Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant's Practical Philosophy

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Cambridge University Press, 1989 - Philosophy - 249 pages
Two centuries after they were published, Kant's ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O'Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant's ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a "constructivist" vindication of reason and a moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O'Neill begins by reconsidering Kant's conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant's ethics and recent "Kantian" ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers.
 

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Contents

Reason and politics in the Kantian enterprise
3
The public use of reason
28
Reason and autonomy in Grundlegung III
51
Action anthropology and autonomy
66
Maxims and obligations
79
Consistency in action
81
Between consenting adults
105
Universal laws and endsinthemselves
126
Kants ethics and Kantian ethics
163
The power of example
165
Childrens rights and childrens lives
187
Constructivisms in ethics
206
The great maxims of justice and charity
219
References
235
Index
243
Copyright

Kant after virtue
145

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