The Historical Connection to Immanuel Kant

James P. Sterba

in From Rationality to Equality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580767
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745836 | DOI:
The Historical Connection to Immanuel Kant

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The project of trying to argue from rationality to morality and then from morality to equality is inevitably associated with the moral and political philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This chapter takes up Kant's attempt to justify morality and argue that he relies too heavily on a commitment to an incompatibilist conception of freedom, failing to recognize that additional grounds are required if morality is to be shown to be rationally preferable to egoism. Moreover, the argument set out in Chapter 6 that begins with morality, in particular, a libertarian morality, and attempts to derive therefrom a requirement of substantial equality connects up with Kant's political philosophy, which has standardly been given a libertarian interpretation. It is shown, however, that this interpretation of Kant's work is mistaken and that his political philosophy really has a welfare liberal foundation.

Keywords: Kant; incompatibilist; morality; rationality; political philosophy; freedom; libertarian; welfare liberal

Chapter.  5447 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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