On Two Non‐Realist Interpretations of Kant's Ethics

Karl Ameriks

in Interpreting Kant's Critiques

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199247318
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601699 | DOI:
 On Two Non‐Realist Interpretations of Kant's Ethics

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History of Western Philosophy


Show Summary Details


Turns to questions about the ultimate nature of the content of Kant’s ethical theory. It criticizes aspects of the very influential constructivist reading of Kant’s ethics, originated by John Rawls and his students and employed in Jerome Schneewind’s important account of the history of modern ethics. There are historical and systematic reasons for allowing a much more positive relation between Kant’s ethical theory and moral realism. As with his theoretical philosophy, Kant’s arguments against the metaphysical tradition can be understood as anything but global and complete and as aimed primarily at very specific forms of dogmatic objectivism or relativism. The second half of the chapter points out some ways in which this realist approach can begin to respond to the most obvious objection to it (raised recently by Charles Larmore, namely that it may not do justice to Kant’s special emphasis on autonomy. It argues that Kant’s notion of autonomy does not in fact have the overly subjective implications that are commonly ascribed to it by its opponents – and that also are often assumed, or even glorified, by many who call themselves followers of Kant.

Keywords: autonomy; constructivism; moral realism; self-governance; skepticism; transcendental idealism

Chapter.  10416 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.