•  318
    Cultivating Virtue: Moral Progress and the Kantian State
    Kantian Review 12 (1): 90-112. 2007.
    After examining the ethical and political writings of Immanuel Kant, one finds an apparent paradox in his philosophy as his perfectionist moral teachings appear to be linked to his anti-perfectionist political theory. Specifically, he writes that the perfection of moral character can only take place for an individual who is inside of civil society, a condition where no laws may legitimately be implemented expressly for the purpose of trying to make individuals moral. Kant believes that living in…Read more
  •  26
    Kant and Education: Interpretations and Commentary (edited book)
    with Klas Roth
    Routledge. 2011.
    Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy, political philosophy, and philosophy of judgement have been and continue to be widely discussed among many scholars. The impact of his thinking is beyond doubt and his ideas continue to inspire and encourage an on-going dialogue among many people in our world today. Given the historical and philosophical significance of Kant’s moral, political, and aesthetic theory, and the connection he draws between these theories and the appropriate function and methodology o…Read more
  • The Value and Limits of Academic Speech: Philosophical, Political, and Legal Perspectives (edited book)
    with Donald Alexander Downs
    Routledge. forthcoming.
  •  19
    Policing and Punishment for Profit
    Journal of Business Ethics 159 (1): 119-131. 2019.
    This paper examines ethical considerations relating to the current role of financial incentives in policing and punishment in the USA, focusing on the two methods of punishment most popular in the USA: fines and forfeitures and incarceration. It examines how financial incentives motivate much of our penal system, including how and when laws are enforced; discusses relevant ethical considerations and concerns connected with our current practices; proposes a theoretical solution for addressing the…Read more
  •  75
    Minority Oppression and Justified Revolution
    Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (4): 442-453. 2010.
    This paper operates from the assumption that revolution is a legitimate tool for members of oppressed minority groups to secure their rights. I argue that this type of robust right of revolution cannot be derived from Locke’s justification of revolution in the Second Treatise. For Locke, revolution is justified when the government uses its power in a manner contrary to the principles on which the state was established. Whether or not an action is contrary to these principles is determined by the…Read more
  •  2651
    A Reconciliation of Kant's Views on Revolution
    Interpretation 32 (2): 151-169. 2005.
    Kant's views on revolution are notoriously paradoxical: on the one hand he appears to condemn all instances of revolution, but on the other he expresses enthusiasm for the French Revolution and other revolutionary acts. I argue that we can reconcile Kant’s views on revolution by examining instances when an individual is under a moral obligation to revolt. First, I show how Kant reconciles his position on the French Revolution with his position on revolution in general. His answer, however, rais…Read more
  • In this book, Chris W. Surprenant puts forward an original position concerning Kant’s practical philosophy and the intersection between his moral and political philosophy. Although Kant provides a detailed account of the nature of morality, the nature of human virtue, and how right manifests itself in civil society, he does not explain fully how individuals are able to become virtuous. This book aims to resolve this problem by showing how an individual is able to cultivate virtue, the aim of Kan…Read more
  •  129
    This paper examines the nature of Aristotelian phronesis , how it is attained, and who is able to attain it inside the polis . I argue that, for Aristotle, attaining phronesis does not require an individual to perfect his practical wisdom to the point where he never makes a mistake, but rather it is attained by certain individuals who are unable to make a mistake of this kind due to their education, habituation, and position in society
  •  89
    Liberty, Autonomy, and Kant's Civil Society
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1). 2010.
    Morality, as Immanuel Kant understands it, depends on the capacity of a person to be the agent and owner of his own actions, not merely a conduit for social and psychological forces and influences over which he has little or no control. As a result, Kant’s moral philosophy focuses primarily on the topic of individual freedom and the necessary preconditions of the possibility of that freedom. In the Groundwork and second Critique, Kant’s discussion of the connection between morality and freedom c…Read more
  •  1442
    Kant’s contribution to moral education: the relevance of catechistics
    Journal of Moral Education 39 (2): 165-174. 2010.
    Kant’s deontological ethics, along with Aristotle’s virtue ethics and Mill’s utilitarian ethics, is often identified as one of the three primary moral options between which individuals can choose. Given the importance of Kant’s moral philosophy, it is surprising and disappointing how little has been written on his important contributions to moral education. Kant argues for a catechistic approach to moral education. By memorizing a series of moral questions and answers, an individual learns th…Read more
  •  14
    Physical Education as a Prerequisite for the Possibility of Human Virtue
    Educational Philosophy and Theory 46 (5): 1-9. 2014.
    This article examines the role of physical education in the process of moral education, and argues that physical education is a necessary prerequisite for the possibility of human virtue. This discussion is divided into four parts. First, I examine the nature of morality and moral decision-making. Drawing on the moral theories presented by Plato, Aristotle and Kant, I argue that morality is connected with reason and the attainment of objectively good goals. Second, I examine the role of moral ed…Read more
  •  45
    Situationism and the Neglect of Negative Moral Education
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (4): 835-849. 2015.
    This paper responds to the recent situationist critique of practical rationality and decision-making. According to that critique, empirical evidence indicates that our choices are governed by morally irrelevant situational factors and not durable character traits, and rarely result from overt rational deliberation. This critique is taken to indicate that popular moral theories in the Western tradition are descriptively deficient, even if normatively plausible or desirable. But we believe that th…Read more
  •  13
    Kant’s Postulate of the Immortality of the Soul
    International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1): 85-98. 2008.
    In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant grounds his postulate for the immortality of the soul on the presupposed practical necessity of the will’s endless progress toward complete conformity with the moral law. Given the important role that this postulate plays in Kant’s ethical and political philosophy, it is hard to understand why it has received relatively little attention. It is even more surprising considering the attention given to his other postulates of practical reason: the existence …Read more
  •  30
    The Agony of Power. By Jean Baudrillard
    The European Legacy 17 (6): 854-855. 2012.
    No abstract
  • Kant and the Scottish Enlightenment (edited book)
    with Elizabeth Robinson
    Routledge. 2017.
    Most academic philosophers and intellectual historians are familiar with the major historical figures and intellectual movements coming out of Scotland in the 18 th Century. These scholars are also familiar with the works of Immanuel Kant and his influence on Western thought. But with the exception of discussion examining David Hume’s influence on Kant’s epistemology, metaphysics, and moral theory, little attention has been paid to the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers on Kant’s p…Read more