MultiMedia Resources on Kantian Moral Philosophy
Lawrence M. Hinman:
Keynote Panel and Lectures: Interpreting the Categorical Imperative
- Kantian Ethics Conference 2003
Imperative” - Henry Allison
and the Second-Person Standpoint: - Stephen
- “Treating Criminals as Ends in Themselves”
- Thomas E. Hill, Jr
and Thine? The Kantian State" - Robert Pippin,
and Fichte on Property, Poverty and the State" - Allen Wood,
- "Interpreting the Categorical Imperative” -Andrews Reath, Barbara Herman, Allen Wood, Thomas
E. Hill, Jr
Video Papers :
A Survey of Internet Resources on Kant
Kant: Primary works in moral philosophy:
Internet sites about Kant:
Kant articles, papers, and lectures on-line
- Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Kant's
Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. A very brief selective summary
of sections I and II. (in PDF format). An excellent newly-available
- Brian Epstein, "Kant's
- Stephen Palmquist:
- R. M. Hare's "Could
Kant have been a Utilitarian?" An excerpt from Chapter 8 of his
book Sorting out ethics (Oxford University Press, 1997).
- Soshichi Uchii, Kyoto University, "Sidgwick's
Three Principles and Hare's Universalizability"
- Robert N. Johnson:
Incorporated, History of Philosophy Quarterly 15, No. 3, July 1998:
Conception of Virtue, in Jarhbuch für Recht und Ethik/Annual
Review of Law and Ethics Vol. 5, December, 1996:365-387
in Vain, Southern Journal of Philosophy Supplement: Spindel Conference
on Kant's "Metaphysics of Morals", 1997: 45-50
Conception of Merit, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77 (1996)
a Good Will: Kant on the Motive of Duty, Southern Journal of Philosophy,
Summer, 1996, XXXIV, No. 2.
Ethics, Supplement to the Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (NY: Macmillan,
of Marcia Baron, Kantian Ethics Almost Without Apology (Cornell
University Press, 1995), The Philosophical Review; 1995.
Hughes Cox, "Aristotle's Ordinary
versus Kant's Revisionist Definition of Virtue as Habit.' Paideia Project.
- Curtis Bowman, Kant
and the Project of Enlightenment,
- Lawrence M. Hinman, "On
the Purity of Our Moral Motives: A Critique of Kant's Account of the Emotions
and Acting for the Sake of Duty," The Monist, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April,
A Bibliographical Survey of Kantian Moral Philosophy
Bibliographical essays are drawn from Lawrence M. Hinman, Ethics:
A Pluralistic Approach to Moral Theory, 3rd Edition [Wadsworth, 2002] © 2002
Kantian Ethical Texts
Probably the most influential of Kant's works in ethics is his Groundwork
of a Metaphysics of Morals; H. J. Paton has done an excellent translation
and commentary, published as The Moral Law (London: Hutchinson University
Press, 1948); it is also available on-line.
Robert Paul Wolff edited a helpful volume containing the Groundwork and
a number of classic critical essays in his Kant: Foundations of the Metaphysics
of Morals. Text and Critical Essays (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969). Wolff's own commentary on the Groundwork is published as The
Autonomy of Reason (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1973). W. D. Ross's Kant's
Ethical Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964) and most of Bruce Aune's Kant's
Theory of Morals (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979) also provide
excellent commentaries on the Groundwork. Most recently, Thomas E. Hill,
Jr.'s Dignity and Practical Reason in Kant's Moral Theory (Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 1992) offers an insightful analysis of many of the main themes
in the Groundwork. H. B. Acton's Kant's Moral Philosophy (London:
Macmillan, 1970) provides a good, short introduction to Kant's ethics.
The Groundwork is just what its title implies: a groundwork or foundation
for later work in ethics. Kant completed it with two works: his Metaphysical
Elements of Justice, translated by John Ladd (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill,
1965) and his Doctrine of Virtue, translated by Mary Gregor (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964). The general place of ethics in Kant's
large philosophy is developed in his Critique of Practical Reason, translated
by Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956). See Lewis White Beck's
A Commentary on Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason' (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1960) for a thorough introduction to this important work of
Kant XE "Kant" 's. His views on a number of ethical issues are also
found in his Lectures on Ethics, translated by Louis Infield (New York:
Harper and Row, 1961), the often neglected Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point
of View (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974) in an excellent translation
by Mary Gregor, and his Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, translated
by Theodore M. Green and Hoyt H. Hudson (New York, Harper and Row, 1960), with
a superb introductory essay on Kant's ethics and religion by John Silber. His
moral philosophy is rounded out by his political writings, which have been translated
and edited in a helpful anthology by Hans Reiss as Kant's Political Writings
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).
Contemporary Kantian Philosohers
There are many contemporary philosophers who philosophize in the tradition
of Kant. Perhaps the most influential philosopher who works, broadly speaking,
within the Kantian tradition is John Rawls, especially his Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971). His most recent
work is Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993).
Some of the most interesting and sensitive work in the Kantian tradition includes
Thomas E. Hill, Jr. Hill's essays, especially "Servility and Self-Respect,"
reprinted in his Autonomy and Self Respect (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1991) and his Dignity and Practical Reason in Kant's Moral Theory
(Ithaca: Cornell, 1992); Onora O'Neill's numerous essays collected in
her Constructions of Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
as well as her earlier work, Acting on Principle (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1975, published under the name of Onora Nell), which addresses
the question of how Kant's categorical imperative can actually be applied to
specific actions; and Barbara Herman's essays, "On the Value of
Acting from the Motive of Duty," Philosophical Review, Vol.
90 (1981), pp. 358-382; "The Practice of Moral Judgment," The Journal
of Philosophy, Vol. 82, No. 8 (August, 1985), pp. 414- 36; "Integrity
and Impartiality," The Monist, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April, 1983), pp.
234-50; "Obligation and Performance: A Kantian Account of Moral Conflict,"
Identity, Character, and Morality, edited by Owen Flanagan and Amelie
Oksenberg Rorty (Cambridge: MIT press, 1990), pp. 311-38; and her, "Agency,
Attachment, and Difference," Ethics, Vol. 101, No. 4 (July, 1991), pp.
775-97. Also, see the defense of Kant in Stephen Darwall's Impartial Reason (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983) and in his "Kantian
Practical Reason Defended," Ethics, Vol. 96, No. 1 (October, 1985), pp.
For a skilled defense of Kant's emphasis on duty, see both Barbara Herman's
article "On the Value of Acting from the Motive of Duty," cited above,
and Marcia Baron, "On the Alleged Repugnance of Acting from Duty,"
The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 81 (1984), pp. 179-219 and Onora
O'Neill's "Kant After Virtue," in her Constructions of Reason,
Kant and the Virtues
On Kant's interest in the virtues, see Robert Louden's "Kant's
Virtue Ethics," Philosophy, Vol. 61 (1986), pp. 473-89.
Respect and Self-Respect
On Kant's notion of respect, see especially Steven Darwall, "Two
Kinds of Respect," Ethics, Vol. 88, No. 1 (October, 1977), pp. 36-49
and the essays of Thomas Hill cited above.. On some of the difficulties surrounding
the issue of using persons as a mere means, see especially Nancy (Ann)
Davis' "Using Persons and Common Sense," Ethics, Vol. 94, No.
3 (April, 1984), pp. 387-406.
The contrasting views of suicide are to be found in Thomas E. Hill,
Jr., "Self- Regarding Suicide: A Modified Kantian View," in his Autonomy
and Self-Respect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 85-103
and Richard B. Brandt, "The Morality and Rationality of Suicide,"
in his Morality, Utilitarianism, and Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1992), pp. 315-35. For an excellent collection of philosophical essays
on the morality of suicide which includes Brandt's piece, see Suicide: Right
or Wrong?, edited by John Donnelly (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,
- Join a discussion of the following question on the World Wide Web at http://ethics.sandiego.edu:8888/WebXfirstname.lastname@example.orgVpaADta1S^2@.ee6b2c9
Kant says that it is never right to tell a lie, even to save a life. Is it
always right to tell the truth, even if it hurts or destroys someone else?
What matters more, the life of an individual or the majesty of the moral law?
For a discussion of lying with Sissela
Box, see Talk of
the Nation: Lying, December 3, 1996.
- Is a "conscientious Nazi" who does his duty for duty's sake obeying
the categorical imperative? Or parodying it? Explain the reasons for your
answer. Give an example of a contemporary equivalent of the "conscientious
- Use Kant's notion of a maxim to show what, if anything, is wrong with cheating
on the final exam in a course that you do not like and feel you will not benefit
from. How would Kants approach to this kind of example differ from the
approaches of the ethical egoist and the utilitarian? Which comes closest
to your own position on the issue?
- Drawing on your own experience, give a clear-cut example of a case in which
one person is using another person merely as a means; then give an equally
clear-cut example of a case in which a person is respecting another person
as an end-in-him/herself. Is it possible to live a life in which you do not
use other people merely as a means? Why or why not?
- In the movie The Color Purple, the issue of self-respect plays a
central role. Indeed, one of the central themes of the movie is Celies
movement from servility to self-respect. How would you assess each of the
major characters in terms of self-respect. What role does fighting (and violence)
play in the formation and destruction of self-respect? What role do loving
relationships play in the strengthening of self-respect?
- In the movie Quiz Show we see an interesting portrait of the sticky
web of deception. When a college professor is offered the possibility of fame
and fortune in a rigged quiz show, he succumbs to temptation, thereby becoming
enmeshed in a fabric of lies from which he cannot extricate himself. What
does Quiz Story tell us about deception? Which moral framework offers
the best perspective for understanding and appreciating the ethical issues
raised by this movie?