Naturalism and Realism in Kant's Ethics
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In this comprehensive assessment of Kant's metaethics, Frederick Rauscher shows that Kant is a moral idealist rather than a moral realist and argues that Kant's ethics does not require metaphysical commitments that go beyond nature. Rauscher frames the argument in the context of Kant's non-naturalistic philosophical method and the character of practical reason as action-oriented. Reason operates entirely within nature, and apparently non-natural claims - God, free choice, and value - are shown to be heuristic and to reflect reason's ordering of nature. The book shows how Kant hesitates between a transcendental moral idealism with an empirical moral realism and a complete moral idealism. Examining every aspect of Kant's ethics, from the categorical imperative to freedom and value, this volume argues that Kant's focus on human moral agency explains morality as a part of nature. It will appeal to academic researchers and advanced students of Kant, German idealism and intellectual history.
that it is better to simply ignore these issues: “if, instead of [extending it to] the constitutive principles of the cognition of supersensible objects, into which we cannot in fact have any insight, we restricted our judgment to the regulative principles, which content themselves with only their practical use, human wisdom would be better off in a great many respects, and there would be no breeding of would-be knowledge of something of which we fundamentally know nothing” (6:71). The point Kant
female ants share seventy-ﬁve percent of their genetic code with one another while only one, the queen, is able to reproduce. There are relatively few male ants. Survival of the colony relies on individual ants sacriﬁcing themselves to protect the queen to ensure the existence of future generations. Street imagines that a female worker ant would exhibit a value system to reﬂect these facts, valuing the survival of the queen above her own survival and not seeing herself as intrinsically valuable.
for particular purposes, and used for those purposes without afﬁrmation of any existence claims regarding them. Certainly in the presentation of his moral doctrine regarding the postulates, Kant appears to make existence claims. But at the same time, he insists on the immanent, practical use of the concept of God qua concept. Realism and God; idealism and “God” At the beginning of this book, I noted that my purpose is to show that Kant’s ethics is compatible with a metaphysical naturalism. By
assessment in English is by Lewis White Beck in his Commentary on Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason (Beck 1960, p. 166f), where he quotes four passages from the text and concludes that the fact is either consciousness of the moral law, the moral law itself, or autonomy. Beck cites additional passages from the second Critique and further identiﬁes four additional references to the fact of reason after the second Critique that, he says, fall in line with the earlier ones. See also (Beck 2002).
section. “God” without God: the status of the postulates 161 In the Critique of Practical Reason The doctrine of the postulates of pure practical reason is explained in its fullest in the Critique of Practical Reason.10 There are two contradictory tendencies as Kant further develops his conception of the postulates. First, there is a tendency to claim that practical reason does in fact afﬁrm exactly the same propositions that remain unproved by theoretical reason; in particular, there is a