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Publications on Kant

Book Cover of "Rethinking Kant: Volume 4"

“Transcendental Idealism” in Pablo Muchnik and Oliver Thorndike, eds.: Rethinking Kant: Volume 4 (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2015), 13–33.

“Foreword” in Andreas Follesdal and Reidar Maliks, eds.: Kantian Theory and Human Rights (London: Routledge 2014), xv–xx.

“Kant’s Vision of a Just World Order” in Tom Hill, ed.: The Blackwell Guide to Kant’s Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell 2009), 196–208.    Spanish   Chinese   German

Is Kant’s Rechtslehre Comprehensive?” in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, Spindel Conference Proceedings, Southern Journal of Philosophy 36, Supplement (1997), 161–187; reprinted with revisions as “Is Kant’s Rechtslehre a ‘Comprehensive Liberalism’?,” in Mark Timmons, ed.: Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: Interpretative Essays (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002), 133–158; reprinted in Elisabeth Ellis, ed.: Kant’s Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications (College Park: Penn State University Press 2012), 74–100.    Korean   Chinese   Spanish

   Abstract: In contrast to his own “freestanding” liberalism, Rawls has characterized the liberalism of Kant’s Rechtslehre as comprehensive, i.e., as dependent on Kant’s teachings about good will and ethical autonomy or on his transcendental idealism. This characterization is not borne out by the text. Though Kant is indeed eager to show that his liberalism is entailed by his wider philosophical world view, he is not committed to the converse, does not hold that his liberalism presupposes either his moral philosophy or his transcendental idealism. Rather, Kant bases the establishment and maintenance of Recht solely on persons’ fundamental a priori interest in external freedom. His liberalism is then, if anything, more freestanding than Rawls’s, central elements of which — such as his postulate of certain moral powers with corresponding higher-order interests — are justified by appeal to fundamental ideas he finds to be prevalent in the public culture of his society.

“Kant on Ends and the Meaning of Life” in Andrews Reath, Barbara Herman, and Christine M. Korsgaard, eds.: Reclaiming the History of Ethics: Essays for John Rawls (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1997), 361–387.    Chinese

   Abstract: Kantian morality is often viewed as offering little more than a thoroughly uninspiring explication of Duty: A Kantian agent goes through life doing the right thing at every turn, but he (how could such a stiff and rigid creature be a woman?) has no sense of the larger point of the breathtaking experiment called humankind. He does his duty mechanically and myopically, looking neither left nor right nor any larger distance ahead. By examining little-studied texts Kant produced very late in life, I try to debunk this caricature of Kant’s moral philosophy. Kant does give an elaborate and even moving account of how morality fits with the meaning and point of human existence and an inspiring vision of what humankind might once become. Once discovered, these views can be seen to inform even Kant’s more canonical moral works of the 1780’s, which show how Kant’s morality can be not merely an inspiration, but also a context-sensitive guide for promoting moral progress.

Europa y una federación global: La visión de Kant” 1997; revised English version “Kant’s Vision, Europe, and a Global Federation” in Jean-Christophe Merle, ed.: Globale Gerechtigkeit (Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog 2005), 500–518; in Luigi Caranti, ed.: Kant’s Perpetual Peace. New Interpretative Essays (Rome: LUISS University Press 2006), 75–96; and in Jovan Babić and Petar Bojanić, eds.: World Governance: Do We Need It, Is It Possible, What Could It (All) Mean? (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2010), 168–185.    Chinese

   Abstract: In “Perpetual Peace,” Kant officially endorses the ideal of a pacific federation of sovereign states, but then also states that such a federation is only a “negative surrogate” for a world republic and cannot render peace truly secure. The reason for his ambivalence is that both models are flawed: A federation fails to achieve a thoroughgoing juridical condition, while a world government is unrealistic and dangerous. Had Kant been able to shed his unsound belief in the indivisibility of sovereignty, he might have endorsed a superior intermediate ideal of a vertical (and horizontal) dispersal of sovereign powers. The emerging European Union exemplifies this intermediate model — though, from a Kantian point of view, it still needs to be perfected in four important respects before it can serve as a model for the world at large.

“Immanuel Kant — Introduction” in Steven Cahn, ed.: Classics of Modern Political Theory: Machiavelli to Mill (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997), 553–556.

Review Article “Freudigers Grundlegung” 1994.

Erscheinungen und Dinge an sich” in Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 45/4 (Winter 1991), 489–510.

   Abstract: To consider things in themselves — does this for Kant involve an abstraction from all our faculties or just from sensibility? Favored by the text, yet often ignored or dismissed as a mistake, the latter option suggests: Appearances are manifolds combined by our understanding as they appear to us qua sensibility; things in themselves are those same products of mental combination apart from how they appear to us. This reading helps clarify the two-part structure of the Transcendental Deduction in B. It also shows that Kant did not undermine his own anti-sceptical strategy through talk of an ultimate reality upon which we exercise our cognitive faculties.

Book Cover of "Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. Ein kooperativer Kommentar"

“The Categorical Imperative” in Otfried Höffe, ed.: Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. Ein kooperativer Kommentar (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann 1989, 1993, 2000, 2010), 172–193; reprinted with revisions in Paul Guyer, ed.: Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield 1998), 189–213.    Chinese

   Abstract: This essay presents a unified interpretation of Kant’s reconstruction of morality in the Groundwork and second Critique, based on Formulas I, Ia, II, and IIIa of the categorical imperative. Kant wants these formulas to be equivalent (G 436), and I take this not as an assertion (as if each formula had an entirely clear meaning on its own), but as a prescription: The subsidiary formulas make distinctive contributions to the clarification and specification of the categorical imperative — they gradually enrich its meaning, until at last its full import can be understood. And once fully understood, the categorical imperative can then be read back into each of these formulas so as to make them equivalent as Kant demands. This exercise leads to several departures from the received interpretation of Kant. Most important among these is the following: The categorical imperative requires that agents be able to will that their maxim become a universal law. Book Cover of "Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals"Following a suggestion by Tim Scanlon, I argue that what is to be universalized here is the permission to act as the maxim envisions: the categorical imperative requires that agents be able to will the universal availability of their maxim. While the conventional reading has Kant assert that I am permitted to act on a maxim if and only if I can will all others to act on it as well, I read Kant as asserting that I am permitted to act on a maxim if and only if I can will all others to be permitted to act on it as well. This reading of Kant is more plausible not only textually, but also systematically, because it makes his account more sensitive to what human beings and their world are actually like. Whether one can will a universal permission to remain childless will depend on whether or not this permission would lead to the extinction of rational beings on this planet.

Kant’s Theory of Justice” in Kant-Studien 79/4 (Winter 1988), 407–433; reprinted in Richard Arneson, ed.: Liberalism (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 1992), 586–612; reprinted in Julian Nida-Rümelin and Wilhelm Vossenkuhl, eds.: Ethische und politische Freiheit (Berlin: de Gruyter 1998), 78–107; reprinted in B. Sharon Byrd and Joachim Hruschka, eds.: Kant and Law (London: Routledge 2006), 41–68.    Chinese

   Abstract: Drawing a sharp distinction within morality between the doctrine of right (Recht) and the doctrine of virtue, Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals and late political essays mark a significant shift in his thinking. Out of these later writings I reconstruct a reasonably systematic conception of justice, centering around the consistency, universality, and enlightenment principles, lexically ordered. This reconstructed conception provides a cogent rationale for many of Kant’s substantive conclusions (some of which, e.g. those regarding women and servants, are themselves quite implausible). Other conclusions, such as the asserted absolute duty of obedience to authority, by contrast, turn out to involve non-moral presuppositions that may need to be modified in light of subsequent experience with political institutions. As reconstructed, Kant’s conception of justice also supports some interesting extensions, notably in the area of international justice.











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