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Community and Progress in Kant's Moral Philosophy

Kate A. Moran

Publication Year: 2012

The text draws on a wide range of Immanuel Kant's writings, including his texts on moral and political philosophy and his lectures on ethics, pedagogy, and anthropology. Though the book is grounded in an analysis of Kant's writing, it also puts forward the novel claim that Kant's theory is centrally concerned with the relationships we have in our day-to-day lives.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful to many people for their assistance and encouragement during the development of this project. This book began as a Ph.D. thesis at the University of Pennsylvania, and I owe the sincerest thanks to the faculty who worked with me on the project, most especially to my thesis advisor, Paul Guyer, ...

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pp. 1-24

This book is a defense of the crucial role of community in Kant’s moral philosophy. Over the course of the chapters that follow, I argue that Kant’s moral theory reserves a central role for community in two distinct and ultimately related ways. ...

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1. Kant’s Concept of the Highest Good

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pp. 25-97

We have seen that many critics charge Kant with having an atomistic, ahistorical, and undesirably individualistic moral theory. However, when we take into account the fact that Kant’s moral theory places value upon agents who set and pursue ends for themselves, it becomes clear that Kant’s moral theory is one that has the foundational apparatus ...

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2. Moral Action and Moral Development: The Mechanisms of Progress

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pp. 98-126

In the last chapter, we saw that Kant’s moral philosophy is teleological in a sense not typically acknowledged by many of his critics. Specifically, the end sought by Kantian morality is one of an ethical community, realizable on earth, rather than merely hoped for or expected in the afterlife. ...

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3. Moral Education and Moral Progress

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pp. 127-167

In this chapter, we make a transition. The previous chapters have laid the foundation for a study of institutions that help bring about moral progress and the highest good. We have seen that Kant’s most mature and consistent conception of the highest good describes the end of morality as being achievable within a community of agents in the course of human history. ...

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4. Friendship and Moral Improvement

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pp. 168-203

One common and troubling criticism of Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy centers around the claim that his system has no room for the intimate attachments, such as friendship, that seem, intuitively, to be part of any description of a complete life. There are at least two versions of this criticism. ...

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5. Civil Society and the Highest Good

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pp. 204-240

This chapter examines the ways in which participation in civil society can further a community’s progress toward the highest good by contributing either to greater virtue or to greater happiness among a society’s members. Correspondingly, the discussion is divided into two main sections. ...

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Concluding Remarks

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pp. 241-252

The stated goal of the discussion in this book was to show that Kant’s moral philosophy makes room for, and indeed requires, a social element in a way not typically acknowledged by his critics. We have seen that this is true in at least two senses. First, the goal of Kant’s moral system is, itself, a kind of ethical community. ...


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pp. 253-258


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pp. 259-264

E-ISBN-13: 9780813219530
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813219523

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1