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Summary There are three fundamental questions guiding Kant's ethics: (1) What is the supreme principle of morality? (2) What makes this principle binding? and (3) What duties arise from it? In answering the first question, Kant seeks to derive a principle of morality from the universal form we are capable of giving our maxims, whereby we exercise our power of self-legislation or what Kant calls ‘autonomy’. In answering the second question, Kant seeks to justify the principle of autonomy as a presupposition of rational agency and as a ‘fact’ illustrated in common moral thought, judgment, and feeling. In answering the third question, Kant offers a system of duties, both self-regarding and other-regarding. While commentators disagree over its ultimate success, Kant’s ethics presents us with one of the most systematic accounts of morality, autonomy, and agency in the history of moral thought, and it continues to have a lasting influence on contemporary ethics.
Key works The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant 2011) is Kant’s first book devoted to ethics, although he worked on similar issues much earlier. Other key works include the Critique of Practical Reason (Kant 1997) and the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant 1797/1996). Kant’s Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (Kant 1996), while guided by historical and theological questions, also contains insights relevant for his ethics.
Introductions For comprehensive studies, see Allison 1990Korsgaard 1996, Wood 1999Guyer 2000Reath 2006, and the collection of essays in Hill Jr 2009. For contemporary versions of Kantian ethics, see Herman 2007Korsgaard 2009, and Hill Jr 2012.
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  1. The Life of Form: Practical Reason in Kant and Hegel.Thomas Khurana - 2022 - In Ways of Being Bound: Perspectives from post-Kantian Philosophy and Relational Sociology. Cham: pp. 47-70.
    This chapter investigates the Kantian idea that a rational life is a life of “mere form”—a life in which a “mere form” is the force or spring of action. I start by developing Kant’s practical notion of life—the capacity to be the cause of what one represents. In a second step, I investigate the way in which Kant characterizes a rational life—the capacity to act in accordance with the representation of laws and to determine ourselves by the mere form of (...)
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  2. Kant’s Reason: The Unity of Reason and the Limits of Comprehension in Kant.Karl Schafer - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Kant's Reason develops a novel interpretation of Kant’s conception of reason and its philosophical significance, focusing on two claims. First, it argues that Kant presents a powerful model for understanding the unity of theoretical and practical reason as two manifestations of a unified capacity for theoretical and practical understanding (or “comprehension”). This model allows us to do justice to the deep commonalities between theoretical and practical rationality, without reducing either to the other. In particular, through it, we see why the (...)
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  3. Kant, Race, and Racism: Views from Somewhere.Huaping Lu-Adler - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    Kant scholars have paid relatively little attention to his raciology. They assume that his racism, as personal prejudice, can be disentangled from his core philosophy. They also assume that racism contradicts his moral theory. Lu-Adler challenges both assumptions. She shows how Kant’s raciology—divided into racialism and racism—is integral to his philosophical system as a whole. She also rejects the individualistic approach to Kant and racism. Instead, she uses the notion of racism as ideological formation to demonstrate how Kant, from his (...)
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  4. Conspiracy Theories and Rational Critique: A Kantian Procedural Approach.Janis David Schaab - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper develops a new kind of approach to conspiracy theories – a procedural approach. This approach promises to establish that belief in conspiracy theories is rationally criticisable in general. Unlike most philosophical approaches, a procedural approach does not purport to condemn conspiracy theorists directly on the basis of features of their theories. Instead, it focuses on the patterns of thought involved in forming and sustaining belief in such theories. Yet, unlike psychological approaches, a procedural approach provides a rational critique (...)
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  5. Kant's Doctrine of Virtue.Mark Timmons - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
    Immanuel Kant's final publication in ethics was The Doctrine of Virtue, Part II of the 1797 The Metaphysics of Morals. This text presents Kant's normative ethical theory. This guide is meant to be read alongside Kant's text, combining accessible explanations and novel interpretations of this difficult text. It is the first book in English devoted to The Doctrine of Virtue, one of Kant's most significant works. -/- Timmons divides the guide into five parts. Part I reviews Kant's life, the history (...)
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  6. Recovering Kant’s Account of Freedom.Jessica Tizzard - forthcoming - In James Conant & Jonas Held (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook for German Idealism and Analytic Philosophy.
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  7. Beauty Makes Humanity: The Application of Kant’s Aesthetic Power of Judgment in Value Choice.Zhengmi Zhouhuang - 2022 - Kant Studien 113 (4):689-724.
    In this paper, I use Kant’s theory of the aesthetic power of judgment to solve the problem of nonmoral value choice, which Kant himself did not deal with, and prove that my reconstruction can fit into Kant’s philosophy and function as a harmonization and unification of morality and happiness. First, I revisit Kant’s early view of intellectualized happiness to establish the feasibility of this project in Kant’s ethics. Second, by analogy with the contemplative judgment of taste and practical artistic creation, (...)
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  8. Kant and the Fate of Freedom: 1788-1800.Owen Ware - forthcoming - In Joe Saunders (ed.), Freedom After Kant. London, UK:
    Kant’s early readers were troubled by the appearance of a dilemma facing his theory of freedom. On the one hand, if we explain human actions according to laws or rules, then we risk reducing the activity of the will to necessity (the horn of determinism). But, on the other hand, if we explain human actions without laws or rules, then we face an equally undesirable outcome: that reducing the will’s activity to mere chance (the horn of indeterminism). After providing an (...)
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  9. Practical judgment as reflective judgment: On moral salience and Kantian particularist universalism.Sabina Vaccarino Bremner - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Moral particularists and generalists alike have struggled over how to incorporate the role of moral salience in ethical reasoning. In this paper, I point to neglected resources in Kant to account for the role of moral salience in maxim formation: Kant's theory of reflective judgment. Kant tasks reflective judgment with picking out salient empirical particulars for formation into maxims, associating it with purposiveness, or intentional activity (action on ends). The unexpected resources in Kantian reflective judgment suggest the possibility of a (...)
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  10. Kant, Immanuel.Sanjit Chakraborty & Sreetama Misra - 2022 - Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics. Springer, Cham.
    Immanuel Kant, with his “brilliantly dry style” (Schopenhauer), expounds the notable theory that “objects are approaching to the mind” via the spectacle metaphor by addressing transcendental idealism in support of the mind as an active knower (mind-making nature), not passive in a realistic sense, while objects of knowledge conform to the mind begotten in categories of understanding. On Kant’s view, James Conant writes, “Kant’s term for this unity, considered at this level of abstraction, is the original synthetic unity of the (...)
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  11. Taking metaphysics seriously: Kant on the foundations of ethics.E. Sonny Elizondo - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):793-807.
    Ask most philosophers for an example of a moral rationalist, and they will probably answer “Kant.” And no wonder. Kant’s first great work of moral philosophy, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, opens with a clarion call for rationalism, proclaiming the need to work out for once a pure moral philosophy, a metaphysics of morals. That this metaphysics includes the first principle of ethics, the moral law, is obvious. But what about the second principles, particular moral laws, such as duties (...)
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  12. Kant and Rawls on the Moral and Political Development of Persons.Olga Lenczewska - 2021 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    My dissertation examines Kant’s and Rawls’s theories of the moral development of individuals within structured political communities. I reconstruct Kant’s under-studied account of the emergence of reason by looking at his remarks on the transition our species underwent from mere irrational animals into primitive human beings. I show how his account of the emergence of reason fits with his broader view of humankind’s rational progress and the moral development of an individual. Next, I argue that Kant’s anthropological and pedagogical writings (...)
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  13. Rationality: What difference does it make?Colin McLear - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-26.
    A variety of interpreters have argued that Kant construes the animality of human beings as ‘transformed’, in some sense, through the possession of rationality. I argue that this interpretation admits of multiple readings and that it is either wrong, or doesn’t result in the conclusion for which its proponents argue. I also explain the sense in which rationality nevertheless significantly differentiates human beings from other animals.
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  14. What Should we Hope?Seniye Tilev - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (5).
    In this paper I propose an interpretation of Kant’s notion of the highest good which bears political, ethical, and religious layers simultaneously. I argue that a proper analysis of what Kant allows us to hope for necessarily involves what we should hope for as moral agents. I argue that Kant’s conception of the highest good plays a crucial role in his moral theory as it designates the ideal “context” of moral experience which can be described as “a moral world”. Each (...)
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  15. Zum analytischen und synthetischen Moment in Kants Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten.Roberta Pasquarè - manuscript
    Vortragstext für die VI. Tagung für Praktische Philosophie Universität Salzburg 27. & 28. September 2018.
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  16. Duties to Oneself.Oliver Sensen - 2017 - In Matthew C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave Kant Handbook. Palgrave Macmillan Uk. pp. 285–306.
    Sensen analyzes Kant’s justification of duties to oneself. Why does Kant say that duties to oneself have priority over other duties? Sensen concludes that there is a common idea behind the different formulas of the categorical imperative: the idea that our human capacities have a high importance. Kant’s ethics needs anthropology to derive concrete duties from this general idea.
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  17. Knowledge and Belief: Comparative Approach.Seniye Tilev - 2022 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 12 (1):91-106.
    In this paper, I discuss the legitimacy of using the term “to know” in morality and I develop an approach based on Kantian morality. In my analysis, I take the notion “to know” in the sense that Timothy Williamson does. That is to say, I regard it in opposition to the perspectives that claim “knowledge is jus-tified true belief”. Therefore, in the first part, I briefly introduce “knowledge first epistemology”. In the second part, I build a perspective pointing to the (...)
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  18. Review: Kant's Justification of Ethics, by Owen Ware. [REVIEW]Jessica Tizzard - forthcoming - Studi Kantiani.
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  19. Presentacion de las editoras. El impacto de Onora O'Neill en los estudios Kantianos en lengua espanola.Paula Satne - 2018 - In Construyendo la autonomía, la autoridad y la justicia. Leer a Kant con Onora O'Neill. Valencia, Spain: pp. 21-26.
  20. The Fate of Autonomy in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals.Stefano Bacin - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (1):90-108.
    The idea of autonomy, presented as Kant’s main achievement in the Groundwork and the second Critique, is hardly present in the ethics of the “Doctrine of Virtue”. Against Pauline Kleingeld’s recent interpretation, I argue that this does not amount to a disappearance of the Principle of Autonomy, but to an important development of the notion of autonomy. I first show that Kant still advocated the Principle of Autonomy in the 1790s along with the thought of lawgiving through one’s maxims. I (...)
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  21. Healing the Wound: Rossi on Kantian Critique, Community, and the Remedies to the “Dear Self”.Pablo Muchnik - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):1817-1835.
    The main purpose of these introductory remarks is to give the reader a sense of Philip Rossi’s philosophical project and its importance. I will then advance an interpretation of what motivates Kant’s commitment to community, and, on its basis, object to Rossi’s views on radical evil –a point which affects how one should conceive the moral vocation of humanity and the role that politics and religion play within it. My reconstruction concludes with a sketch of how the five contributions to (...)
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  22. Can Love Be Excessive? Baumgarten and Kant on Love, Respect, and Friendship.Toshiro Osawa - 2021 - In Camilla Serck-Hanssen & Beatrix Himmelmann (eds.), The Court of Reason: Proceedings of the 13th International Kant Congress. De Gruyter. pp. 1483-1492.
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  23. Two Conceptions of Kantian Autonomy.Seniye Tilev - 2021 - In The Court of Reason: Proceedings of the 13th International Kant Congress.
    How to interpret autonomy plays a crucial role that leads to different readings in Kant’s moral metaphysics, philosophy of religion and moral psychology. In this paper I argue for a two-layered conception of autonomy with varying degrees of justification for each: autonomy as a capacity and autonomy as a paragon-like paradigm. I argue that all healthy rational humans possess the inalienable capacity of autonomy, i. e. share the universal ground for the communicability of objective basic moral principles. This initial understanding (...)
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  24. What Emerged: Autonomy and Heteronomy in the Groundwork_ and Second _Critique.Andrews Reath - 2018 - In Stefano Bacin (ed.), The Emergence of Autonomy in Kant's Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 176-195.
    This essay explains Kant’s idea of autonomy of the will and advances a thesis about how it emerges in his moral conception. Kant defines “autonomy” as “the property of the will by which it is a law to itself…” and argues that the Categorical Imperative is that law. I take the autonomy of the will to mean that the nature of rational volition is the source of the formal principle that authoritatively governs rational volition. I give a sense to this (...)
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  25. How Can Freedom Be a Law to Itself? The Concept of Autonomy in the “Introduction” to the Naturrecht Feyerabend Lecture Notes (1784).Marcus Willaschek - 2018 - In Stefano Bacin & Oliver Sensen (eds.), The Emergence of Autonomy in Kant’s Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 141-157.
    The ‘Introduction’ to Naturrecht Feyerabend is the transcript of a lecture Kant held at the very time he began writing the Groundwork. It contains the first securely dated occurrence of the term ‘autonomy’ (and its first occurrence in the context of moral philosophy) in Kant’s work. It argues that moral imperatives are categorical and asks how they are possible. Kant’s attempts to answer this question circle around the idea that freedom must be ‘a law to itself’ and lead him to (...)
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  26. Autonomy and the Legislation of Laws in the Prolegomena (1783).Eric Watkins - 2018 - In Stefano Bacin (ed.), The Emergence of Autonomy in Kant's Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 122-140.
    This paper attempts to shed light on Kant’s notion of autonomy in his moral philosophy by considering the extent to which he presents a similar doctrine in his theoretical philosophy, where he strikingly claims (e.g., in the Prolegomena) that the understanding prescribes laws to nature. It argues that even though there are important points of difference between the cases of theoretical legislation of the laws of nature and autonomy in moral philosophy, their extensive parallels make a strong, even if not (...)
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  27. Freedom for Losing Oneself: Lessons in Spontaneity and Temporality in Kant and Heidegger.Addison Ellis - forthcoming - In Möglichkeit und Wirklichkeit der Freiheit: Kant und Heidegger über Freiheit, Willen, und Recht.
  28. Kant on the History and Development of Practical Reason.Olga Lenczewska - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
    Under contract for the series Elements in the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant. -/- The focus of this Element is Kant’s history of human reason: his teleological vision of the past development of our rational capacities from their very emergence until Kant’s own “age of Enlightenment”. One of the goals of this Element is to connect Kant’s speculative account of the very beginning of rationality – a topic which has thus far been largely neglected or at least under-studied in Kantian scholarship (...)
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  29. Kant’s coherent theory of the highest good.Saniye Vatansever - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (3):263-283.
    In the second Critique, Kant argues that for the highest good to be possible we need to postulate the existence of God and the immortality of the soul in a future world. In his other writings, however, he suggests that the highest good is attainable through mere human agency in this world. Based on the apparent incoherence between these texts, Andrews Reath, among others, argues that Kant’s texts reveal two competing conceptions of the highest good, namely a secular and a (...)
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  30. Immanuel Kant: From Universal Rationality to Perpetual Peace.Joseph Hatfield - 2017 - Middletown, RI, USA: Stone Tower Press.
    Hatfield, Joseph M. 2017. “Immanual Kant: from Universal Rationality to Perpetual Peace,” book chapter in Philosophers and War, edited by Timothy Demy, Eric Patterson, and Jeffrey Shaw. Middletown, RI: Stone Tower Press.
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  31. Elogio de la razón mundana. Antropología y política en Kant, por Nuria Sánchez Madrid. [REVIEW]Marina García-Granero - 2021 - Quaderns de Filosofia 7 (2):183.
    RESEÑA / RESSENYA / REVIEW Elogio de la razón mundana. Antropología y política en Kant, por Nuria Sánchez Madrid.
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  32. Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform by Laura Papish. [REVIEW]Janelle DeWitt - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):651-656.
    Review of: Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform, by PapishLaura. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xvii + 257.
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  33. Preface to Kant's Justification of Ethics.Owen Ware - 2021 - In Kant's Justification of Ethics. Oxford, UK:
    The Preface to my book, Kant's Justification of Ethics.
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  34. Schelling's Moral Argument for a Metaphysics of Contingency.Alistair Welchman - 2014 - In Emilio Corriero & Andrea Dezi (eds.), Nature and Realism in Schelling’s Philosophy of Nature. Turin, Metropolitan City of Turin, Italy: pp. 27-54.
    Schelling’s middle period works have always been a source of fascination: they mark a break with the idealism (in both senses of the word) of his early works and the Fichtean and then Hegelian tradition; while they are not weighed down by the reactionary burden of his late lectures on theology and mythology. But they have been equally a source of perplexity. The central work of this period, the Essay on Human Freedom (1809) takes as its topic the moral problem (...)
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  35. How to Use Someone ‘Merely as a Means’.Pauline Kleingeld - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (3):389-414.
    The prohibition on using others ‘merely as means’ is one of the best-known and most influential elements of Immanuel Kant’s moral theory. But it is widely regarded as impossible to specify with precision the conditions under which this prohibition is violated. On the basis of a re-examination of Kant’s texts, the article develops a novel account of the conditions for using someone ‘merely as a means’. It is argued that this account has not only strong textual support but also significant (...)
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  36. Durch Schönheit zur Freiheit? Schillers Auseinandersetzung mit Kant.Achim Vesper - 2019 - In Gideon Stiening & Otfried Höffe (eds.), Friedrich Schiller. Über die Ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen. Berlin, Deutschland: pp. 33-48.
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  37. General Conception of Duties Towards Oneself in Baumgarten and Kant.Toshiro Osawa - 2018 - In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur Und Freiheit. Akten des Xii. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. De Gruyter. pp. 2013-2020.
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  38. Toleration and Some Related Concepts in Kant.Andrew Bain & Paul Formosa - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (2):167-192.
    In this article we examine Kant’s understanding of toleration by including a study of all instances in which he directly uses the language of toleration and related concepts. We use this study to resolve several key areas of interpretative dispute concerning Kant’s views on toleration. We argue that Kant offers a nuanced and largely unappreciated approach to thinking about toleration, and related concepts, across three normative spheres: the political, the interpersonal and the personal. We examine shortcomings in earlier interpretations and (...)
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  39. Mark Timmons, Significance and System: Essays on Kant's Ethics Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017 Pp. 352 ISBN 9780190203368 (hbk) $78.00. [REVIEW]Sergio Tenenbaum - 2020 - Kantian Review 25 (2):321-327.
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  40. A Kantian Account of Emotions as Feelings1.Alix Cohen - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):429-460.
    The aim of this paper is to extract from Kant's writings an account of the nature of the emotions and their function – and to do so despite the fact that Kant neither uses the term ‘emotion’ nor offers a systematic treatment of it. Kant's position, as I interpret it, challenges the contemporary trends that define emotions in terms of other mental states and defines them instead first and foremost as ‘feelings’. Although Kant's views on the nature of feelings have (...)
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  41. La religion est-elle « purement une affaire de raison »?: Réflexions sur quelques aspects du traitement de la religion chez Kant.Robert Theis - 2020 - Kant Studien 111 (1):29-66.
    This study reflects upon the fundamental justification of the radicality of Kant’s affirmation according to which religion is “a matter of reason alone”. To this end, this paper bores in two directions: In a first direction, the premises as well as the context of the Critique of Practical Reason’s thesis, according to which the moral law leads to religion, are reconstructed. The question that needs to be clarified in this context concerns the semantic content of the concept of religion that (...)
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  42. Walid Faizzada: Autonome Praxis und intelligible Welt: Die transzendental-praktische Freiheit in Kants Lehre vom höchsten Gut. Leiden/boston: Brill, 2017. XI, 332 Seiten. ISBN: 978-90-04-35415-9.Autonome Praxis und intelligible Welt: Die transzendental-praktische Freiheit in Kants Lehre vom höchsten Gut. [REVIEW]Michael Pluder - 2020 - Kant Studien 111 (1):145-148.
  43. Jeffrey Edwards: Autonomy, Moral Worth, and Right. Kant on Obligatory Ends, Respect for Law, and Original Acquisition. Berlin/boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2018. 353 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-11-051606-7.Autonomy, Moral Worth, and Right. Kant on Obligatory Ends, Respect for Law, and Original Acquisition. [REVIEW]Georg Geismann - 2019 - Kant Studien 110 (2):326-332.
  44. Bona Fama Defuncti in Kant’s Rechtslehre: Some Perspectives.Thomas Mertens - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):513-529.
    Although Kant’s final work in moral philosophy, Die Metaphysik der Sitten, currently attracts much scholarly attention, there is still a lot to explore. This article is an attempt to get to grips with a particular, often neglected passage of the Rechtslehre, namely §35. Here Kant defends the view that not only can a person’s good reputation can be tarnished after his death, but also that this constitutes a violation of this dead person’s property. Here I will not be able to (...)
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  45. Gualtiero Lorini and Robert B. Louden , Knowledge, Morals and Practice in Kant’s Anthropology London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 Pp. xix + 171 ISBN 978-3-319-98725-5 £69.99. [REVIEW]Antonino Falduto - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):659-663.
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  46. The Legislative Authority.M. E. Newhouse - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):531-553.
    This article develops an account of the nature and limits of the state’s legislative authority that closely attends to the challenge of harmonizing Kant’s ethical and juridical theories. It clarifies some key Kantian concepts and terms, then explains the way in which the state’s three interlocking authorities – legislative, executive, and judicial – are metaphysically distinct and mutually dependent. It describes the emergence of the Kantian state and identifies the preconditions of its authority. Then it offers a metaphysical model of (...)
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  47. Christine M. Korsgaard, Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018 Pp. 272 ISBN 9780198753858 $24.95. [REVIEW]Kyla Ebels-Duggan - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (4):653-659.
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  48. Kant on Moral Agency: Beyond the Incorporation Thesis.Valtteri Viljanen - 2020 - Kant Studien 111 (3):423–444.
    This paper aims to discern the limits of the highly influential Incorporation Thesis to give proper weight to our sensuous side in Kant’s theory of moral action. I first examine the view of the faculties underpinning the theory, which allows me to outline the passage from natural to rational action. This enables me to designate the factors involved in actual human agency and thereby to show that, contrary to what the Incorporation Thesis may tempt one to believe, we do not (...)
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  49. The Differend and the Paradox of Contempt.Bryan Lueck - forthcoming - Parrhesia.
    In this paper I begin by suggesting that Immanuel Kant’s argument for the impermissibility of treating others with contempt seems to be subject to a paradox very similar to the well known paradox of forgiveness first described by Aurel Kolnai. Specifically, either the object of the judgment of contempt is not really contemptible, in which case the prohibition on treating him with contempt is superfluous, or else the person truly is contemptible, in which case the prohibition seems unjustifiable, reducing to (...)
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  50. Oxford Handbook of Kant.Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
1 — 50 / 5327