In his Beweisgrund (1762), Kant presents a sketch of "the only possible basis" for a proof of God's existence. In this essay, I attempt to present that proof as a valid and sound argument for the existence of God.
The question of Kant's relation to Spinozist thought has been virtually ignored over the years. I analyze Kant's pre-critical 'possibility-proof' of God's existence, elaborated in the Beweisgrund, as well as the echoes that this proof has in the first Critique, in beginning to uncover the connection between Kant's thought and Spinoza's. Kant's espousal of the Principle of Sufficient Reason [PSR] for the analysis of modality during the pre-critical period committed him, I argue, to Spinozist substance (...) monism. Much textual evidence suggests that he was aware of this commitment. However, by transforming the PSR into a regulative principle the critical Kant has transformed his pre-critical proof into a regulative ideal. He is thereby (consciously) committed, I argue, to regulative Spinozism. (shrink)
: The question of Kant’s relation to Spinozist thought has been virtually ignored over the years. I analyze Kant’s pre-critical ‘possibility-proof’ of God’s existence, elaborated in the Beweisgrund, as well as the echoes that this proof has in the first Critique, in beginning to uncover the connection between Kant’s thought and Spinoza’s. Kant’s espousal of the Principle of Sufficient Reason [PSR] for the analysis of modality during the pre-critical period committed him, I argue, to Spinozist substance monism. Much textual (...) evidence suggests that he was aware of this commitment. However, by transforming the PSR into a regulative principle the critical Kant has transformed his pre-critical proof into a regulative ideal. He is thereby committed, I argue, to regulative Spinozism. (shrink)
This article presents an overview of the current debate on Kant's doctrine of idealism, focussing on the metaphysical interpretations of Ameriks, Allais, Friebe, Langton, Van Cleve and Westphal, and also on Guyer's recent reassessment of Allison's latest views.
Some contemporary intepreters of Kant maintain that on Kant's view fulfilling duties of virtue require doing so from the motive of duty. I argue that there are interpretive and doctinal reasons for rejecting this interpretation. However, I argue that for Kant motives can be deontically relevant; one's motives can affect the deontic status of actions.
This paper attempts to shed light on Kant’s notion of autonomy in his moral philosophy by considering Kant’s critique of the rationalist theories of morality that Kant discussed in his lectures on practical philosophy from the 1760s to the time of the Groundwork. The paper first explains Kant’s taxonomy of moral theories. Second, it considers Kant's arguments against the two main variants of ‘rationalism’ as he construes it, that is, perfectionism and theological voluntarism, pointing out the similarities to previous (...) criticisms. Third, the paper argues that Kant’s discussion of the 'rationalist' views does not amount to an unqualified dismissal, but to an attempt at working out a novel rationalist position. Kant’s criticisms of rationalist views suggest that his project emerges from the failures of previous rationalism, with the aim to work out a rationalist view that can account for moral obligation by integrating insights from the theological conception. The combination of perfectionism and theological views yields the basic outline of the idea of autonomy, consisting in the lawgiving function of a rational will as a key to the legislation of a necessary law. (shrink)
Some commentators have condemned Kant’s moral project from a feminist perspective based on Kant’s apparently dim view of women as being innately morally deﬁcient. Here I will argue that although his remarks concerning women are unsettling at ﬁrst glance, a more detailed and closer examination shows that Kant’s view of women is actually far more complex and less unsettling than that attributed to him by various feminist critics. My argument, then, undercuts the justiﬁcation for the severe feminist critique of Kant’s (...) moral project. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A general interpretation and close textual analysis of Kant’s theory of the categories of freedom (or categories of practical reason) in his Critique of Practical Reason. My main concerns in the paper are the following: (1) I show that Kant’s categories of freedom have primarily three functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. (2) I show that for Kant actions, although qua theoretical (...) objects they are always already constituted by means of the theoretical categories, qua practical objects (objects of reason in its practical use, i.e. objects qua possibly good or bad) they are constituted by means of the categories of freedom; and that it is only in this way that actions, qua phenomena, can be a consequence of freedom, and can be understood and evaluated as such. (3) Since Kant's presentation of his theory of the Categories of Freedom is extremely brief, Kant's parallel theory of the theoretical categories in his Critique of Pure Reason is used as a guide for the interpretation of the practical categories and their systematic relevance. (Translation by Alex Worsnip, reviewed and approved by the author.). (shrink)
This paper explores Kant's concept of the highest good and the postulate of the existence of God arising from it. Kant has two concepts of the highest good standing in tension with one another, an immanent and a transcendent one. I provide a systematic exposition of the constituents of both variants and show how Kant’s arguments are prone to confusion through a conflation of both concepts. I argue that once these confusions are sorted out Kant’s claim regarding the need (...) to postulate God’s existence from a moral point of view makes much more sense. (shrink)
NOTE: The English translation is listed separately. ABSTRACT: A general interpretation and close textual analysis of Kant’s theory of the categories of freedom (or categories of practical reason) in his Critique of Practical Reason. My main concerns in the paper are the following: (1) I show that Kant’s categories of freedom have primarily three functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. (2) I show (...) that for Kant actions, although qua theoretical objects they are always already constituted by means of the theoretical categories, qua practical objects (objects of reason in its practical use, i.e. objects qua possibly good or bad) they are constituted by means of the categories of freedom; and that it is only in this way that actions, qua phenomena, can be a consequence of freedom, and can be understood and evaluated as such. (3) Since Kant's presentation of his theory of the Categories of Freedom is extremely brief, Kant's parallel theory of the theoretical categories in his Critique of Pure Reason is used as a guide for the interpretation of the practical categories and their systematic relevance. (shrink)
According to Kant’s Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, a proper science is organized according to rational principles and has a pure a priori rational part, its metaphysical foundation. In the second edition Preface to the first Critique, Kant claims that his account of time explains the a priori possibility of Newton’s laws of motion. I argue that Kant’s proof of the law of inertia fails, and that this casts doubt on Kant’s enterprise of providing a priori foundations for Newton’s physics.
Designed as a textbook for use in courses on natural theology and used by Immanuel Kant as the basis for his Lectures on The Philosophical Doctrine of Religion, Johan August Eberhard's Preparation for Natural Theology (1781) is now available in English for the first time. -/- With a strong focus on the various intellectual debates and historically significant texts in late renaissance and early modern theology, Preparation for Natural Theology influenced the way Kant thought about practical cognition as well as (...) moral and religious concepts. Access to Eberhard's complete text makes it possible to distinguish where in the lectures Kant is making changes to what Eberhard has written and where he is articulating his own ideas. Identifying new unexplored lines of research, this translation provides a deeper understanding of Kant's explicitly religious doctrines and his central moral writings, such as the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of Practical Reason. -/- Accompanied by Kant's previously untranslated handwritten notes on Eberhard's text as well as the Danzig transcripts of Kant's course on rational theology, Preparation for Natural Theology features a dual English-German / German-English glossary, a concordance and an introduction situating the book in relation to 18th-century theology and philosophy. This is an essential contribution to twenty-first century Kantian studies. (shrink)
In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant declares that virtue “can and must be taught.” This claim raises two problems. First, it is in tension with Kant’s emphasis on the absolute moral responsibility that each individual agent owes to her transcendental freedom. Second, it raises the question of how the empirical events that constitute moral education can have an impact on atemporal moral choices. Concerning the second issue, I argue that Kant has a coherent framework for representing how empirical conditions can (...) influence (“affect”) the noumenal will without determining it to action. Regarding the first problem, I argue that although a good moral education is mostly only a facilitating rather than a strictly necessary condition for moral virtue, there is one moral capacity that does require good moral teaching: namely, the practical power of judgment that correctly applies wide, general duties of virtue to particular cases. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the "incompleteness thesis" of Kant's General Metaphysics before completing a full analysis of the power of judgment which only occurred in the Critique of Judgment-Power. Kant scholars have argued that Kant's General Metaphysics was completed with the Critique of Pure Reason and the Third Critique added nothing significant to this quest. One of the issues in this paper is to understand Kant's various "transition problems" and their solution to unify knowledge under (...) a metaphysics, all of which has implications for the natural and cognitive sciences even today. (shrink)
I argue that once one holds (as Kant does) that the mind is equipped with innate, pre-existing, i.e. a priori structures, one can ask (as materialists or empiricists would), Is there an identifiable source of such structures and what does it imply? Already Schopenhauer, Moses Mendelssohn and others have taken that route of argument, without fully drawing the implications. In this paper I attempt to do so, posing the query: Is Kant's very explicit separation of the transcendent from the (...) transcendental necessary in his critical system? I try to answer from various perspectives. (shrink)
Received 05 November 2015. Accepted 30 January 2016.doispontos:, Curitiba, São Carlos, volume 13, número 2, p. 39-70, outubro de 201639Self-governance and reform in Kant’s liberal republicanism – ideal and non-ideal theory in Kant’s Doctrine of RightHelga Vardenhelga.firstname.lastname@example.orgUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, EUAAbstract: At the heart of Kant’s legal-political philosophy lies a liberal, republican ideal of justice understood in terms of private independence (non-domination) and subjection to public laws securing freedom for all citizens as equals. Given this basic commitment of Kant’s, it (...) is puzzling to many that he does not consider democracy a minimal condition on a legitimate state. In addition, many find Kant ideas of reform or improvement of the historical states we have inherited vague and confusing. The aim of this paper is to untangle both puzzles by exploring Kant’s idea of self-governance. I argue that Kant’s idea of self-governance gives us a very good starting point for thinking about how to leave room for a variety of political systems—different ideals—that have grown out of and responding to different contingent historical and cultural circumstances. It also helps us identify those areas where we want to take extra care to build in safeguards to secure stability and to take sufficiently seriously humankind’s truly nasty sides.Keywords: self-government; republicanism; ideal; history. (shrink)
In this article, I expound Hegel’s critique of Kant, which he first and most elaborately presented in his early essay "Faith and Knowledge" (1802), by focusing on the criticism that Hegel levelled against Kant’s (supposedly) arbitrary subjectivism about the categories. This relates to the restriction thesis of Kant’s transcendental idealism: categorially governed empirical knowledge only applies to appearances, not to things in themselves, and so does not reach objective reality, according to Hegel. Hegel claims that this restriction of knowledge to (...) appearances is unwarranted merely on the basis of Kant’s own principle of transcendental apperception, and just stems from Kant’s empiricist bias. He argues that Kant’s principle of apperception as the foundational principle of knowledge is in fact incompatible with his empiricism. Hegel rightly appraises the centrality of transcendental apperception for the constitution of objectivity. But he is wrong about its incompatibility with Kant’s empirical realism. By virtue of a misapprehension of the formal distinction between the accompanying ‘I think’, i.e. the analytical principle of apperception, and what Hegel calls “the true ‘I’” of the original-synthetic unity of apperception, Hegel unjustifiably prises apart the productive imagination, which is supposedly this “true ‘I’”, and the understanding, which is supposedly just a derivative, subjective form of the productive imagination; the latter, according to Hegel, is Reason or Being itself, and is the truly objective. This deflationary reading of the understanding, which hypostatises the imagination as the supreme principle, rests on a distortion of key elements of Kant’s theory of apperception. In this paper, I show that Hegel’s charge of inconsistency against Kant, namely, Hegel’s claim that the principle of apperception as the highest principle of cognition does not comport with Kant’s restriction thesis, is the direct consequence of a psychological misreading of Kant’s subjectivism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In, Kant defends a position that cannot be salvaged. The essay is nonetheless important because it helps us understand his philosophy of law and, more specifically, his interpretation of the social contract. Kant considers truthfulness a strict legal duty because it is the necessary condition for the juridical state. As attested by Kants arguments against the death penalty, not even the right to life has such strict unconditional status. Within the juridical state, established by the social contract, the innate right (...) to freedom is transformed into a bundle of merely positive rights, including the right to life. Understanding the reason for the rejection of thus helps us understand the, in a sense, character of Kant’s legal philosophy. In conclusion, some suggestions are made to bring his position closer to our common moral understanding. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to confirm that it was Hamann's translation of Hume's "Treatise" (I.4.7) which triggered Kant's critical turn in 1768/69. If this is indeed so, then Kant's inaugural dissertation must be reassessed, in particular the doctrine, to be found there, that we have cognitive access to the intelligible world. This doctrine is part of a strategy for tackling the problem highlighted by Hume; that there may be conflicting principles at work in the human mind, (...) i.e., an antinomy. The dissertation's strategy failed and so raised the question of how categories can refer to objects. (shrink)
Kant claims in the third Critique that one can make about wine the merely subjective judgment that it is agreeable but never the universally valid judgment that it is beautiful. This follows from his views that judgments of beauty can be made only about the formal (spatiotemporal) features of a representation and that aromas and flavors consist of formless sensory matter. However, I argue that Kant's theory permits judgments of beauty about wine because the experience displays a temporal structure: (...) the aromas and flavors evolve over the course of a tasting from the bouquet through the palate to the finish. An analogy with music, which Kant describes as 'a play of sensations in time', illuminates how wine qualifies as an object of pure judgments of taste: the 'structure' of a wine can be compared to harmonic structure, and its development throughout the taste can be compared to the unfolding of melody and harmonic progression. (shrink)
In 1801 Hegel charged that, on Kant’s analysis, forces are ‘either purely ideal, in which case they are not forces, or else they are transcendent’. I argue that this objection, which Hegel did not spell out, reveals an important and fundamental line of internal criticism of Kant’s Critical philosophy. I show that Kant’s basic forces of attraction and repulsion, which constitute matter, are merely ideal because Kant’s arguments for them are circular and beg the question, and they have no determinate (...) connection to any of the basic forces of Newtonian physics. Hence they are mere Gedankendinge. I argue further, that real physical forces transcend Kant’s analysis by showing that his proof of Newton’s law of inertia is unsound. I then show that this apparently specific disagreement underlies the enormous philosophical shift from Kant’s anti-naturalist transcendental idealism to Hegel’s naturalistic use of regressive, quasi-transcendental arguments. (shrink)
Preface -/- Introduction -/- PART I -/- 1 Kant’s pursuit of the Supreme Principle of Morality -/- 2 The Categorical Imperative and the Kantian theory of value, part I -/- 3 The Categorical Imperative and the Kantian theory of value, part II -/- 4 Dignity -/- 5 Freedom, reason, and the possibility of the Categorical Imperative -/- PART II -/- 6 Objections to the Formula of Universal Law -/- 7 Three problems in Kant’s practical ethics -/- 8 Reason and sentiment: (...) Kantian ethics in a good human life -/- Conclusion -/- Index . (shrink)
It is argued that the popular story that portrays Kant’s philosophical development as a gradual emancipation from his Leibniz-Wolffian roots that culminated in a total rejection of the Leibnizian philosophy by 1781 is not accurate. Kant’s many objections against the Leibnizian philosophy in the critical period are not directed against Leibniz himself but against the Leibniz-Wolffians. Kant considers Leibniz’s philosophy to be very close to his own, calling the Critique of Pure Reason the “true apology” of Leibniz. It is claimed (...) that this assessment is correct; the correctness is demonstrated with respect to Kant’s and Leibniz’s theories of space. (shrink)
This paper explains a way of understanding Kant's proof of God's existence in the Critique of Practical Reason that has hitherto gone unnoticed and argues that this interpretation possesses several advantages over its rivals. By first looking at examples where Kant indicates the role that faith plays in moral life and then reconstructing the proof of the second Critique with this in view, I argue that, for Kant, we must adopt a certain conception of the highest good, and so (...) also must choose to believe in the kind of God that can make it possible, because this is essentially a way of actively striving for virtue. One advantage of this interpretation, I argue, is that it is able to make sense of the strong link Kant draws between morality and religion. (shrink)
In this masterful work, both an illumination of Kant's thought and an important contribution to contemporary legal and political theory, Arthur Ripstein gives a comprehensive yet accessible account of Kant's political philosophy. In addition to providing a clear and coherent statement of the most misunderstood of Kant's ideas, Ripstein also shows that Kant's views remain conceptually powerful and morally appealing today.
In his applied moral philosophy, Kant formulates the parents and hence also having created her need for happiness s considerations regarding parental duties and human reproduction in general imply arguments for an ethically justified anti-natalism, but that this position is abolished in his teleology for meta-ethical reasons.
Andrew Chignell recently proposed an original reconstruction of Kant's for the existence of God. Chignell claims that what motivates the of Kant's proof, , is the requirement that the predicates of a really possible thing must be , i.e. compatible in an extra-logical or metaphysical sense. I take issue with Chignell's reconstruction. First, the pre-Critical Kant does not present as a general condition of real possibility. Second, the real harmony requirement is not what motivates the of the proof. (...) Instead, this premise is sufficiently motivated by what Chignell labels the requirement. Finally, Kant's downgrading of the proof in his Critical period is not based on a concern regarding the real harmony of the predicates of God, but on his Critical restrictions on cognition in general and modal cognition in particular. (shrink)
Kant says that it can be rational to accept propositions on the basis of non-epistemic or broadly practical considerations, even if those propositions include “transcendental ideas” of supersensible objects. He also worries, however, about how such ideas (of freedom, the soul, noumenal grounds, God, the kingdom of ends, and things-in-themselves generally) acquire genuine positive content in the absence of an appropriate connection to intuitional experience. How can we be sure that the ideas are not empty “thought-entities (Gedankendinge)”—that is, speculative fancies (...) that do not and perhaps even cannot have referents in reality? In this paper I argue for an account of the fundamental problem here (i.e. that it is based in a concern about whether or not the objects of such ideas are "really possible" in Kant's technical sense). I then critically evaluate Kant's three proposed solutions to the problem. -/- . (shrink)
I shall focus on one topic in chiefly the metaphysics lectures that are contemporaneous with Kant’s Critical phase. I look at one particular, though crucial, element, namely transcendental apperception and the notion of ‘consciousness’ and explore to what extent, and in which context, they are featured in the lectures and what changes (or not) from the pre-Critical to the Critical phase of Kant’s lecturing activity. After introducing the theme of apperception and consciousness in Kant and addressing some terminological issues, I (...) look first at the Leibnizian and Wolffian background of Kant’s theory of apperception, the usage and occurrence of the term ‘consciousness’ in the lectures notes and in Kant’s pre-Critical published work. I also address aspects of the theory of obscure representations, in order to clarify Kant’s differentiation of apperception from mere consciousness. Subsequently, I examine how Kant’s conception of ‘consciousness’ develops from the pre-Critical Herder and Pölitz metaphysics lectures to the lectures of the Critical period, specifically the Metaphysik von Schön and Mrongovius, where the notion of ‘apperception’ first crops up and which show that Kant departs from the Leibnizian-Wolffian conflation of apperception and consciousness, although there appear to remain some carry-overs from the pre-Critical lectures. I then briefly consider a lingering ambiguity about the relation between inner sense and transcendental apperception in the Mrongovius notes and conclude that, in line with Leibniz’s gradual theory of perceptions, Kant espouses a gradual theory of consciousness. (shrink)
I argue, without offering what Ameriks has called a 'short argument', that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it doesn't follow that by merely thinking we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves. For support, I look to a (...) much overlooked chapter in the Critique, the Transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing-in-itself proper, namely something that is thoroughly determined. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant's view of determinative judgment, we cannot determine a thing-in-itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing-in-itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing's possible determinations. (shrink)
Asymmetry theories about free will and moral responsibility are a recent development in the long history of the free will debate. To my knowledge, Kant commentators have not yet explored the possibility of an asymmetrical reconstruction of Kant's theory of freedom, and that will be my goal here. By "free will", I mean the sort of control we would need to be morally responsible for our actions. Kant's term for it is "transcendental freedom", and he refers to the (...) attribution of moral responsibility as "imputation". By "Kant's theory of freedom", I mean not only his theory of transcendental freedom and imputation, but also the various ways in which he draws on these ideas in his moral theory. (shrink)
In this article, I consider critical arguments levelled against central elements of my view, expounded in my book Kant’s Deduction and Apperception (Schulting 2012b; KDA), that the categories are derived a priori from the principle of apperception, the ‘I think’. This view goes back to a much earlier, and more famous attempt by Klaus Reich, first proposed in 1932 (see Reich 2001), to argue that the functions of thought are ultimately and a priori derivable from the objective unity of apperception. (...) Reich looked to textual sources outside the Deduction for support, while I argued that TD itself provides supporting grounds for this view, or at least for the derivation of the categories from apperception. This has not been a popular view among Kantians, and gathering from the criticisms against my take on it, one may safely assume it is not going to be the standard view any time soon (see Dyck 2014 and Stephenson 2014; though Quarfood 2014 is much more positive). While responding to my critics, I go over some of the main planks of my interpretation of the so-called ‘first step’ of the B-Deduction, which was delineated in much greater detail in KDA. Among other things, against Corey Dyck I maintain that the analytic unity of consciousness is crucially important to the argument of §16 of the Deduction and I argue that the categories are more intimately related to the functions of judgement than some interpreters, including Dyck, make them out to be. Secondly, I argue that the progressive argument of TD should not be construed as a transcendental argument against the sceptic, as so many Anglophone readers of TD (still) do. To construe TD as aimed at the sceptic is to underestimate Kant’s epistemic confidence and to miss the real point of the Critical project, which should be seen more in the context of rationalism, namely: justifying the use of the pure concepts of the understanding by showing that they are only objectively valid in conjunction with empirical intuitions of objects. In this context, I criticise a standard reading of the reciprocity between the subject and object of experience and critically consider construals of a supposed gap in Kant’s argument. I argue why, in his critique of KDA, Andrew Stephenson is mistaken in thinking that showing that the categories apply to the objects of experience is not entailed by showing that the categories are instantiated in the experience of objects. Thirdly, I defend my claim that the derivation of the categories is a proper deduction, by answering the critique of a level confusion in my argument. This concerns a methodological point about the way TD proceeds, and why it involves self-consciousness. In the last part of the article, I respond to the incisive question, raised by Marcel Quarfood, whether it is at all possible to derive the category of contingency from within the first-person perspective. In formulating an answer, I point out that we can only have a negative concept of contingency, which at the same time shows the limits of the transcendental-subjective perspective. Ironically, on account of Kant’s radical subjectivism about the possibility of knowledge we are at the same time barred from accessing what is truly merely subjectively valid. This shows that Kant’s radical subjectivism is not a psychological subjectivism. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In this paper, I advance a moderately conceptualist interpretation of Kant’s account of the threefold synthesis in the A-Deduction. Often the first version of TD, the A-Deduction, is thought to be less conceptualist than the later B-version from 1787 (e.g. Heidegger 1991; 1995). Certainly, it seems that in the B-Deduction Kant puts more emphasis on the role of the understanding in determining the manifold of representations in intuition than he does in the A-Deduction. It also appears that in the A-Deduction (...) the seemingly pre-conceptual aspects of a priori synthesis, namely those of the synthesis of apprehension and the imagination, are more prominently featured than in the B-Deduction. And the fact that in the A-Deduction judgement does not appear to play any significant role reinforces the view that the A-Deduction is less strongly conceptualist. I believe that Kant is a conceptualist also in the A-Deduction (as much as in the B-Deduction) in the sense that all syntheses, which are expounded in the second section of the A-Deduction, must be seen as involving the categories or the understanding as the seat of the categories. However, despite some apparent strong modal claims regarding apperception in the A-Deduction, I argue that Kant is a moderate conceptualist in the sense that he allows for the real possibility that some representations are apprehended that are not subsumed or subsumable under the categories, or determined or determinable by the understanding as the seat of the categories. Not all representations must be synthesised and hence be conceptualised (by means of the categories), nor are all representations necessarily conceptualisable (by means of the categories). Often it is argued that the application of the categories must be seen as separate from or prior to conceptualisation (that is, employment of concepts in a judgement), so that the categories must be considered to apply to representations at least to the extent that the productive imagination or recognitive synthesis is involved, even if no empirical concepts are applied in an actual judgement. But it is difficult to see how categories can apply outside the context of an actual judgement in which ipso facto empirical concepts are employed, because, after all, categories are nothing but logical functions of judgement (e.g. B143). More in particular, I shall argue for the claims that (1) appearances to the contrary, all three levels of syntheses in the A-Deduction, including the synthesis of recognition, are interdependent and are not to be seen as operating singly or independently of each other, and hence of the categories; (2) ‘mere’ apprehension, or ‘mere’ intuition, is not dependent on the understanding and the application or possible application of the categories; and that (3) ‘mere’ apprehension does not even invoke a priori synthesis of apprehension and hence is as such fully lawless in terms of Kantian a priori laws. In this context, I also address Kant’s argument in the A-Deduction about the role of the imagination in the production of spatial objects and explain his apt use of the example of cinnabar to show that the kind of association that is at issue here concerns the possibility of knowledge, not the possibility of mere association, as is often assumed. // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed. (shrink)
In this chapter, I discuss some problems of Kant’s logic corpus while recognizing its richness and potential value. I propose and explain a methodic way to approach it. I then test the proposal by showing how we may use various mate- rials from the corpus to construct a Kantian demonstration of the formal rules of thinking (or judging) that lie at the base of Kant’s Metaphysical Deduction. The same proposal can be iterated with respect to other topics. The said demonstration (...) will have cleared the path for such iterations. (shrink)
Kant’s example of lying to the murderer at the door has been a cherished source of scorn for thinkers with little sympathy for Kant’s philosophy and a source of deep puzzlement for those more favorably inclined. The problem is that Kant seems to say that it’s always wrong to lie – even if necessary to prevent a murderer from reaching his victim – and that if one does lie, one becomes partially responsible for the killing of the victim. If this (...) is correct, then Kant’s account seems not only to require us to respect the murderer more than the victim, but also that we somehow can become responsible for the consequences that ultimately result from someone else’s wrongdoing. After World War II our spontaneous negative reaction to this apparently absurd line of argument is brought out even more starkly by making the murderer at the door a Nazi officer looking for Jews hidden in people’s homes. This paper argues that Kant’s discussion of lying to the murderer at the door has been seriously misinterpreted. The suggested root of the problem is that the Doctrine of Right has been given insufficient attention in Kant interpretation. It is in this work we find many of the arguments needed to understand Kant’s analysis of lying to the murderer in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy”. When we interpret this essay in light of Kant’s discussion in the Doctrine of Right, we can make sense of why lying to the murderer isn’t to wrong the murderer, why we nevertheless become responsible for the consequences of the lie and why choosing to lie to do wrong ‘in the highest degree’. Finally, the Doctrine of Right account of rightful relations makes it possible for us to analyze the example when we make the murderer at the door a Nazi officer. (shrink)
This paper concerns the role of the transcendental distinction between agents qua phenomena and qua noumena in Kant's theory of free will. It argues (1) that Kant's incompatibilism can be accommodated if one accepts the "ontological" interpretation of this distinction (i.e. the view that agents qua noumena are ontologically prior to agents qua phenomena), and (2) that Kant's incompatibilism cannot be accommodated by the "two-aspect" interpretation, whose defining feature is the rejection of the ontological priority of agents (...) qua noumena. The ontological interpretation allows Kant to be an incompatibilist because the ontological priority of agents qua noumena "ontologically undermines" the significance of phenomenal determinism for agents' free will. That is, since agents qua noumena are ontologically prior to agents qua phenomena, the fact that agents qua noumena are not subject to determinism is more fundamental than the fact that agents qua phenomena are subject to determinism, and it is the more fundamental fact that we should be concerned with in the metaphysical foundations of moral responsibility. Recent (independent) work by myself, Eric Watkins, and Robert Hanna is drawn on to demonstrate that the ontological interpretation can mount a better defense against some traditional objections than has often been thought. -/- According to the two-aspect interpretation, the transcendental distinction between agents qua noumena and qua phenomena is a semantic and epistemological distinction. Since it rejects the ontological priority of noumena, it has no way to assert that the non-determinism of agents qua noumena is more metaphysically fundamental than the determinism of agents qua phenomena. For the two-aspect interpretation, the truth of determinism must remain just as fundamental as the truth of any other characterization of agents. This means that, on the two-aspect interpretation, there is no better reason to call Kant an incompatibilist than there is to call him a compatibilist. Since Henry Allison has presented the most detailed two-aspect interpretation of the agential transcendental distinction, the arguments against the two-aspect distinction address his interpretation. Part of Allison's strategy is to argue that phenomenal determinism poses less of a problem for free will if we accept his accounts of the Second Analogy and empirical psychology. I point our problems in these accounts and argue that this strategy cannot be accepted. -/- . (shrink)
This chapter describes Immanuel Kant's conception of anthropology and the most basic distinctions he draws when invoking faculties throughout the anthropology transcripts. It explains Kant's account of the objective senses (hearing, sight, and touch), and shows that the sensory material provided by these senses are empirical conditions of experience that supplement the a priori conditions articulated in the Critique of Pure Reason. The chapter also describes some of the central details of Kant's account of the imagination, focusing (...) on his distinction between wit and the power of judgment and on the law of association he endorses. It outlines Kant's account of both the deficiencies of the mind and the perfection of cognition. By showing how the transcendental faculties are manifested at the level of actual, concrete experience, the anthropology transcripts can help to illuminate Kant's understanding of the operations and functions of the human mind. (shrink)
This is the 50-page introduction to my new monograph on the Transcendental Deduction, to be published this May, titled "Kant's Radical Subjectivism: Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction", collecting essays on various topics central to the argument of the Deduction. For an analytical table of contents, see here: http://media.wix.com/ugd/aa4405_a7dd7abd37284f899fd64e078c58ee66.pdf // The copy archived here is the published version, the watermark won't show when printed .
I argue that the Universal Law formulation of the Categorical Imperative is best interpreted as a test or decision procedure of moral rightness and not as a criterion intended to explain the deontic status of actions. Rather, the Humanity formulation is best interpreted as a moral criterion. I also argue that because the role of a moral criterion is to explain, and thus specify what makes an action right or wrong, Kant's Humanity formulation yields a theory of relevant descriptions.
By transcendental aesthetic, Kant means “the science of all principles of a priori sensibility” (A 21/B 35). These, he argues, are the laws that properly direct our judgments of taste (B 35 – 36 fn.), i.e. our aesthetic judgments as we ordinarily understand that notion in the context of contemporary art. Thus the first part of the Critique of Pure Reason, entitled the Transcendental Aesthetic, enumerates the necessary presuppositions of, among other things, our ability to make empirical judgments about particular (...) works of art. These presuppositions are sensible rather than intellectual because on Kant's view, all intellection that considers objects of any kind, whether abstract or concrete, must at base connect to actual, material objects with which we come into direct contact; and this we can do only through sensibility (A 19/B 33). Thus the following discussion explores what Kant claims must be true of us in order to make the sorts of aesthetic judgments we make, rather than any particular class or quality of aesthetic judgments itself. On Kant's view, what must be true of us in order to make aesthetic judgments is not different from what must be true of us in order to make any other kind of judgment about empirical objects. This last point is worth emphasizing, in order to correct an interpretation of Kant's account of aesthetic judgment in the Critique of Judgment that wrongly reads Kant as claiming that aesthetic judgments do not have to satisfy the same basic requirements of judgment that any other kind of judgment also must satisfy, such as the synthetic subsumption of such objects under certain necessary and hard-wired concepts of understanding, the internal coherence of such judgments with other, non-aesthetic ones of a more abstract and comprehensive character, the unified consciousness within which such judgments are intelligibly made, and the like. Of course Kant recognizes the special character of aesthetic judgments and unpacks it in the... (shrink)
In this article I critically engage some of the philosophical ideas Kleingeld presents in Kant and Cosmopolitanism, namely patriotism, poverty and global justice. Against Kleingeld, I propose, first, that perhaps democracy is less important and affectionate love more so to both Kant himself as well as to an account that can successfully refute a Bernard Williams style objection to Kantian patriotism; second, that guaranteeing unconditional poverty relief for all its citizens is constitutive of the minimally just state for Kant; and, (...) third, that there seem to be more disanalogies between the domestic and the global public authorities in Kant's account of right than Kleingeld's interpretation allows for. (shrink)
Cases of self-deception are familiar, and often troubling. Although recent philosophical work on self-deception focuses mainly on issues in philosophy of mind and epistemology, self-deception also poses important moral problems, including serious challenges to Kant’s ethics. In this paper, I will discuss a range of cases of self-deception: cases where people’s self-deception disguises their prejudice or their self-interest, cases where it discourages them from resisting injustice or other evils, and cases where it prompts them to act, on others’ behalf, in (...) ways that end up doing more harm than good. I will explain why such cases pose distinctive challenges for Kant’s theory, and I will argue that Kant’s theory can provide a plausible and instructive, but limited, response to these challenges. (shrink)
Two centuries after they were published, Kant's ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O'Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant's ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a "constructivist" vindication of reason and a (...) moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O'Neill begins by reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant's ethics and recent "Kantian" ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers. (shrink)
Within the theory of rational agency found in Kant's anthropology lectures and sketched in the moral philosophy, prudence is the manifestation of a distinctive, nonmoral rational capacity concerned with one's own happiness or well-being. Contrary to influential claims that prudential reasons are mere prima facie or "candidate" reasons, prudence can be seen to be a genuine manifestation of rational agency, involving a distinctive sort of normative authority, an authority distinguishable from and conceptually prior to that of moral norms, though (...) still overridable by them. The anthropology lectures make an important contribution to the understanding of Kant's account of the distinctive prudential task: despite Kant's familiar complaints about human finitude and the natural dialectic of our desires, Kant offers useful suggestions about how prudential reflection can generate genuine practical guidance. Even with several significant developments in Kant's anthropological theory over time, prudential norms can still be regarded as distinctive and conceptually independent of morality. (shrink)
Most published discussions in contemporary metaethics include some textual exegesis of the relevant contemporary authors, but little or none of the historical authors who provide the underpinnings of their general approach. The latter is usually relegated to the historical, or dismissed as expository. Sometimes this can be a useful division of labor. But it can also lead to grave confusion about the views under discussion, and even about whose views are, in fact, under discussion. Elijah Millgram’s article, “Does the Categorical (...) Imperative Give Rise to a Contradiction in the Will?” is a case in point. In it, he takes the New Kantians to task for various flaws in their interpretation of Kant’s moral theory, to be detailed shortly. He concludes with a question and a suggestion. In order to properly dissect the first, “universal law” formulation of the Categorical Imperative, he argues, we first need to understand “why an agent wills the universalization of his maxim” (549). He also suggests that in order to answer this question, we must recur to what Kant himself actually says (550). His question is a good one, and his advice on how to go about answering it is sound. But to take Millgram’s advice is to call this division of labor into question, at least for this case. For it demands close and sustained exegesis, not only of his argument against the New Kantians, but also – in order to assess whether and where they go wrong – of Kant’s text itself. (shrink)