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How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law: Justifying Strict Objectivity without Debating Moral Realism

How Hume and Kant Reconstruct Natural Law: Justifying Strict Objectivity without Debating Moral Realism (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Kenneth R. Westphal presents an original interpretation of Hume's and Kant's moral philosophies, the differences between which are prominent in current philosophical accounts. Westphal argues that focussing on these differences, however, occludes a decisive, shared achievement: a distinctive constructivist method to identify basic moral principles and to justify their strict objectivity, without invoking moral realism nor moral anti-realism or irrealism. Their constructivism is based on Hume's key insight that 'though the laws of justice are artificial, they are not arbitrary'. Arbitrariness in basic moral principles is avoided by starting with fundamental problems of social coordination which concern outward behaviour and physiological needs; basic principles of justice are artificial because solving those problems does not require appeal to moral realism (nor to moral anti-realism). Instead, moral cognitivism is preserved by identifying sufficient justifying reasons, which can be addressed to a

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPhilosophy TheoryEthics & moral philosophyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesWestern philosophyWestern philosophy: c 1600 to c 1900Western philosophy: Enlightenment Publisher: Oxford University Press Publication Date: 21/04/2016 ISBN-13: 9780198747055  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Kenneth R. Westphal is Professor of Philosophy at Bogazici UEniversitesi, Istanbul. His research concerns the character and scope of rational justification in non-formal, substantive domains, including both theoretical philosophy (epistemology, history, and philosophy of science) and moral philosophy (ethics, social, political. and legal philosophy). This, his fifth monograph, is his first published by the Clarendon Press; others are issued by Cambridge University Press, Vittorio Klostermann, and Hackett Publishing Co. He has edited four collections of research and published nearly 150 research articles, in such journals as Synthese, Dialogue, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Philosophical Inquiries, Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy, HOPOS, and Jurisprudence. His article, 'Kant on the State, Law, and Obedience to Authority in the Alleged 'Anti-Revolutionary' Writings' (1992, rpt. 2006) received the 1994 George Armstrong Kelly Prize.

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