Kantian Commitments: Essays on Moral Theory and Practice

ISBN : 9780192844965

Barbara Herman
240 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Kantian Commitments comprises ten essays that represent a series of efforts to rethink many of the fundamentals of Kant's ethics and to draw out some implications for moral theory and practice. The essays of Part One revisit and revise central pieces of Kant's moral framework, offering a new understanding of the formulas of the categorical imperative, revisiting the idea of exceptions to duties, and sharpening the contrast between the value commitments of Kantian theory and other deontologies (especially recent contractualisms). The working hypothesis is to take seriously the idea that the formulas of the categorical imperative frame an account of moral reasoning with standards of validity and soundness that enable moral judgment to explicate the connection between our rational natures and our duties. Part Two takes on some less central but important topics which are informed by the arguments of Part One: the rationale for Kant's moralized view of history; the implications of a Kantian view of morality for social pluralism; the fit of Kant's conception of moral psychology with affect-centered theories of human development; the motivation behind Kant's argument for indirect duties to animals; and the place of the idea of the highest good in a morally good life. The overall aim of the essays is to explore core Kantian commitments through a program of inquiry that peels away assumptions often brought to Kant's texts that introduce questions their arguments were not meant to answer. Removing these obstacles clarifies the ambition and scale of Kantian theory.


PART ONE: Rethinking Kant's Ethics
1 Reasoning to Obligation
2 The Difference That Ends Make
3 Making Exceptions
4 A Mismatch of Methods
5 Kantian Commitments
PART TWO: Looking Outside and Within
6 A Habitat for Humanity
7 Morality Unbounded
8 We are Not Alone: A Place for Animals in Kant s Ethics
9 Other to Self: Where Love is on the Path to Moral Agency
10 Religion and The Highest Good: Speaking to the Heart of Even the Best of Us


Barbara Herman is the Griffin Professor of Philosophy at UCLA. She previously held appointments at the University of Southern California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Practice of Moral Judgment (Harvard, 1993), Moral Literacy (Harvard, 2007), and The Moral Habitat (OUP, 2021), and was the editor of John Rawls's Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (Harvard, 2000).