Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy is one of the most distinctive achievements of the European Enlightenment. At its heart lies what Kant called the 'strange thing': the free, rational, human will. This introduction explores the basis of Kant's anti-naturalist, secular, humanist vision of the human good. Moving from a sketch of the Kantian will, with all its component parts and attributes, to Kant's canonical arguments for his categorical imperative, this introduction shows why Kant thought his moral law the best summary expression of both his own philosophical work on morality and his readers' deepest shared convictions about the good. Kant's central tenets, key arguments, and core values are presented in an accessible and engaging way, making this book ideal for anyone eager to explore the fundamentals of Kant's moral philosophy.
1. Introduction: the strange thing; 2. A sketch of Kantian will: desire and the human subject; 3. A sketch continued: the structure of practical reason; 4. A sketch completed: freedom; 5. Against nature: Kant's argumentative strategy; 6. The categorical imperative: free will willing itself; 7. What's so good about the good Kantian will? The appeals of the strange thing; 8. Conclusion: Kant and the good free rational will; Bibliography.
Winner, 2010 Choice Outstanding Academic Award
"Uleman consistently states her aims in each chapter clearly, organizes discussions well, and poses questions to make her train of thought easy to follow. Her grasp of the details of Kant’s moral philosophy as well as of how those details hang together to form a whole is rare and impressive. This work should prove to be very helpful to many students."
--Lara Denis, Agnes Scott College
"This engaging book is a wonderful introduction to Kant's moral philosophy. It explains many of Kant's central concepts, such as those of will, freedom, maxims, and imperatives, clearly and succinctly. But the book also makes an argument that must be taken seriously by every scholar as well as student of Kant: that Kant's formulations of the categorical imperative collectively analyze what it is to make the realization of freedom the ultimate goal of human action. The book also beautifully shows how Kant unfolds the value of realizing our freedom without reducing his argument to the kind of empirical, psychological morality that Kant rejects. This is a wise, insightful work."
--Paul Guyer, University of Pennsylvania
"...a clear, succinct introduction to Kantian ethics... Overall, this meticulous defense
of Kantian ethics from the ground up most likely will become required reading for future Kant scholars... Essential..."
--L. A. Wilkinson, University at Tennessee at Chattanooga, CHOICE
"....dutiful.... Jennifer K. Uleman's book presents the state of the art, and it provides all the information that the reader needs if she wishes to acquire a good overview of Kant's moral philosophy.... Its prose is clear and elegant, its structure is well-organized.... Uleman's book is an excellent interpretation that has freed Kant from the cage of abstract normativity and has reintroduced him into the midst of human life."
--Gunnar Hindrichs, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"....one should not, by any means, underestimate Uleman's achievement here, which is admirable. The book is carefully argued, and forms an excellent introduction to Kant's moral theory. It will benefit students and tutors alike to a great extend.... highly recommend...."
--Dr. Kostas Koukouzelis, University of Crete, Greece, Metapsychology