Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness

Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness

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Kant is often portrayed as the author of a rigid system of ethics in which adherence to a formal and universal principle of morality - the famous categorical imperative - is an end itself, and any concern for human goals and happiness a strictly secondary and subordinate matter. Such a theory seems to suit perfectly rational beings but not human beings. The twelve essays in this collection by one of the world's preeminent Kant scholars argue for a radically different account of Kant's ethics. They explore an interpretation of the moral philosophy according to which freedom is the fundamental end of human action, but an end that can only be preserved and promoted by adherence to moral law. By radically revising the traditional interpretation of Kant's moral and political philosophy and by showing how Kant's coherent liberalism can guide us in current debates, Paul Guyer will find an audience across moral and political philosophy, intellectual history, and political science.show more

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Review quote

"I^Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness is a well-researched and well-argued contribution to Kantian studies.I^Kant on Freedom, Law, and Happiness is an important book in Kantian studies that advances a unifying vision of Kant's practical philosophy. The change of view that Guyer advocates is welcome and reveals a side of Kant that has perhaps been veiled for too long. Although the book will undoubtedly be of interest to anyone studying Kant's practical philosophy in a scholarly manner, it may also be of interest to the general reader of philosophy who is prepared to approach the book with the patience and tenacity that Guyer's extended arguments often demand. In either case readers will be rewarded for their efforts with a deeper understanding of both Kant and of central philosophical issues related to freedom, happiness and morality." --Metapsychology Online Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Introduction; Acknowledgments; Note on translations and citations; Part I. Origins: 1. Mendelssohn and Kant: one source of the critical philosophy; 2. The unity of reason: pure reason as practical reason in Kant's early conception of the transcendental dialectic; 3. Freedom as the 'inner value of the world'; Part II. Principles: 4. Kant's Morality of Law and Morality of Freedom; 5. The possibility of the Categorical imperative; 6. The strategy of the Groundwork; Part III. Duties: 7. Kantian foundations for Liberalism; 8. Life, Liberty, and property: Rawls and Kant; 9. Moral worth, virtue and merit; Part IV. Hopes: 10. From a practical point of view: Kant's conception of a postulate of pure practical reason; 11. Nature, freedom and happiness: the third proposition of Kant's 'Idea for a Universal History'; 12. Nature, morality and the possibility of peace; Index.show more