Kant's Search for the Supreme Principle of Morality

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Dezember 2004



At the core of Kant's ethics lies the claim that if there is a supreme principle of morality, then it is not a utilitarian or Aristotelian perfectionist principle, or even a principle resembling the Ten Commandments. The only viable candidate for the supreme principle of morality is the Categorial Imperative. This book is the most detailed investigation of thie claim. It constructs a new, criterial reading of Kant's derivation of one version of the Categorial Imperative: The Formula of Universal Law. This reading shows this derivation to be far more compelling than contemporary philosophers tend to believe. It also reveals a novel approach to deriving another version of the Categorial Imperative, the Formula of Humanity, a principle widely considered to be the most attractive Kantian candidate for the supreme principle of morality. Lucidly written and dealing with a foundational topic in the history of ethics, this book will be important not just for Kant scholars but for a broad swath of students of philosophy. Samuel Kerstein is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park


Acknowledgments; Key to abbreviations and translations; Introduction: derivation, deduction, and the supreme principle of morality; 1. Fundamental concepts in Kant's theory of agency; 2. Transcendental freedom and the derivation of the formula of universal law; 3. The derivation of the formula of humanity; 4. The derivation of the formula of universal law: a criterial reading; 5. Criteria for the supreme principle of morality; 6. Duty and moral worth; 7. Eliminating rivals to the categorical imperative; 8. Conclusions: Kant's candidates for the supreme principle of morality; Notes; Index.


'... the author joins the discussion of the grounds for a moral theory that has preoccupied philosophers for some time, and advances that discussion significantly further. This is a book that will be required reading for those interested in that topic of Kant's moral theory.' Roger Sullivan, author of Immanuel Kant's Moral Theory and An Introduction to Kant's Ethics
EAN: 9780521009270
ISBN: 0521009278
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Dezember 2004
Seitenanzahl: 244 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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