Download Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical by Onora O'Neill PDF

By Onora O'Neill

Centuries when they have been released, Kant's moral writings are as a lot prominent and imitated as they've got ever been, but severe and long-standing accusations of inner incoherence stay unresolved. Onora O'Neill strains the alleged incoherences to makes an attempt to assimilate Kant's moral writings to fashionable conceptions of rationality, motion and rights. while the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly diversified and extra cohesive account of cause and morality emerges. Kant deals a "constructivist" vindication of cause and an ethical imaginative and prescient during which tasks are sooner than rights and during which justice and advantage are associated. O'Neill starts through reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical approach, cause, freedom, autonomy and motion. She then strikes directly to the extra frequent terrain of interpretation of the explicit critical, whereas within the final part she emphasizes modifications among Kant's ethics and up to date "Kantian" ethics, together with the paintings of John Rawls and different modern liberal political philosophers.

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Extra info for Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy

Sample text

The grounding of reason Kant's most basic move in seeking to explain the grounds and limits of human reason is his claim that practical uses of reason are more fundamental than theoretical uses of reason. He offers various lines of argument against the priority or independence of theoretical uses of reason. These include his claims that theoretical chains of reasoning are intrinsically incompletable, since they unavoidably lead to antinomies, as well as his particular form of explanation of the compatibility of human freedom and natural necessity.

We may want speculative knowledge of a transcendent reality; but we find ourselves on "the plain of experience". The conception of reason's authority as constituted in the process of the self-discipline of thought and action must, even if it yields only negative instruction, provide at least for these needs. It may be that, as with other building projects, these needs could be met in many ways; but there are ways of thinking or acting, as there are ways of building, that are self-defeating. We get only negative instruction, and are left with perennial disagreements.

Abstract rules or algorithms do not show why those whose thinking and acting is not already coordinated will agree on them or (if they happen to agree to the abstract rule) will agree on the initial conditions under which a given rule or algorithm may be deployed. Although we often need to think of reason in abstraction from acts of reasoning we cannot, unless we think that reasoning has a transcendent basis and is inscribed in each of us, think that specific rules and algorithms are what is fundamental to reason.

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