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Kant's Human Being Essays on His Theory of Human Nature



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Oxford University Press
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  • Kant's Human Being Essays on His Theory of Human Nature
    Kant's Human Being Essays on His Theory of Human Nature


In Kant's Human Being, Robert B. Louden continues and deepens avenues of research first initiated in his highly acclaimed book, Kant's Impure Ethics. Drawing on a wide variety of both published and unpublished works spanning all periods of Kant's extensive writing career, Louden here focuses on Kant's under-appreciated empirical work on human nature, with particular attention to the connections between this body of work and his much-discussed ethical theory. Kant repeatedly claimed that the question, "What is the human being" is philosophy's most fundamental question, one that encompasses all others. Louden analyzes and evaluates Kant's own answer to his question, showing how it differs from other accounts of human nature.

This collection of twelve essays is divided into three parts. In Part One (Human Virtues), Louden explores the nature and role of virtue in Kant's ethical theory, showing how the conception of human nature behind Kant's virtue theory results in a virtue ethics that is decidedly different from more familiar Aristotelian virtue ethics programs. In Part Two (Ethics and Anthropology), he uncovers the dominant moral message in Kant's anthropological investigations, drawing new connections between Kant's work on human nature and his ethics. Finally, in Part Three (Extensions of Anthropology), Louden explores specific aspects of Kant's theory of human nature developed outside of his anthropology lectures, in his works on religion, geography, education ,and aesthetics, and shows how these writings substantially amplify his account of human beings.

Kant's Human Being offers a detailed and multifaceted investigation of the question that Kant held to be the most important of all, and will be of interest not only to philosophers but also to all who are concerned with the study of human nature.

Author Biography

Robert B. Louden is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. His publications include The World We Want (OUP 2007), Kant's Impure Ethics (OUP 2000), and Morality and Moral Theory (OUP 1992). Currently president of the North American Kant Society, his writings focus on core issues and themes in ethical theory, the history of ethics, and Kant.

Table of Contents

Note on Citations and Translations

1. Kant's Virtue Ethics
2. Moral Strength: Virtue as a Duty to Oneself
3. Kantian Moral Humility: Between Aristotle and Paul
4. "Firm as Rock in Her Own Principles" (But Not Necessarily a Kantian)

5. The Second Part of Morals
6. Applying Kant's Ethics: The Role of Anthropology
7. Anthropology from a Kantian Point of View: Toward a Cosmopolitan Conception of Human Nature
8. Making the Law Visible: The Role of Examples in Kant's Ethics

9. Evil Everywhere: The Ordinariness of Kantian Radical Evil
10."The Play of Nature:" Human Beings in Kant's Geography
11. Becoming Human: Kant and the Philosophy of Education
12. National Character via the Beautiful and Sublime?


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