Respect, Pluralism, and Justice: Kantian Perspectives

Respect, Pluralism, and Justice: Kantian Perspectives

Respect, Pluralism, and Justice: Kantian Perspectives

Respect, Pluralism, and Justice: Kantian Perspectives

Synopsis

Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketch a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then use it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.

Excerpt

In the past thirty years or so there has been a remarkable revival of interest in Kant's moral philosophy. At the same time philosophers have become increasingly willing to address substantive social and moral problems. Whether or not these trends are causally connected, their intersection, I believe, has been fruitful and can be even more so. Trying seriously to work out the implications of Kant's moral theory for practical issues helps to reveal both its strengths and its weaknesses. Also, if we move beyond old stereotypes of Kant, rethinking those practical issues from a Kantian perspective can open up new ways of understanding them. John Rawls's work in political philosophy is an especially prominent example of how interests in Kantian theory and practical problems can be mutually enriching, but there are many other examples. Few, if any, philosophers who work in a Kantian tradition today accept all of Kant's doctrines, and among them there is a considerable diversity in both their interpretations of Kant and their preferred ways of developing Kantian theory. the essays in this volume represent my attempts to contribute to this process of developing aspects of a Kantian moral theory, in large part by considering possible Kantian responses to substantive moral issues. Perhaps even more than my fellow-workers in this field, I am sceptical about many of Kant's particular ideas; and my proposals for developing moral theory in a broadly Kantian way are significantly different from those of others, notably Barbara Herman, Christine Korsgaard, and Onora O'Neill. We share, however, a common conviction that further effort to refine and extend some of Kant's basic insights is potentially rewarding, both for moral theory in general and for dealing with substantive moral problems.

My primary concern in these essays, then, is not with narrow questions of historical scholarship but with how one might develop a plausible Kantian type of moral theory and what this would say about practical problems. Nevertheless, I also try to point out, when I can, places at which Kant's texts have been misunderstood. Often, though not always, initial objections can be deflected simply by more careful

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