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Summary Kant uses the notion of justification [Rechtfertigung] in various ways in his works. For instance, he talks about justification in his ethics, epistemology, aesthetics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy; however, he rarely reflects on the notion itself and does not provide a unified account of Rechtfertigung. In our modern pluralistic context, pioneering work on the notion by Leslie Stevenson and Andrew Chignell generated some intriguing philosophical discussions concerning the nature of the concept, in particular whether it has unity and whether it has an epistemic character, as well as concerning its relation to contemporary discussions of justification.
Key works Kant uses the term 'justification [Rechtfertigung]' or cognate terms (e.g., to justify [rechtfertigen]' in, among others, Kant 1998, the Critique of Practical Reason (in Kant 1996), Kant 2000, Hatfield 2004, Groundwork of The Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996), Kant 1998, or the Metaphysics of Morals (in Kant 1996). In addition to works by Leslie Stevenson (2003) and Chignell 2007, it is worth mentioning Timmons & Baiasu 2013 - a collection of recent articles on Kant's notion of justification in the practical domain (including metaethics, ethics, legal philosophy and philosophy of religion).
Introductions A good introduction can be found in the article on Rechtfertigung from the recent Kant-Lexikon edited by Mohr, Stolzenberg and Willaschek. For an introduction to Kant's notion of justification, especially practical justification, see the introductory chapter in Timmons & Baiasu 2013.
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  1. ‘Constructivism, Contractarianism and Basic Obligations: Kant and Gauthier’.Kenneth R. Westphal - forthcoming - In J.-C. Merle (ed.), Reading Kant’s Doctrine of Right.
    Gauthier’s contractarianism begins with an idea of a rational deliberator but ‘finds no basis for postulating a moral need for the justification of one’s actions to others. The role of agreement is to address each person’s demand that the constraints of society be justified to him, not a concern that he justify himself to his fellows’ (Gauther 1997, 134–5). He contrasts his view with Scanlon’s contractualism, according to which agreement with others is the core of morality and each agent has (...)
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  2. The Pittsburgh Kantians: Brandom, Conant, Haugeland, and McDowell on Kant.Jacob Browning - 2021 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis:1-32.
    Over the last thirty years, a group of philosophers associated with the University of Pittsburgh—Robert Brandom, James Conant, John Haugeland, and John McDowell—have developed a novel reading of Kant. Their interest turns on Kant’s problem of objective purport: how can my thoughts be about the world? This paper summarizes the shared reading of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction by these four philosophers and how it solves the problem of objective purport. But I also show these philosophers radically diverge in how they view (...)
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  3. Kant, the Practical Postulates, and Clifford’s Principle.Samuel Kahn - 2020 - Contemporary Pragmatism 17 (1):21-47.
    In this paper I argue that Kant would have endorsed Clifford’s principle. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I review Kant’s argument for the practical postulates. In the second, I discuss a traditional objection to the style of argument Kant employs. In the third, I explain how Kant would respond to this objection and how this renders the practical postulates consistent with Clifford’s principle. In the fourth, I introduce positive grounds for thinking that Kant would have (...)
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  4. Kant and Crusius on Belief and Practical Justification.Gabriele Gava - 2019 - Kantian Review 24 (1):53-75.
    Kant’s account of practical justification for belief has attracted much attention in the literature, especially in recent years. In this context, scholars have generally emphasized the originality of Kant’s thought about belief (Glaube), and Kant indeed offers a definition of belief that is very different from views that were prevalent in eighteenth-century Germany. In this article, however, I argue that it is very likely that Christian August Crusius exerted influence on Kant’s definition of belief and his account of practical justification. (...)
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  5. Kant’s Deduction From Apperception: An Essay on the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories.Dennis Schulting - 2019 - Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter.
    In focusing on the systematic deduction of the categories from a principle, Schulting takes up anew the controversial project of the eminent German Kant scholar Klaus Reich, whose monograph “The Completeness of Kant's Table of Judgments” made the case that the logical functions of judgement can all be derived from the objective unity of apperception and can be shown to link up with one another systematically. -/- Common opinion among Kantians today has it that Kant did not mean to derive (...)
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  6. 3. The Quid Juris.Dennis Schulting - 2018 - In Kant’s Deduction From Apperception: An Essay on the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. De Gruyter. pp. 28-62.
    What is the Quid Juris in Kant's Deduction? Chapter 3 from my book on the Deduction (Kant's Deduction From Apperception) provides an answer to that question, and also contains an extensive discussion of the relevant literature on this topic (Henrich, Proops, Seeberg & Longuenesse).
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  7. Problems of Kantian Nonconceptualism and the Transcendental Deduction.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 195-255.
    In this paper, I discuss the debate on Kant and nonconceptual content. Inspired by Kant’s account of the intimate relation between intuition and concepts, McDowell (1996) has forcefully argued that the relation between sensible content and concepts is such that sensible content does not severally contribute to cognition but always only in conjunction with concepts. This view is known as conceptualism. Recently, Kantians Robert Hanna and Lucy Allais, among others, have brought against this view the charge that it neglects the (...)
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  8. Reply to Watt: Epistemic Humility, Objective Validity, Logical Derivability.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - Critique (November):o-o.
  9. Gap? What Gap? On the Transcendental Unity of Apperception and the Necessary Application of the Categories.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 141-191.
  10. Kant's Deduction From Apperception.Dennis Schulting - 2017 - In Kant's Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction. London, UK: Palgrave. pp. 53-96.
  11. Kant on Opinion, Belief, and Knowledge.Thomas Höwing - 2016 - In The Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy. De Gruyter. pp. 201-222.
    The paper addresses an exegetical puzzle that is raised by Kant's distinction between opining (Meinen), believing (Glauben), and knowing (Wissen). In presenting his moral arguments, Kant often points out that belief, as he conceives of it, has a unique feature: it requires non-epistemic justification. Yet Kant's official formulation of the tripartite distinction runs counter to this claim. It describes Belief in terms of a set of two features, each of which also pertains to either opinion or knowledge. My aim in (...)
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  12. Probleme des ‚Kantianischen‘ Nonkonzeptualismus Im Hinblick Auf Die B-Deduktion.Dennis Schulting - 2015 - Kant-Studien 106 (4):561-580.
    :Recently, Allais, Hanna and others have argued that Kant is a nonconceptualist about intuition and that intuitions refer objectively, independently of the functions of the understanding. Kantian conceptualists have responded, which the nonconceptualists also cite as textual evidence for their reading) that this view conflicts with the central goal of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction: to argue that all intuitions are subject to the categories. I argue that the conceptualist reading of KrV, A 89 ff./B 122 ff. is unfounded. Further, I argue (...)
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  13. Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and His Transcendental Deduction.Justin B. Shaddock - 2015 - Kantian Review 20 (2):265-288.
    I argue for a novel, non-subjectivist interpretation of Kant’s transcendental idealism. Kant’s idealism is often interpreted as specifying how we must experience objects or how objects must appear to us. I argue to the contrary by appealing to Kant’s Transcendental Deduction. Kant’s Deduction is the proof that the categories are not merely subjectively necessary conditions we need for our cognition, but objectively valid conditions necessary for objects to be appearances. My interpretation centres on two claims. First, Kant’s method of self-knowledge (...)
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  14. Kant's Justification of Welfare.Sorin Baiasu - 2014 - Diametros 39:1-28.
    For several decades, theorists interested in Kant’s discussion of welfare have puzzled over Kant’s position on the issue of the redistribution of goods in society. They have done this both in order to clarify his position and as a source of inspiration for current conceptual problems faced by contemporary political philosophers who attempt to reconcile the ideal of equal freedom with the asymmetric interference necessary for redistribution and social provision. In this paper, I start with Kant’s brief discussion of welfare (...)
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  15. Why Reflective Equilibrium? I: Reflexivity of Justification.Svein Eng - 2014 - Ratio Juris 27 (1):138-154.
    In A Theory of Justice (1971), John Rawls introduces the concept of “reflective equilibrium.” Although there are innumerable references to and discussions of this concept in the literature, there is, to the present author's knowledge, no discussion of the most important question: Why reflective equilibrium? In particular, the question arises: Is the method of reflective equilibrium applicable to the choice of this method itself? Rawls's drawing of parallels between Kant's moral theory and his own suggests that his concept of “reflective (...)
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  16. Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretive Essays. [REVIEW]Markus Kohl - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (2):332-338.
  17. Review: Timmons, Mark and Baiasu, Sorin, Kant on Practical Justification[REVIEW]Kate A. Moran - 2014 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 96 (4).
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  18. Kant’s Touchstone of Communication and the Public Use of Reason.Lawrence Pasternack - 2014 - Society and Politics 8 (1):78-91.
    Nearly all of the work that has been done on Kant’s conception of public reason has focused on its socio-political significance. John Rawls, Onora O’Neill and others have explored its relevance to a well ordered democracy, to pluralism, to toleration, and so on. However, the relevance of public reason for Kant is not limited to the socio-political. Kant repeatedly appeals to the “touchstone of communication” in relation to the normative side of his epistemology. The purpose of this paper is to (...)
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  19. Kant's Deduction From Apperception: A Reply to My Critics.Dennis Schulting - 2014 - Studi Kantiani 27:95-115.
  20. Is Kant (W)Right? – On Kant’s Regulative Ideas and Wright’s Entitlements.Jochen Briesen - 2013 - Kant-Yearbook 5 (1):1-32.
    This paper discusses a structural analogy between Kant’s theory of regulative ideas, as he develops it in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, and Crispin Wright’s theory of epistemic entitlements. First, I argue that certain exegetical difficulties with respect to the Appendix rest on serious systematic problems, which – given other assumptions of the Critique of Pure Reason – Kant is unable to solve. Second, I argue that because of the identified structural analogy between Kant’s and Wright’s views the project (...)
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  21. Kant on Practical Justification: Interpretative Essays.Mark Timmons & Sorin Baiasu (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume of new essays provides a comprehensive and structured examination of Kant's justification of norms, a crucial but neglected theme in Kantian practical philosophy.
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  22. Kant’s Deduction and Apperception: Explaining the Categories.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - London and Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  23. Kant, Non-Conceptual Content and the 'Second Step' of the B-Deduction.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - Kant Studies Online (1):51-92.
  24. Justification, Objectivity, and Subjectivity in Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of the Categories.Justin B. Shaddock - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):177-185.
  25. Kant on Experiment.Alberto Vanzo - 2012 - In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor. Springer. pp. 75-96.
    This paper discusses Immanuel Kant’s views on the role of experiments in natural science, focusing on their relationship with hypotheses, laws of nature, and the heuristic principles of scientific enquiry. Kant’s views are contrasted with the philosophy of experiment that was first sketched by Francis Bacon and later developed by Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. Kant holds that experiments are always designed and carried out in the light of hypotheses. Hypotheses are derived from experience on the basis of a set (...)
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  26. The Myth of the Given and the Grip of the Given.Robert Hanna - 2011 - Diametros 27:25-46.
    In this paper I argue that the Sellarsian Myth of the Given does not apply to all forms of Non-Conceptualism; that Kant is in fact a non-conceptualist of the right-thinking kind and not a Conceptualist, as most Kant-interpreters think; and that an intelligible and defensible Kantian Non-Conceptualism can be developed which supports the thesis that true perceptual beliefs are non-inferentially justified and also normatively funded by direct, embodied, intentional interactions with the manifest world (a.k.a. the Grip of the Given).
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  27. Kant’s [Moral] Constructivism and Rational Justification.Kenneth R. Westphal - 2011 - In Pihlström & Williams Baiasu (ed.), Politics and Metaphysics in Kant. Wales University Press.
    This paper characterises concisely a key issue about rational justification which highlights an important achievement of Kant’s constructivist method for identifying and justifying basic norms: uniquely, it resolves the Pyrrhonian Dilemma of the Criterion. Kant’s constructivist method is both sound and significant because it is based on core principles of rational justification as such. Explicating this basis of Kant’s constructivism affords an illuminating and defensible explication of four key aspects of the autonomy of rational judgment, including our positive moral freedom; (...)
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  28. Kant's Subjective Deduction.Nathan Bauer - 2010 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (3):433-460.
    In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...)
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  29. Necessity and Possibility: The Logical Strategy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Review).Philip Dwyer - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):402-403.
    This book is a foray into the thorny interpretive issue of what to make of Kant's so-called "Metaphysical Deduction" of the categories. As with many of the arguments in the first Critique, the claim of the Metaphysical Deduction is easier to make out than its argument. The claim is that by some or other reference to "general logic," one may obtain a "transcendental logic," i.e., a justification (or "deduction") of the categories (of the understanding) necessary to the (very) possibility of (...)
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  30. Kant and the Enlightenment's Contribution to Social Epistemology.Axel Gelfert - 2010 - Episteme 7 (1):79-99.
    The present paper argues for the relevance of Immanuel Kant and the German Enlightenment to contemporary social epistemology. Rather than distancing themselves from the alleged ‘individualism’ of Enlightenment philosophers, social epistemologists would be well-advised to look at the substantive discussion of social-epistemological questions in the works of Kant and other Enlightenment figures. After a brief rebuttal of the received view of the Enlightenment as an intrinsically individualist enterprise, this paper charts the historical trajectory of philosophical discussions of testimony as a (...)
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  31. Testimony and Kant’s Idea of Public Reason.Kjartan Koch Mikalsen - 2010 - Res Publica 16 (1):23-40.
    It is common to interpret Kant’s idea of public reason and the Enlightenment motto to ‘think for oneself’ as incompatible with the view that testimony and judgement of credibility is essential to rational public deliberation. Such interpretations have led to criticism of contemporary Kantian approaches to deliberative democracy for being intellectualistic, and for not considering our epistemic dependence on other people adequately. In this article, I argue that such criticism is insufficiently substantiated, and that Kant’s idea of public reason is (...)
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  32. Between Autonomy and Authority: Kant on the Epistemic Status of Testimony.Joseph Shieber - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):327-348.
  33. Kant's Justification of the Death Penalty Reconsidered.Benjamin S. Yost - 2010 - Kantian Review 15 (2):1-27.
    This paper argues that Immanuel Kant’s practical philosophy contains a coherent, albeit implicit, defense of the legitimacy of capital punishment, one that refutes the most important objections leveled against it. I first show that Kant is consistent in his application of the ius talionis. I then explain how Kant can respond to the claim that death penalty violates the inviolable right to life. To address the most significant objection – the claim that execution violates human dignity – I argue that (...)
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  34. Natura Daedala Rerum? On the Justification of Historical Progress in Kant’s ‘Guarantee of Perpetual Peace'.Lea Ypi - 2010 - Kantian Review 14 (2):103-135.
    This article analyses the teleological argument justifying historical progress in Kant's Guarantee of Perpetual Peace. It starts by examining the controversies produced by Kant's claim that the teleology of nature supports the idea of a providential development of humanity towards moral progress and the possibility of achieving a cosmopolitan political constitution. It further illustrates how Kant's teleological argument in Perpetual Peace needs to be assessed with reference to two systematically relevant issues: first, the problem of coordination linked to the necessity (...)
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  35. Morality as the Condition for Justification: A Review of Kant's Approach to the Problem of the Relationship between Morals and Religion. [REVIEW]Hua-fu Zhu - 2010 - Modern Philosophy 3:80-86.
    In this paper, the "pure rational religion within the boundaries of" Analysis of the argument was that Kant religion as part of the contents of the form of two - a rational and empirical content of the content; the former is the moral core of religion, the latter who is used to carry or show the moral core of the religious cloak. Kant stressed that true religion must be a combination of the two; for the people, morality and religion are (...)
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  36. Kant's Justification of the Role of Maxims in Ethics.Michael Albrecht - 2009 - In Karl Ameriks, Otfried Höffe & Nicolas Walker (eds.), Kant's Moral and Legal Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
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  37. Revisiting Kantian Retributivism to Construct a Justification of Punishment.Jane Johnson - 2008 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (3):291-307.
    The standard view of Kant’s retributivism, as well as its more recent reworking in the ‘limited’ or ‘partial’ retributivist reading are, it is argued here, inadequate accounts of Kant on punishment. In the case of the former, the view is too limited and superficial, and in the latter it is simply inaccurate as an interpretation of Kant. Instead, this paper argues that a more sophisticated and accurate rendering of Kant on punishment can be obtained by looking to his construction of (...)
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  38. Kant's Concepts of Justification.Andrew Chignell - 2007 - Noûs 41 (1):33–63.
    An essay on Kant's theory of justification, where by “justification” is meant the evaluative concept that specifies conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence. Kant employs both epistemic and non-epistemic concepts of justification: an epistemic concept of justification sets out conditions under which a propositional attitude is rationally acceptable with a moderate-to-high degree of confidence and a candidate (if true and Gettier-immune) for knowledge. A non-epistemic concept of justification, by contrast, sets out (...)
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  39. The Principle of Right: Practical Reason and Justification in Kant's Ethical and Political Philosophy.Alison Hills - 2007 - Politics and Ethics Review 3 (1):24-36.
    The principle of right is Kant's main formulation of the rules of politics, and it has obvious affinities with the moral law. Do we have moral reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we may have moral reasons to obey the principle ourselves, but not coercively to enforce it. Do we have prudential reasons to obey the principle? I argue that we do not have reasons based on happiness, but that we may have prudential reasons of a wholly different, (...)
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  40. Kant on Testimony.Axel Gelfert - 2006 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
    Immanuel Kant is often regarded as an exponent of the ‘individualist’ tradition in epistemology, according to which testimony is not a fundamental source of knowledge. The present paper argues that this view is far from accurate. Kant devotes ample space to discussions of testimony and, in his lectures on logic, arrives at a distinct and stable philosophical position regarding testimony. Important elements of this position consist in (a) acknowledging the ineliminability of testimony; (b) realizing that testimony can establish empirical knowledge (...)
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  41. Justification of Metaphysics in View of Kant.Rudolf Brajčić - 2004 - Disputatio Philosophica 6 (1):96-71.
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  42. Kant's Ethics of Assent: Knowledge and Belief in the Critical Philosophy.Andrew Chignell - 2004 - Dissertation, Yale University
    Most accounts of Kant's epistemology focus narrowly on cognition and knowledge . Kant himself, however, thought that there are many other important species of assent : opinion, persuasion, conviction, belief, acceptance, and assent to the deliverances of common sense. ;My goal in this dissertation is to isolate and motivate the principles of rational acceptability which, for Kant, govern each of these kinds of assent, instead of focusing merely on cognition and knowledge. Some of the principles apply in the context of (...)
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  43. Public Reason as a Form of Normative and Political Justification: A Study on Rawls's Idea of Public Reason and Kant's Notion of the Use of Public Reason in What is Enlightenment?Paul Nnodim - 2004 - South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):148-157.
  44. La théorie friesienne de la justification.Christian Bonnet - 2002 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 3 (3):325-339.
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  45. A Kantian Justification of Possession.Kenneth Westphal - 2002 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Kant’s Metaphysics of Ethics: Interpretive Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Kant’s justification of possession appears to assume rather than prove its legitimacy. This apparent question-begging has been recapitulated or exacerbated but not resolved in the literature. However, Kant provides a sound justification of limited rights to possess and use things (qualified choses in possession), not of private property rights. Kant’s argument is not purely a priori; it is in Kant’s Critical sense ‘metaphysical’ because it applies the pure a priori ‘Universal Principles of Right’ to the concept of finite rational human (...)
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  46. The Place of Punishment in Kant's Rechtslehre.Paul Gorner - 2000 - Kantian Review 4:121-130.
    If Kant had never written the section of the Rechtslehre on punishment we would still have known from the Critique of Practical Reason that he held a strongly retributive view of punishment. But it is not a view which we could have inferred from the rest of the Rechtslehre. Despite its intuitive appeal, Kant's justification of judicial punishment simply does not fit the account of right he gives in the Rechtslehre. According to this account the only justification for coercion is (...)
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  47. Kant: Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: And Other Writings.Immanuel Kant - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics (...)
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  48. Kant's Justification of the Laws of Mechanics.Eric Watkins - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (4):539-560.
  49. The Possibility of Practical Reason: An Essay on Kant's Justification of Ethics.Halla Kim - 1997 - Dissertation, The University of Iowa
    The thesis is a critical and comprehensive examination of Immanuel Kant's theory of practical reason. I argue that considerable light is thrown upon Kant's view when it is considered in light of the British naturalist ethics stretching from Hobbes to Hutcheson, and especially Hume. Consideration of the naturalist ethics is important because of that tradition's radical skepticism about the power of pure practical reason. While not many scholars emhasize this point, Kant's ethics is not so much a response to amoralism (...)
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  50. Justification and Belief in Kant's Moral Philosophy.Lawrence Robin Pasternack - 1997 - Dissertation, Boston University
    My dissertation examines the relationship between Kant's account of moral experience and his means of justifying morality. More specifically, I examine the justificatory role attributed to the consciousness of being bound by the moral law in the Critique of Practical Reason and subsequent texts. ;Rather than supplying a proof of the veracity of this consciousness, Kant claims that it alone establishes the moral law's objective validity. In my attempt to determine how this consciousness achieves its purported justificatory function, I focus (...)
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