into conversation with Heidegger, Beauvoir, Sartre, Levinas and Murdoch. This line of thinking on freedom signals a new departure for Kantian studies which brings his ideas into the present day and traverses major schools of thought including Idealism, Marxism, existentialism and moral philosophy. (shrink)
Kant worries that if we are not free, morality will be nothing more than a phantasm for us. In the final section of the Groundwork, he attempts secure our freedom, and with it, morality. Here is a simplified version of his argument: -/- 1. A rational will is a free will 2. A free will stands under the moral law 3. Therefore, a rational will stands under the moral law -/- In this paper, I attempt to defuse two prominent objections (...) to this argument. Commentators often worry that Kant has not managed to establish that we are rational beings with wills in the first place, and that he equivocates in his use of ‘free’ between premise 1 and 2. I argue that both of these objections can be overcome, and thus seek to offer some hope for Kant’s approach in Groundwork III. (shrink)
Stephen Engstrom has recently offered an excellent account of morality as practical cognition. He emphasizes the formal conditions of practical knowledge, which he finds in Kant. Engstrom also aligns his account with constructivism, claiming that value is constructed through these formal conditions, chiefly universalisability. In this paper, I employ a variant of Hegel’s empty-formalism objection to challenge the moral significance of the mere form of practical knowledge. I hope to show that Engstrom’s constructivism is neither philosophically compelling, nor required by (...) the rest of his position. In its place, I propose a realist understanding of the value of practical knowledge. (shrink)
Research into robotic social learning, especially that concerned with imitation, often focuses at differing ends of a spectrum from observational learning at one end to following or matched-dependent behaviour at the other. We study the implications and differences that arise when carrying out experiments both at the extremes and within this spectrum. Physical Khepera robots with minimal sensory capabilities are used, and after training, experiments are carried out where an imitating robot perceives the dynamic movement behaviours of another model robot (...) carrying a light source. It learns the movement behaviour of the model by either statically observing the model, dynamically observing the model or by following the model. It ﬁnally re-enacts the learnt behaviour. We compare the results of these re-enactments and illustrate the differences and trade-offs that arise between static observational and reactive following learning methods. We also consider circumstances where, for this robotic embodiment, dynamic observation has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to static observation. We conclude by discussing the implications that arise from using and combining these types of social learning. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks alongside Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as one of the most profound and influential works in moral philosophy ever written.