With an Introduction by renowned Kant scholar Allen W. Wood, this is the only available one-volume edition of the essential works of the Enlightenment's greatest philosopher and one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. Containing carefully selected excerpts from his most frequently taught essays and book-length publications, including Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Judgment, and Eternal Peace , the Basic Writings of Kant is an indispensable collection. This revised edition was edited by Carl J. Friedrich.
Many contemporaries criticized him for smashing the Age of Reason. Goethe, however, remarked that reading a page of Immanuel Kant was like entering a bright and well-lighted room: The great eighteenth-century philosopher illuminated everything he ever pondered. The twelve essays in this volume reveal Kant's towering importance as an ethical and social thinker as well as his enduring influence on the shape of philosophy. Included are excerpts from Dreams of a Visionary, Prolegomena to Every Future Metaphysics, Metaphysical Foundations (...) of Morals, Critique of Judgement , and Eternal Peace . As Professor Friedrich writes in his introduction to this volume: "The problem of freedom, the freedom of the human personality to unfold and fulfill its higher destiny, is the central issue of all of Kant's philosophizing.". (shrink)
This seminal text in the history of moral philosophy elaborates the basic themes of Kant ’s moral theory, gives the most complete statement of his highly original theory of freedom of the will, and develops his practical metaphysics. This new edition, prepared by an acclaimed translator and scholar of Kant ’s practical philosophy, presents the first new translation of the work to appear for many years, together with a substantial and lucid introduction.
In an attempt to extract a coherent and still relevant structure of thought from its obsolete encumbrances, some of the recent interpretations of Kant have been needlessly hampered by neglect of the important concept of ‘possible experience’. Failure to make the full use of this concept that Kant himself made has inevitably been damaging to the Kantian doctrine of phenomenal objectivity; and any version of Kant that is so damaged falls drastically short of the original. I (...) should like, therefore, after making the problem a little clearer, to examine the concept of possible experience as Kant presents it; to attempt a clarification of difficulties in his presentation that may have contributed to the tendency to neglect the concept; and finally to indicate briefly the unfortunate consequences of this neglect in some recent instances. (shrink)
BRENTANO'S APPROPRIATION OF THE Scholastic notion of intentionality, and of what Brentano called "the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object," was early on exploited in a reading of Kant's theory of objects and appearances. Apparently the first systematic attempt was undertaken by Hans Vaihinger. However, Vaihinger's is radically different from more recent intentionalist readings of Kant. Albeit not in every respect, I propose that a return to this aspect of Vaihinger's approach supports a rewarding advance on (...) such readings. After a general introduction, I survey three instances of the latter—Prauss, Pereboom, and Sellars—in section 2 (and comment on some others in notes throughout). In sections 3 and 4, I then turn to Vaihinger's approach. (shrink)
In response to the claim that the properties typically used to distinguish System 1 from System 2 crosscut one another, Carruthers, Evans, and Stanovich have abandoned the System 1/System 2 distinction. Evans and Stanovich both opt for a dual-process theory, according to which Type-1 processes are autonomous and Type-2 processes use working memory and involve cognitive decoupling. Carruthers maintains a two-system account, according to which there is an intuitive system and a reflective system. I argue that these defenses of (...) dual-process theory face two problems. First, as pointed out by Sloman, these new dual-process theories cast the net of “reasoning” too wide. Second, and more importantly, this singular distinction cannot accomplish the explanatory work needed to support dual-process theory. These theorists must fall back on using various properties from the Standard Menu in explanations, thereby committing these accounts to a “Standard View” that they had hoped to avoid. Thus, these theorists face a.. (shrink)
This is a survey article in which I explore some important recent work on the topic in question, Kant’s formula of the end in itself (or “formula of humanity”). I first provide an overview of the formulation, including what the formula seems roughly to be saying, and what Kant’s main argument for it seems to be. I then call the reader’s attention to a variety of questions one might have about the import of and argument for this (...) formula, alluding to some of the works in which philosophers have recently raised or tried to answer these questions. Then, for the bulk of the paper, I focus my discussion on two issues of contention: the identity of the “end in itself” that the formula refers to, and the relation between the value of the end in itself and the value of other ends. I do not attempt to argue for a particular position of my own regarding these issues. Instead, I explain a number of the more interesting or influential recent attempts to answer these questions, compare these approaches in various ways, draw implications from them, and raise concerns about some of them. I also suggest that an important link connects the question about the identity of the end in itself and the question about the relation between the value of the end in itself in relation to the value of other ends: How one answers these questions commits one to a position on the thorny issue of whether, how, and how fully, autonomy is manifested through empirical (not simply pure) practical reason. (shrink)
Metaphysical readings of Kant’s theoretical philosophy in the Critical period are ascendant. But their possibility assumes the possibility of existence- and real-possibility-judgments about things in themselves. I argue that Kant denies the latter possibility, so metaphysical readings have dubious prospects. First, I show that Kant takes existence- and real-possibility-judgments, as necessarily synthetic, to require a relation to sensible intuition. Second, I show that the most promising metaphysical readings can ultimately neither satisfy nor explain away that requirement for (...) existence- and real-possibility-judgments about things in themselves. I conclude with pessimistic reflections on the prospects for the metaphysical interpretive project. (shrink)
An orthodox review of work on kant from 1955 to 1965 concentrating on (1) the continental school, Holding kant's interest to be in founding a practical-Dogmatic metaphysics, With its main work being done on the early period, Things in themselves, And the categories; (2) questions about the fischer-Trendelenburg controversy on the relation of "transcendentally ideal" to "transcendentally real"; (3) english work throwing light on the aesthetic and on the analytic, With the still obsessive concern for the second analogy; (...) (4) the continuing debate on whether the categorical imperative is a moral criterion, And its relation to the golden rule; and (5) the important work on the concepts of freedom and the highest good. (shrink)
: David Sosa, Michael Nelson, and Jason Stanley have recently offered a series of interesting and provocative challenges to Kripke's modal arguments against Descriptivism. In this paper I explore these challenges and some of the issues to which they give rise. I argue that, in the end, all three challenges fail.
The past five years have brought important and rapid developments for the scientific bioethics community in Germany. Bioethics was institutionalized as an obligatory part of the undergraduate and graduate schedule in medical schools. Clinical ethics committees are spreading all over the country, and research on ethical issues of biomedicine is sponsored on a large scale, for example, by the German Ministry of Education and Research. Two main institutions, dealing with bioethics and biopolicies, were established and have worked on central bioethical (...) issues, mostly ending up with diametrically opposed recommendations: the Enquetekommission Recht und Ethik der Modernen Medizin, composed of parliamentarians of all political parties and appointed external experts, and the National Ethics Council, composed of experts, politicians, several stakeholders, and representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant appears to make both retributivist and consequentialist statements about criminal punishment in the Metaphysical Foundations of the Doctrine of Right. In recent decades, some scholars have argued that Kant’s theory of criminal punishment is a hybrid of consequentialism and retributivism. B. Sharon Byrd’s interpretation is the most influential version of this view. I argue that the textual evidence in favor of the consequentialist side of the hybrid interpretation is weak and the evidence in favor of (...) the retributivist side is non-existent. There are also passages that contradict the interpretation. I conclude that the hybrid interpretation should be abandoned. (shrink)
Recent perspectival interpretations of Kant suggest a way of relating his epistemology to empirical science that makes it plausible to regard Einstein’stheory of relativity as having a Kantian grounding. This first of two articles exploring this topic focuses on how the foregoing hypothesis accounts for variousresonances between Kant’s philosophy and Einstein’s science. The great attention young Einstein paid to Kant in his early intellectual development demonstrates the plausibility of this hypothesis, while certain features of Einstein’s cultural-political (...) context account for his reluctance to acknowledge Kant’s influence, even though contemporary philosophers who regarded themselves as Kantians urged him to do so. The sequel argues that this Kantian grounding probably had a formative influence not only on Einstein’s discovery of the theory of relativity and his view of the nature of science, but also on his quasi-mystical, religious disposition. (shrink)
Kant’s Antinomy of Teleological Judgment is unique in offering two pairs of oppositions, one of regulative maxims, and the other of constitutive principles. Here I defend a traditional interpretation of the antinomy— as proposed, for example, by Stadler (1874), Adickes (1925), and Cassirer (1921)—that the antinomy consists in an opposition between constitutive principles, and is resolved by pointing out their legitimate status as merely regulative maxims. I argue against recent interpretations—for example, in McLaughlin (1990), Allison (1991), and Watkins (...) (2009)—which treat the regulative pair as itself antinomial. I then address several textual worries having to do with reconciling the traditional interpretation within the overall structure of the Dialectic of Teleological Judgment that have led these scholars to espouse the new view. Throughout the paper, I emphasize hitherto neglected parallels with Kant’s treatment of the antinomy of taste, which sheds light on understanding the antinomy of teleology. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the traditional interpretations of Kant’s Formula of a Law of Nature from recent attacks leveled by Faviola Rivera-Castro, James Furner, Ido Geiger, Pauline Kleingeld and Sven Nyholm. After a short introduction, the paper is divided into four main sections. In the first, I set out the basics of the three traditional interpretations, the Logical Contradiction Interpretation, the Practical Contradiction Interpretation and the Teleological Contradiction Interpretation. In the second, I examine the work of Geiger, (...) Kleingeld and Nyholm: these three commentators reject the traditional interpretations entirely, but I argue that this rejection is ill-founded. In the third and fourth, I take a detailed look at Furner’s work, work in which he seeks to revise (rather than reject) the traditional interpretations. I argue that, despite his more modest aims, Furner’s revision is also ill-founded. (shrink)
The increasingly common use of inclusive language (e.g., "he or she") in representing past philosophers' views is often inappropriate. Using Immanuel Kant's work as an example, I compare his use of terms such as "human race" and "human being" with his views on women to show that his use of generic terms does not prove that he includes women. I then discuss three different approaches to this issue, found in recentKant-literature, and show why each of them (...) is insufficient. I conclude that the tension between gender-neutral and gender-specific views in Kant's work should be made explicit, and I offer several strategies for doing so. (shrink)
For Kant, ‘reflection’ is a technical term with a range of senses. I focus here on the senses of reflection that come to light in Kant's account of logic, and then bring the results to bear on the distinction between ‘logical’ and ‘transcendental’ reflection that surfaces in the Amphiboly chapter of the Critique of Pure Reason. Although recent commentary has followed similar cues, I suggest that it labours under a blind spot, as it neglects Kant's distinction (...) between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ general logic. The foundational text of existing interpretations is a passage in Logik Jäsche that appears to attribute to Kant the view that reflection is a mental operation involved in the generation of concepts from non-conceptual materials. I argue against the received view by attending to Kant's division between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ general logic, identifying senses of reflection proper to each, and showing that none accords well with the received view. Finally, to take account of Kant's notio.. (shrink)
In contrast to the previously widespread view that Kant's work was largely in dialogue with the physical sciences, recent scholarship has highlighted Kant's interest in and contributions to the life sciences. Scholars are now investigating the extent to which Kant appealed to and incorporated insights from the life sciences and considering the ways he may have contributed to a new conception of living beings. The scholarship remains, however, divided in its interest: historians of science are concerned (...) with the content of Kant's claims, and the ways in which they may or may not have contributed to the emerging science of life, while historians of philosophy focus on the systematic justifications for Kant's claims, e.g., the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of Kant's statement that living beings are mechanically inexplicable. My aim in this paper is to bring together these two strands of scholarship into dialogue by showing how Kant's methodological concerns (specifically, his notion of reflective judgment) contributed to the ontological concern with life as a distinctive object of study. I argue that although Kant's explicit statement was that biology could not be a science, his implicit and more fundamental claim was that the study of living beings necessitates a distinctive mode of thought, a mode that is essentially analogical. I consider the implications of this view, and argue that it is by developing a new methodology for grasping organized beings that Kant makes his most important contribution to the new science of life. (shrink)
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this chapter that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers (...) but also a representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest. (shrink)
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this paper that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers (...) but also a representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest. I conclude the paper by defending Kant's theory of democratization against charges of consequentialism and paternalism and by pointing out its similarity to other accounts of democratic transitions (for example, those of Samuel Huntington and Guillermo O'Donnell), suggesting a previously unnoticed opportunity for cross-fertilization between political philosophy and comparative politics. (shrink)
Kant's ethics is traditionally categorized and defended as deontological. Recent scholarship has left this tradition, arguing variously that Kantians should leave deontology behind, or that Kant had a teleological ethics, or that the best Kantian position is a consequentialist one. In this dissertation, I articulate and defend a middle path between these interpretations and defenses. I argue that Kant's ethics is, and Kantian ethics ought to be, a value-based deontology. In Part One, I argue that (...) contrary to conventional discussion, deontology can be value-based. In Part Two, I interpret Kant's ethics as a value-based deontology, and I defend it as such, both against the traditional and more contemporary alternates. Finally, in Part Three, I defend Kantian value-based deontology from various attacks that might be posed against it. (shrink)
This essay offers a strategic reinterpretation of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics in Critique of Pure Reason via a broad, empirically based reconception of Kant’s conception of drawing. It begins with a general overview of Kant’s philosophy of mathematics, observing how he differentiates mathematics in the Critique from both the dynamical and the philosophical. Second, it examines how a recent wave of critical analyses of Kant’s constructivism takes up these issues, largely inspired by Hintikka’s unorthodox conception (...) of Kantian intuition. Third, it offers further analyses of three Kantian concepts vitally linked to that of drawing. It concludes with an etymologically based exploration of the seven clusters of meanings of the word drawing to gesture toward new possibilities for interpreting a Kantian philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
In the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (MFNS) Kant develops a conception of matter that is meant to issue in an alternative to what he takes to be the then reigning empiricist account of density. However, in recent years commentator after commentator has argued that Kant’s attempt on this front is faced with insuperable difficulties. Adickes argues that the MFNS theory of density involves Kant in a vicious circle; Tuschling argues that the circle is part of (...) what led Kant to abandon the theory of matter developed in the MFNS; Förster argues that recognition of this circularity played a significant role in Kant’s development of the project now known as the Opus Postumum; and Westphal argues that the circularity problem serves to demonstrate the “untenability of Kant’s metaphysical method” and therefore helps to explain “the radical revision of the relation between mathematics and metaphysics Kant undertakes in his opus postumum.” Indeed, even Kant seems to think that his theory of density is circular: as noted by all of these commentators, in correspondence with one of his former students Kant declares that this theory “seems to lead however to a circle out of which I am not able to come.” Against this growing tide (and even, it seems, against Kant himself) I defend Kant’s theory of density. I argue that the suspicion of a circle results from a confusion of logical relations with causal conditions, and I argue that even Kant seems to have been taken in by this confusion. (shrink)
Kant’s theory of biology in the Critique of the Power of Judgment may be rejected as obsolete and attacked from two opposite perspectives. In light of recent advances in biology one can claim contra Kant, on the one hand, that biological phenomena, which Kant held could only be explicated with the help of teleological principles, can in fact be explained in an entirely mechanical manner, or on the other, that despite the irreducibility of biology to physico-mechanical (...) explanations, it is nonetheless proper science. I argue in response that Kant’s analysis of organisms is by no means obsolete. It reveals biology’s uniqueness in much the same way as several current theorists do. It brings to the fore the unique purposive characteristics of living phenomena, which are encapsulated in Kant’s concept of “natural end” and which must be explicated in natural terms in order for biology to become a science. I maintain that Kant’s reluctance to consider biology proper science is not a consequence of his critical philosophy but rather of his inability to complete this task. Kant lacked an appropriate theoretical framework, such as provided later by modern biology, which would enable the integration of the unique features of biology in an empirical system. Nevertheless, as I show in this paper, the conceptual problems with which Kant struggled attest more to the relevance and depth of his insights than to the shortcomings of his view. His contribution to the biological thought consists in insisting on an empirical approach to biology and in providing the essential philosophical underpinning of the autonomous status of biology. (shrink)
I reply to recent criticisms by Uygar Abaci and Peter Yong, among others, of my reading of Kant's pre-Critical of God's existence, and of its fate in the Critical period. Along the way I discuss some implications of this debate for our understanding of Kant's modal metaphysics and modal epistemology generally.
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781) remains a landmark work of philosophy and one that most students will encounter at some point in their studies. At nearly seven hundred pages of detailed and complex argument it is a demanding and intimidating read. James O’Shea’s introduction to the Critique seeks to make it less so. Aimed primarily at students coming to the book for the first time, it provides step-by-step analysis in clear, unambiguous prose. The conceptual problems Kant (...) sought to resolve are outlined and his conclusions concerning the nature of human knowledge and the possibility of metaphysics, and the arguments for those conclusions, are explored. Key concepts are explained throughout and the reader is provided with an unrivalled route map through the many and varied parts of the text. In addition, O’Shea’s careful and insightful analysis offers much for more seasoned readers of Kant and his interpretation provides a significant contribution to recent work. -/- “Exhibiting both care and liveliness, the text provides what it set out to offer, namely a readable and philosophically stimulating discussion of a difficult but seminal work. The discussion is genuinely approachable and clear without diminishing the difficulty of the problems it addresses. It provides students with a very helpful basis for understanding Kant’s book.” Graham Bird, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester. (shrink)
To approach philosophy as a way of working on the self means to begin not with the experience it clarifies and the subject it discovers, but with the acts of self‐transformation it requires and the subjectivity it seeks to fashion. Commenting on the variety of spiritual exercises to be found in the ancient schools, Pierre Hadot remarks that: Some, like Plutarch’s ethismoi, designed to curb curiosity, anger or gossip, were only practices intended to ensure good moral habits. Others, particularly the (...) meditations of the Platonic tradition, demanded a high degree of mental concentration. Some, like the contemplation of nature as practiced in all philosophical schools, turned the soul toward the cosmos, while still others—rare and exceptional—led to a transfiguration of the personality, as in the experiences of Plotinus. We also saw that the emotional tone and notional content of these exercises varied widely from one philosophical school to another: from the mobilization of energy and consent to destiny of the Stoics, to the relaxation and detachment of the Epicureans, to the mental concentration and renunciation of the sensible world among the Platonists.1 While successfully applied to ancient philosophy,2 this approach has not been widely exploited in the history of philosophy more broadly. There is, however, at least one study of medieval metaphysics in these terms,3 and there are some important discussions of early modern Stoicism and Epicureanism.4 And a recent study of Hume shows the fruitfulness of the approach for Enlightenment philosophy.5 It is all the more surprising then that there seems to have been no serious attempt to approach Kant’s moral philosophy in this way. (shrink)
This article notes six advances in recent analytic Kant research: (1) Strawson's interpretation, which, together with work by Bennett, Sellars, and others, brought renewed attention to Kant through its account of space, time, objects, and the Transcendental Deduction and its sharp criticisms of Kant on causality and idealism; (2) the subsequent investigations of Kantian topics ranging from cognitive science and philosophy of science to mathematics; (3) the detailed work, by a number of scholars, on the Transcendental (...) Deduction; (4) the clearer understanding of transcendental idealism sparked by reactions to Allison's epistemic account; (5) the resulting need—prompted also by new studies of the thing in itself—to face up to the old question of the philosophical defensibility of such idealism; and (6) the active engagement with Kant's ethics and political philosophy that derives from Rawls's and others' work. (shrink)