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

Hardcover | May 7, 2016

byKenneth R. Westphal

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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 distinctiveconstructivist 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 moralanti-realism). Instead, moral cognitivism is preserved by identifying sufficient justifying reasons, which can be addressed to all parties, for the minimum sufficient legitimate principles and institutions required to provide and protect basic forms of social coordination (including verbalbehaviour). Hume first develops this kind of constructivism for basic property rights and for government. Kant greatly refines Hume's construction of justice within his 'metaphysical principles of justice', whilst preserving the core model of Hume's innovative constructivism. Hume's and Kant'sconstructivism avoids the conventionalist and relativist tendencies latent if not explicit in contemporary forms of moral constructivism.

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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 distinctiveconstructivist method to identify basic moral...

Kenneth R. Westphal is Professor of Philosophy at Bogazici Universitesi, 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 lega...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.98 inPublished:May 7, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198747055

ISBN - 13:9780198747055

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPrimary Sources and Citation Methods1. Reconstructing Moral Constructivism2. Objectivity, the Euthyphro Question, and Reconstructing Natural Law3. Hume's Construction of Justice4. Hume's Proof of the Insufficiency of Moral Sentiments5. Kant's Moral Constructivism6. Natural Law Constructivism and Rational Justification7. Constructivism, Contractarianism, and Basic Obligations8. Kant's Justification of Rights to Possession9. Conclusion: Reintegrating Justice into MoralsAppendixBibliographyName IndexSubject Index