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Samuel J. M. Kahn
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
  1. Defending the Traditional Interpretations of Kant’s Formula of a Law of Nature.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2019 - Theoria 66 (158):76-102.
    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 (...)
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    Kantian Ethics and our Duties to Nonhuman Animals.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2024 - Between the Species 27 (1):82-107.
    Many take Kantian ethics to founder when it comes to our duties to animals. In this paper, I advocate a novel approach to this problem. The paper is divided into three sections. In the first, I canvass various passages from Kant in order to set up the problem. In the second, I introduce a novel approach to this problem. In the third, I defend my approach from various objections. By way of preview: I advocate rejecting the premise that nonhuman animals (...)
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    Prenatal Injury.Samuel J. M. Kahn - forthcoming - Res Philosophica.
    In this article, I confront Flanigan’s recent attempt to show, not merely that women have a right to commit prenatal injury, but also that women who act on this right are praiseworthy and should not be criticized for this injury. I show that Flanigan’s arguments do not work, and I establish presumptive grounds against any such right, namely: prenatal injury, by definition, involves intentional or negligent harm and, as such, may be subsumed under a wider class of actions that are (...)
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  4. Nary an Obligatory Maxim from Kant’s Universalizability Tests.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2022 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 5 (1):15-35.
    In this paper I argue that there would be no obligatory maxims if the only standards for assessing maxims were Kant’s universalizability tests. The paper is divided into five sections. In the first, I clarify my thesis: I define my terms and disambiguate my thesis from other related theses for which one might argue. In the second, I confront the view that says that if a maxim passes the universalizability tests, then there is a positive duty to adopt that maxim; (...)
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  5. Nonaccidental Rightness and the Guise of the Objectively Good.Samuel J. M. Kahn - forthcoming - Journal of Early Modern Studies:Vol. 13, Issue 2, 2024.
    My goal in this paper is to show that two theses that are widely adopted among Kantian ethicists are irreconcilable. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I briefly sketch the contours of my own positive view of Kantian ethics, concentrating on the issues relevant to the two theses to be discussed: I argue that agents can perform actions from but not in conformity with duty, and I argue that agents intentionally can perform actions they take to (...)
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    Generating General Duties from the Universalizability Tests.Samuel Kahn - forthcoming - Philosophica.
    In this paper, I argue that Kant gives a philosophically plausible derivation of the general duty of benevolence and that this derivation can be used to show how to derive other general duties of commission with the universalizability tests. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I explain Kant’s notion of a general duty. In the second, I introduce the universalizability tests. In the third, I examine and argue against an account in the secondary literature of how (...)
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  7. Kant’s theory of conscience.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2015 - In Muchnik Pablo & Thorndike Oliver (eds.), Rethinking Kant: Volume IV. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 135-156.
    In this paper I discuss Kant’s theory of conscience. In particular, I explicate the following two claims that Kant makes in the Metaphysics of Morals: (1) an erring conscience is an absurdity and (2) if an agent has acted according to his/her conscience, then s/he has done all that can be required of him/her. I argue that (1) is a very specific claim that does not bear on the problem of moral knowledge. I argue that (2) rests on a strongly (...)
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  8. Reassessing the foundations of Korsgaard’s approach to ethics.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2017 - Dialegesthai. Rivista Telematica di Filosofia:online.
    In a series of well known publications, Christine Korsgaard argues for the claim that an agent acts morally just in case s/he acts autonomously. Two of Korsgaard's signature arguments for the connection between morality and autonomy are the "argument from spontaneity" and the "regress argument." In this paper, I argue that neither the argument from spontaneity nor the regress argument is able to show that an agent would be acting wrongly even if s/he acts in a paradigmatically heteronomous fashion.
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  9. A Kantian take on fallible principles and fallible judgments.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2014 - American Dialectic 4 (1):1-27.
    According to Kant, if an agent acts according to his/her conscience, then s/he has done all that s/he ought as far as morality is concerned. But Kant thinks that agents can be mistaken in their subjective determinations of their duties. That is, Kant thinks it is possible for an agent to believe that some action X is right even though it is an objective truth that X is not right; according to Kant, agents do not have infallible knowledge of right (...)
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  10. A Problem for Frankfurt Examples.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1):159-167.
    In this paper I intend to raise a problem for so-called Frankfurt examples. I begin by describing the examples and what they are used for. Then I describe the problem.
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  11. A reply to Bencivenga, “Consequences in Kantian Ethics.”.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2013 - American Dialectic (1):285-288.
    In Bencivenga’s “Consequences in Kantian Ethics,” he offers a version of Kant’s ethics according to which the most rational approach to living one’s life is “to always imagine what might follow from one’s moves and to choose moves accordingly” (284), but according to which agents always nevertheless must be modest in their judgments about what they ought to do because the actual consequences of their actions might not turn out as they imagined. In this way, he tries to foreground the (...)
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  12. A Problem Based Introduction to Philosophy.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2014 - Kendall Hunt.
    In this book, I give a topic-based, modular introduction to philosophy. The book has 16 chapters: 7 in theoretical philosophy and 9 in practical philosophy. Each topic is introduced by means of a concrete question; the main positions on this question are then developed and criticized in turn. I try to avoid taking sides; instead, I emphasize that students must think through the issues for themselves.
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  13. Some Contemporary Issues about Ought Implies Can: Where Does Kant Fit In?Samuel J. M. Kahn - forthcoming - Jahrbuch für Recht Und Ethik.
    Most philosophers agree that Kant was committed to the principle 'ought implies can' (OIC). However, few agree on how to understand the meaning of OIC. Outside of Kant scholarship, there are debates about the meaning of 'ought', the meaning of 'implies', and the meaning of 'can' in this principle. Inside Kant scholarship, there is no consensus about where Kant stood on these terms. The present paper tries to go some way toward rectifying this situation. In section I, I review the (...)
     
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  14. The Problem with Using a Maxim Permissibility Test to Derive Obligations.Samuel J. M. Kahn - 2022 - De Ethica 7 (1):31-40.
    The purpose of this paper is to show that, if Kant’s universalization formulations of the Categorical Imperative are our only standards for judging right from wrong and permissible from impermissible, then we have no obligations. I shall do this by examining five different views of how obligations can be derived from the universalization formulations and arguing that each one fails. I shall argue that the first view rests on a misunderstanding of the universalization formulations; the second on a misunderstanding of (...)
     
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