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Virtue, Rules, and Justice

Thomas E. Hill, Jr

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692002
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741241 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692002.001.0001
Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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This book interprets, explains, and extends Kant's moral theory in a series of chapters that highlight its relevance to contemporary ethics. The book is divided into four sections. The first three chapters cover basic themes: they introduce the major aspects of Kant's ethics; explain different interpretations of the Categorical Imperative; and sketch a ‘constructivist’ reading of Kantian normative ethics distinct from the Kantian constructivisms of Onora O'Neill and John Rawls. The next section is on virtue, and the chapters here discuss whether it is a virtue to regard the natural environment as intrinsically valuable, address puzzles about moral weakness, contrast ideas of virtue in Kant's ethics and in ‘virtue ethics’, and comment on duties to oneself, second-order duties, and moral motivation in Kant's Doctrine of Virtue. Four chapters on moral rules propose human dignity as a guiding value for a system of norms rather than a self-standing test for isolated cases, contrast the Kantian perspectives on moral rules with rule-utilitarianism and then with Jonathan Dancy's moral particularism, and distinguish often-conflated questions about moral relativism. The book goes on to outline a Kantian position on two central issues. In the last section of the book, three chapters on practical questions show how a broadly Kantian theory, if critical of Kant's official theory of law, might re-visit questions about revolution, prison reform, and forcible interventions in other countries for humanitarian purposes. The final chapter develops the implications of Kant's Doctrine of Virtue for the responsibility of by-standers to oppression.

Keywords: Kant; moral theory; Categorical Imperative; constructivism; virtue ethics; Doctrine of Virtue; moral particularism; theory of law

Book.  388 pages. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

General Introduction in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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Kant’s Ethical Theory: An Overview in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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Kantian Normative Ethics in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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Finding Value in Nature in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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Kant on Weakness of Will in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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Kantian Virtue and “Virtue Ethics” in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

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