Constructions of Reason : Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy
Two centuries after they were published, Kant's ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O'Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempt to assimilate Kant's ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a `constructivist' vindication of reason and a moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O'Neill begins by reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, automony and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasises differences between Kant's ethics and recent 'Kantian' ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers. This reassessment will add significantly to the understanding of Kantian practical philosophy.
- Paperback | 264 pages
- 152 x 227 x 13mm | 320g
- 01 Mar 1990
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- black & white illustrations
Table of contents
Part I. Reason and Critique: 1. Reason and politics in the Kantian enterprise; 2. The public use of reason; 3. Reason and autonomy in Grundlegung III; 4. Action, anthropology and autonomy; Part II. Maxims and Obligations: 5. Consistency in action; 6. Between consenting adults; 7. Universal laws and ends in themselves; 8. Kant after virtue; Part III. Kant's Ethics and Kantian Ethics: 9. The power of example; 10. Children's rights and children's lives; 11. Constructivisms in ethics; 12. The great maxims of justice and charity; Reference; Index.
"This collection of essays contains some of the most significant work on Kant's practical philosophy to have appeared in recent years. The essays are often speculative and sometimes sketchy (as the title indicates, they are explorations), but they are suggestive in helpful and constructive ways, and they contain many insightful discussions and developments of Kant's approach." Ethics "Constructions of Reason is rewarding reading." Review of Metaphysics