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Arendt, Hannah, , . Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy
1982, University of Chicago Press.
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Publisher’s Note: Hannah Arendt’s last philosophical work was an intended three-part project entitled The Life of the Mind. Unfortunately, Arendt lived to complete only the first two parts, Thinking and Willing. Of the third, Judging, only the title page, with epigraphs from Cato and Goethe, was found after her death. As the titles suggest, Arendt conceived of her work as roughly parallel to the three Critiques of Immanuel Kant. In fact, while she began work on The Life of the Mind, Arendt lectured on “Kant’s Political Philosophy,” using the Critique of Judgment as her main text. The present volume brings Arendt’s notes for these lectures together with other of her texts on the topic of judging and provides important clues to the likely direction of Arendt’s thinking in this area.

Comment: This book provides a good overview of Arendt’s perspective on Kant’s political philosophy. Previous knowledge on Kant is needed.

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Baron, Marcia, , . A Kantian Take on the Supererogatory
2016, Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (4):347-362
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Abstract: This article presents a Kantian alternative to the mainstream approach in ethics concerning the phenomena that are widely thought to require a category of the supererogatory. My view is that the phenomena do not require this category of imperfect duties. Elsewhere I have written on Kant on this topic; here I shift my focus away from interpretive issues and consider the pros and cons of the Kantian approach. What background assumptions would lean one to favour the Kantian approach and what sorts would lean one to favour the mainstream approach? I also consider the possibility that in institutional contexts, there is a need for the category of the supererogatory. Here, it seems, we do need to know what we really have to do and what is beyond the call of duty; in this context, however, duty is not the Kantian moral notion, but rather is pegged to particular roles, or to the needs of the institution or group or club of which one is a member. But even here, I argue, the notion of the supererogatory is not crucial.

Comment: Provocactive paper that challenges the need for a special category of supererogatory actions. Would make a good specialised reading on this topic, or a good further reading for a module addressing Kantian moral theory or moral obligation more generally.

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Baron, Marcia, , . Kantian Ethics Almost Without Apology
1995, Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Nomy Arpaly

Publisher’s Note: The emphasis on duly in Kant’s ethics is widely held to constitute a defect. Marcia W. Baron develops and assesses the criticism, which she sees as comprising two objections: that duty plays too large a role, leaving no room for the supererogatory, and that Kant places too much value on acting from duty. Clearly written and cogently argued, Kantian Ethics Almost without Apology takes on the most philosophically intriguing objections to Kant’s ethics and subjects them to a rigorous yet sympathetic assessment.

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Deligiorgi, Katerina, , . Hegel’s Moral Philosophy
2017, In Dean Moyar (ed.), Oxford Handbook to Hegel’s Philosophy. Oxford University Press
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Abstract: Hegel’s criticism of morality, or Moralität, has had a decisive influence in the reception of his thought. By general acknowledgment, while his writings support a broadly neo-Aristotelian ethics of self-actualization, his views on moral philosophy are exhausted by his criticisms of Kant, whom he treats as paradigmatic exponent of the standpoint of morality. The aim of this chapter is to correct this received view and show that Hegel offers a positive conception of moral willing. The main argument is presented in two parts: (a) an interpretation of the ‘Morality’ section of the Philosophy of Right that shows Hegel defending a guise of the good version of willing; and (b) an examination of problems raised by this view of willing, some of which are anticipated by Hegel in in his treatment of the ‘Idea of the Good’ in the Logic, and of the interpretative options available to deal with these problems.

Comment: A useful account of Hegel’s position in moral philosophy focusing on his relation to Kant. Could be used on an ethics course when covering Hegel, either as supplementary to a reading from Hegel or as primary reading introducing a further reading by Hegel the following week.

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Foot, Philippa, , . Virtues and Vices
1978, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by: Nomy Arpaly

Publisher’s Note: This collection of essays, written between 1957 and 1977, contains discussions of the moral philosophy of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and some modern philosophers. It presents virtues and vices rather than rights and duties as the central concepts in moral philosophy. Throughout, the author rejects contemporary anti? naturalistic moral philosophies such as emotivism and prescriptivism, but defends the view that moral judgements may be hypothetical rather than (as Kant thought) categorical imperatives. The author also applies her moral philosophy to the current debates on euthanasia and abortion, the latter discussed in relation to the doctrine of the double effect. She argues against the suggestion, on the part of A. J. Ayer and others, that free will actually requires determinism. In a final essay, she asks whether the concept of moral approval can be understood except against a particular background of social practices.

Comment: Foot stands out among contemporary ethical theorists because of her conviction that virtues and vices are more central ethical notions than rights, duties, justice, or consequences. Since the author discusses multiple relevant topics (abortion, euthanasia, free will/determination, and the ethics of Hume and Nietzsche) this book is a really complete reading for Ethics courses. The book can be used in both, undergraduate and postgraduate courses, but the last eight essays are more suitable for postgraduates.

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Ginsborg, Hannah, , . Aesthetic Judgment and Perceptual Normativity
2006, Inquiry 49(5): 403-437.
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Added by: Ben McGorrigan, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: I draw a connection between the question, raised by Hume and Kant, of how aesthetic judgments can claim universal agreement, and the question, raised in recent discussions of nonconceptual content, of how concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. Developing an idea suggested by Kant’s linkage of aesthetic judgment with the capacity for empirical conceptualization, I propose that both questions can be resolved by appealing to the idea of “perceptual normativity”. Perceptual experience, on this proposal, involves the awareness of its own appropriateness with respect to the object perceived, where this appropriateness is more primitive than truth or veridicality. This means that a subject can take herself to be perceiving an object as she (and anyone else) ought to perceive it, without first recognizing the object as falling under a corresponding concept. I motivate the proposal through a criticism of Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition, which, I argue, rests on a confusion between the notion of a way something is perceived, and that of a way it is perceived as being. Whereas Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition depends on an illicit slide between these two notions, the notion of perceptual normativity allows a legitimate transition between them: if someone’s perceiving something a certain way involves her taking it that she ought to perceive it that way, then she perceives the thing as being a certain way, so that the corresponding concept is available to her in perceptual experience.

Comment: This paper will mainly be of relevance in relation to the antinomy or paradox of taste, a problem famously examined by Hume and Kant. It may also be of use in relation to topics in the Philosophy of Perception or Epistemology, or in teaching on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Ginsbourg presents a very thorough discussion of the notion that perceptions make concepts available by involving implicit claims to their own appropriateness; she uses this idea to make an interesting and plausible contribution to the debate regarding the antinomy of taste.

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Herman, Barbara, , . On the Value of Acting From the Motive of Duty
1981, Philosophical Review 90(3): 359-382.
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Abstract: Richard Henson attempts to take the sting out of this view of Kant on moral worth by arguing (i) that attending to the phenomenon of the overdetermination of actions leads one to see that Kant might have had two distinct views of moral worth, only one of which requires the absence of cooperating inclinations, and (ii) that when Kant insists that there is moral worth only when an action is done from the motive of duty alone, he need not also hold that such a state of affairs is morally better, all things considered, than one where supporting inclination is present. Henson’s proposals seem to me both serious and plausible. I do not think that either of his models, in the end, can take on the role Kant assigns to moral worth in the argument of the Groundwork. But seeing the ways Henson’s account diverges from Kant’s makes clearer what Kant intended in his discussion of those actions he credits with moral worth. […] An action has moral worth if it is required by duty and has as its primary motive the motive of duty. The motive of duty need not reflect the only interest the agent has in the action (or its effect); it must, however, be the interest that determines the agent’s acting as he did.

Comment: This article is a good discussion of the issue of acting out of inclination as opposed to duty in Kant’s philosophy. It would provide a useful perspective on that issue in a course on Kant’s philosophy. As it engages with R.G. Henson’s argument on the subject, it would be usefully taught wherever his work is, but it could also be taught in isolation from it as familiarity with Henson’s work is not required to understand the article.

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Hills, Alison, , . Is ethics rationally required?
2004, Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 47(1): 1-19.
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Abstract: Sidgwick argued that utilitarianism was not rationally required because it could not be shown that a utilitarian theory of practical reason was better justified than a rival egoist theory of practical reason: there is a ‘dualism of practical reason’ between utilitarianism and egoism. In this paper, it is demonstrated that the dualism argument also applies to Kant’s moral theory, the moral law. A prudential theory that is parallel to the moral law is devised, and it is argued that the moral law is no better justified than this prudential theory. So the moral law is not rationally required. It is suggested that the dualism argument is a completely general argument that ethics cannot be rationally required.

Comment: This is a good and fairly accessible argument that casts doubt on the project of deriving morality from reason. It can be used alongside Kantian approaches to metaethics or reasons constituvism.

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Hursthourse, Rosalind, , . On Virtue Ethics
2000, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Back Matter: Virtue ethics is perhaps the most important development within late twentieth-century moral philosophy. Rosalind Hursthouse, who has made notable contributions to this development, now presents a full exposition and defence of her neo-Aristotelian version of virtue ethics. She shows how virtue ethics can provide guidance for action, illuminate moral dilemmas, and bring out the moral significance of the emotions. Deliberately avoiding a combative stance, she finds less disagreement between Kantian and neo-Aristotelian approaches than is usual, and she offers the first account from a virtue ethics perspective of acting ‘from a sense of duty’. She considers the question which character traits are virtues, and explores how answers to this question can be justified by appeal to facts about human nature. Written in a clear, engaging style which makes it accessible to non-specialists, On Virtue Ethics will appeal to anyone with an interest in moral philosophy.

Comment: The Introduction provides an excellent overview of virtue ethics and its relations with other moral theories. It makes for a perfect main reading for units on virtue ethics in general ethics modules. Chapter 4 offers a valuable discussion of deontology, and other chapters are best used as further reading, or as main readings in modules devoted fully to virtue ethics.

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Kitcher, Patricia, , . Kant’s Thinker
2011, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Charlotte Sabourin

Abstract: The book presents Kant’s theory of the cognitive subject. It begins by setting the stage for his discussions of the unity and power of ‘apperception’ by presenting the attempts of his predecessors to explain the nature of the self and of self-consciousness, and the relation between self-consciousness and object cognition. The central chapters lay out the structure of the transcendental deduction, the argument from cognition to the necessary unity of apperception, and the relations among his theories of the unity and power of apperception, the ‘psychological ideal,’ and the ‘noumenal’ self. Later chapters draw on this material to offer a more precise account of his criticism that the Rational Psychologists failed to understand the unique character of the representation ‘I-think’ and to defend Kant against the charges that his theory of cognition and apperception is inconsistent or psychologistic. The concluding chapters present Kantian alternatives to recent theories of the activities of the self in cognition and moral action, the self-ascription of belief, knowledge of other minds, the appropriate explananda for theories of consciousness, and the efficacy of ‘transcendental’ arguments.

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Kleingeld, Pauline, , . Kant and Cosmopolitanism: The Philosophical Ideal of World Citizenship
2011, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Charlotte Sabourin

Publisher’s Note: This is the first comprehensive account of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, highlighting its moral, political, legal, economic, cultural, and psychological aspects. Contrasting Kant’s views with those of his German contemporaries, and relating them to current debates, Pauline Kleingeld sheds new light on texts that have been hitherto neglected or underestimated. In clear and carefully argued discussions, she shows that Kant’s philosophical cosmopolitanism underwent a radical transformation in the mid 1790s and that the resulting theory is philosophically stronger than is usually thought. Using the work of figures such as Fichte, Cloots, Forster, Hegewisch, Wieland, and Novalis, Kleingeld analyzes Kant’s arguments regarding the relationship between cosmopolitanism and patriotism, the importance of states, the ideal of an international federation, cultural pluralism, race, global economic justice, and the psychological feasibility of the cosmopolitan ideal. In doing so, she reveals a broad spectrum of positions in cosmopolitan theory that are relevant to current discussions of cosmopolitanism.

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Kleingeld, Pauline, , . Moral consciousness and the ‘fact of reason’
2010, In Andrews Reath & Jens Timmermann (eds.), Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Charlotte Sabourin

Abstract: At the heart of the argument of the Critique of Practical Reason, one finds Kant’s puzzling and much-criticized claim that the consciousness of the moral law can be called a ‘fact of reason’. In this essay, I clarify the meaning and the importance of this claim. I correct misunderstandings of the term ‘Factum’, situate the relevant passages within their argumentative context, and argue that Kant’s argument can be given a consistent reading on the basis of which the main questions and criticisms can be answered.

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Korsgaard, Christine M., , . Creating the Kingdom of Ends
1996, Cambridge University Press
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Jojanneke Vanderveen

Publisher’s Note: Christine Korsgaard has become one of the leading interpreters of Kant’s moral philosophy. She is identified with a small group of philosophers who are intent on producing a version of Kant’s moral philosophy that is at once sensitive to its historical roots while revealing its particular relevance to contemporary problems. She rejects the traditional picture of Kant’s ethics as a cold vision of the moral life which emphasises duty at the expense of love and value. Rather, Kant’s work is seen as providing a resource for addressing not only the metaphysics of morals, but also for tackling practical questions about personal relations, politics, and everyday human interaction. This collection contains some of the finest current work on Kant’s ethics and will command the attention of all those involved in teaching and studying moral theory.

Comment: Very important contemporary defense of Kantian ethics. In an ethics/deontology class, Korsgaard should not be missed.

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Korsmeyer, Carolyn, , . Taste as Sense and as Sensibility
1997, Philosophical Topics 25 (1):201-230.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Philosophers occasionally take note of the degree to which their theories make use of metaphoric language. Plato may have been the first to call attention to the heuristic use of sensory images to illuminate the world of abstractions, but twentieth-century thinkers have been particulalry reflective on the subject. Metaphors, remarks Iris Murdoch, are “fundamental forms of our awareness of our condition: metaphors of space, metaphors of movement, metaphors of vision.” Philosophical systems, she believes, can often be understood as explorations of centrally important images. Indeed, it seems to her “impossible to discuss certain kinds of concepts without resort to metaphor, since the concepts are themselves deeply metaphorical, and cannot be analyzed into non-metaphorical components without a loss of substance.” Mark Johnson agrees and obeserves that recent discoveries in cognitive science provide empirical evidence for claims about metaphor that previously were largely intuitive, namely, that “metaphor is not merely a linguistic phenomenon, but more fundamentallly, a conceptual and experiential process that structures our world.

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Massimi, Michaela, , . Why There are No Ready-Made Phenomena: What Philosophers of Science Should Learn From Kant
2008, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 63:1-35.
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Abstract: The debate on scientific realism has raged among philosophers of science for decades. The scientific realist’s claim that science aims to give us a literally true description of the way things are, has come under severe scrutiny and attack by Bas van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. All science aims at is to save the observable phenomena, according to van Fraassen. Scientific realists have faced since a main sceptical challenge: the burden is on them to prove that the entities postulated by our scientific theories are real and that science is still in the ‘truth’ business.

Comment: This article provides a very clear explanation of the scientific realism/Van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism debate highlighting scientific realists’ main difficulty, i.e find a proof that entities posited by science are real. Presupposes some background on the above mentioned themes.

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