In Kant's Human Being, Robert B. Louden continues and deepens avenues of research first initiated in his highly acclaimed book, Kant's Impure Ethics. Drawing on a wide variety of both published and unpublished works spanning all periods of Kant's extensive writing career, Louden here focuses on Kant's under-appreciated empirical work on human nature, with particular attention to the connections between this body of work and his much-discussed ethical theory. Kant repeatedly claimed that the question, "What is the human being" is philosophy's most fundamental question, one that encompasses all others. Louden analyzes and evaluates Kant's own answer to his question, showing how it differs from other accounts of human nature. This collection of twelve essays is divided into three parts. In Part One (Human Virtues), Louden explores the nature and role of virtue in Kant's ethical theory, showing how the conception of human nature behind Kant's virtue theory results in a virtue ethics that is decidedly different from more familiar Aristotelian virtue ethics programs. In Part Two (Ethics and Anthropology), he uncovers the dominant moral message in Kant's anthropological investigations, drawing new connections between Kant's work on human nature and his ethics. Finally, in Part Three (Extensions of Anthropology), Louden explores specific aspects of Kant's theory of human nature developed outside of his anthropology lectures, in his works on religion, geography, education ,and aesthetics, and shows how these writings substantially amplify his account of human beings. Kant's Human Being offers a detailed and multifaceted investigation of the question that Kant held to be the most important of all, and will be of interest not only to philosophers but also to all who are concerned with the study of human nature.
Philosophers, anthropologists and biologists have long puzzled over the question of human nature. It is also a question that Kant thought about deeply and returned to in many of his writings. In this lucid and wide-ranging introduction to Kant’s philosophy of human nature - which is essential for understanding his thought as a whole - Patrick R. Frierson assesses Kant’s theories and examines his critics. He begins by explaining how Kant articulates three ways of addressing the question ‘what is the human being?’: the transcendental, the empirical, and the pragmatic. He then considers some of the great theorists of human nature who wrestle with Kant’s views, such as Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud; contemporary thinkers such as E.O.Wilson and Daniel Dennett, who have sought biological explanations of human nature; Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, and Clifford Geertz, who emphasize the diversity of human beings in different times and places; and existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Heidegger. He argues that whilst these approaches challenge and enrich Kant’s views in significant ways, all suffer from serious weaknesses that Kant’s anthropology can address. Taking a core insight of Kant’s - that human beings are fundamentally free but finite - he argues that it is the existentialists, particularly Sartre, who are the most direct heirs of his transcendental anthropology. The final part of the book is an extremely helpful overview of the work of contemporary philosophers, particularly Christine Korsgaard and Jürgen Habermas. Patrick R. Frierson explains how these philosophers engage with questions of naturalism, historicism, and existentialism while developing Kantian conceptions of the human being. Including chapter summaries and annotated further reading, What is the Human Being? is an outstanding introduction to some fundamental aspects of Kant’s thought and a judicious assessment of leading theories of human nature. It is essential reading for all students of Kant and the philosophy of human nature, as well as those in related disciplines such as anthropology, politics and sociology.
This study examines and assesses the second part of Kant's ethics - which determines how best to apply pure principles to the human situation. It reassesses Kantian ethics as a whole, once this second part is re-admitted to its rightful place within Kant's practical philosophy.
Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason was written late in his career. It presents a theory of 'radical evil' in human nature, touches on the issue of divine grace, develops a Christology, and takes a seemingly strong interest in the issue of scriptural interpretation. The essays in this Critical Guide explore the reasons why this is so, and offer careful and illuminating interpretations of the themes of the work. The relationship of Kant's Religion to his other writings is discussed in ways that underscore the importance of this work for the entire Critical philosophy, and provide a broad perspective on his moral thought; connections are also drawn between religion, history, and politics in Kant's later thinking. Together the essays offer a rich exploration of the work which will be of great interest to those involved in Kant studies and philosophy of religion.
In the past few decades a remarkable change occurred in Kant scholarship: the "other" Kant has been discovered, i.e. the one of the doctrine of virtue and the anthropology. Through the rediscovery of Kant's investigations into the empirical and sensuous aspects of knowledge, our understanding of Kant's philosophy has been enriched by an important element that has allowed researchers to correct supposed deficiencies in Kant's work. In addition, further questions concerning the nature of Kant's philosophy itself have been formulated: the more the "other" Kant comes to the fore, the stronger the question concerning the connection between pure philosophy and empirical investigation becomes. The aim of this study is to show that the psychological and anthropological interpretations of Kant's pure philosophy are not convincing and at the same time to illustrate some connections between his critical and anthropological investigations by means of an analysis of the theory of the faculties. Against both a "transcendental psychological" and an "anthropological" reading, the book presents Kant's theory of the facultiesas a constitutive part of his critical philosophy andshows that there is a close connection between Kant's pure philosophy and his moral aesthetic.
Other works on Kant and on his Critical Philosophy attempt either to remove Kant's transcendental idealism from his system or to defend it as being essential to the Kantian enterprise. In Kant's Idealism, Professor Neujahr argues - he may be the first to do so - that there is no single doctrine that is Kant's transcendental idealism to either explain or explain away. In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claims to present a distinctive form of idealism he calls "transcendental" idealism and that he contrasts with the "empirical" idealism of his predecessors. Professor Neujahr argues that on the contrary there is no single form of idealism in Kant's system and no simple contrast between Kant's transcendental idealism and the idealist doctrines of his philosophical forebears. Neujahr finds (and clearly delineates) "strands of idealism" in Kant's philosophy. He argues that the source of these various forms of idealism is the conflicting demands of Kant's theories of perception (sensibility) and thought (understanding). How in fact a subject relates to an object finds no single unified explanation in the Critical Philosophy of Kant. Indeed, in spite of Kant's efforts to combine his various theories into a single theory of experience, his doctrines of perception and thought do not fit together. It is, Neujahr contends, this lack of fit that ultimately prevents there being any single transcendental version of idealism in Kant's system. This also helps explain why Kant's system is so difficult. Neujahr's critical review of that system in Kant's Idealism may be the "handle" needed to get hold of Kant's notoriously difficult but potentially very useful Critical Philosophy.
Kant is often considered the source of the contemporary idea of human dignity, but his conception of human dignity and its relation to human value and the requirement to respect others have not been widely understood. Kant on Human Dignity offers the first in-depth study in English of this subject. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the relevant passages in Kant as well as an analysis of the famous arguments for a value of human beings in the Kant literature, the book provides a thorough interpretation of Kant’s conception of human dignity that brings out the unity of Kant’s moral thought.
Authors from all over the world unite in an effort to cultivate dialogue between Asian and Western philosophy. The papers forge a new, East-West comparative path on the whole range of issues in Kant studies. The concept of personhood, crucial for both traditions, serves as a springboard to address issues such as knowledge acquisition and education, ethics and self-identity, religious/political community building, and cross-cultural understanding. Edited by Stephen Palmquist, founder of the Hong Kong Philosophy Café and well known for both his Kant expertise and his devotion to fostering philosophical dialogue, the book presents selected and reworked papers from the first ever Kant Congress in Hong Kong, held in May 2009. Among others the contributors are Patricia Kitcher (New York City, USA), Günther Wohlfahrt (Wuppertal, Germany), Cheng Chung-ying (Hawaii, USA), Sammy Xie Xia-ling (Shanghai, China), Lau Chong-fuk (Hong Kong), Anita Ho (Vancouver/Kelowna, Canada), Ellen Zhang (Hong Kong), Pong Wen-berng (Taipei, Taiwan), Simon Xie Shengjian (Melbourne, Australia), Makoto Suzuki (Aichi, Japan), Kiyoshi Himi (Mie, Japan), Park Chan-Goo (Seoul, South Korea), Chong Chaeh-yun (Seoul, South Korea), Mohammad Raayat Jahromi (Tehran, Iran), Mohsen Abhari Javadi (Qom, Iran), Soraj Hongladarom (Bangkok, Thailand), Ruchira Majumdar (Kolkata, India), A.T. Nuyen (Singapore), Stephen Palmquist (Hong Kong), Christian Wenzel (Taipei, Taiwan), Mario Wenning (Macau).