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Kant and Applied Ethics: The Uses and Limits of Kant's Practical Philosophy

Kant and Applied Ethics: The Uses and Limits of Kant's Practical Philosophy

Matthew C. Altman

ISBN: 978-1-118-90345-2 August 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 336 Pages


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Kant and Applied Ethics makes an important contribution to Kant scholarship, illuminating the vital moral parameters of key ethical debates.
  • Offers a critical analysis of Kant’s ethics, interrogating the theoretical bases of his theory and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses
  • Examines the controversies surrounding the most important ethical discussions taking place today, including abortion, the death penalty, and same-sex marriage
  • Joins innovative thinkers in contemporary Kantian scholarship, including Christine Korsgaard, Allen Wood, and Barbara Herman, in taking Kant’s philosophy in new and interesting directions
  • Clarifies Kant’s legacy for applied ethics, helping us to understand how these debates have been structured historically and providing us with the philosophical tools to address them
Preface vi

Note on Sources and Key to Abbreviations viii

Introduction: Why Kant Now 1

Part I. Applying Kant’s Ethics 11

1. Animal Suffering and Moral Character 13

2. Kant’s Strategic Importance for Environmental Ethics 45

3. Moral and Legal Arguments for Universal Health Care 71

4. The Scope of Patient Autonomy 90

Part II. Kantian Arguments against Kant’s Conclusions 115

5. Subjecting Ourselves to Capital Punishment 117

6. Same-Sex Marriage as a Means to Mutual Respect 139

Part III. Limitations of Kant’s Theory 165

7. Consent, Mail-Order Brides, and the Marriage Contract 167

8. Individual Maxims and Social Justice 194

9. The Decomposition of the Corporate Body 217

10. Becoming a Person 241

Conclusion: Emerging from Kant’s Long Shadow 283

Bibliography 289

Index 311

“This is a competent, clear, and evenhanded assessment of the relevance of Kant’s thought for current moral debates.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 October 2012)

“Kant and Applied Ethics is a stimulating attempt to assess the relevance of Kantian theory for contemporary moral problems. Kantian moral philosophers will find much to disagree with, but there is no doubt that the book raises important puzzles for Kantian moral theory. Those unpersuaded by Kantian theory may find ammunition to use against Kantianism. Those who wish to defend Kant's theory may find a helpful formulation of some serious challenges to Kant's moral philosophy.”  (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 30 June 2012)