Barbara Herman argues for a radical shift in the way we perceive Kant's ethics. She convincingly reinterprets the key texts, at once allowing Kant to mean what he says while showing that what Kant says makes good moral sense. She urges us to abandon the tradition that describes Kantian ethics as a deontology, a moral system of rules of duty. She finds the central idea of Kantian ethics not in duty but in practical rationality as a norm of unconditioned goodness. This book both clarifies Kant's own theory and adds programmatic vitality to modern moral philosophy.
We can gratefully acknowledge that Herman has succeeded in exploring some rich new territory with unusual patience, originality, and insight. In a domain, like Kantian ethics, that many would suppose has already been fully mapped and assessed, this is a remarkable and welcome accomplishment.
This publication of Barbara Herman's essays marks a major advance in the now flourishing field of Kantian ethics...Their greatest achievement is to show how Kant's ethics is based on a compelling moral psychology and a sophisticated theory of value.
Herman succeeds in presenting an interpretation of Kant's ethics that shows it to be a powerful alternative to the empiricist utilitarian, neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, and the post-modernist individualist or existentialist ethical theories which have enjoyed such prominence in recent years...What [Herman] has given us is a deeply compelling picture of both the structure and power of Kant's regulative ideal of moral deliberation, and that is much to be grateful for indeed.
- 268 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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