•  44
    Kant’s theory of freedom, in particular his claim that natural determinism is compatible with absolute freedom, is widely regarded as puzzling and incoherent. In this paper I argue that what Kant means by ‘freedom’ has been widely misunderstood. Kant uses the definition of freedom found in the republican tradition of political theory, according to which freedom is opposed to dependence, slavery, and related notions – not to determinism or to coercion. Discussing Kant’s accounts of freedom of the…Read more
  •  957
    A Kantian Solution to the Trolley Problem
    Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 10 204-228. 2020.
    This chapter proposes a solution to the Trolley Problem in terms of the Kantian prohibition on using a person ‘merely as a means.’ A solution of this type seems impossible due to the difficulties it is widely thought to encounter in the scenario known as the Loop case. The chapter offers a conception of ‘using merely as a means’ that explains the morally relevant difference between the classic Bystander and Footbridge cases. It then shows, contrary to the standard view, that a bystander who dive…Read more
  •  106
    How to Use Someone ‘Merely as a Means’
    Kantian Review 25 (3): 389-414. 2020.
    The prohibition on using others ‘merely as means’ is one of the best-known and most influential elements of Immanuel Kant’s moral theory. But it is widely regarded as impossible to specify with precision the conditions under which this prohibition is violated. On the basis of a re-examination of Kant’s texts, the article develops a novel account of the conditions for using someone ‘merely as a means’. It is argued that this account has not only strong textual support but also significant philoso…Read more
  •  19
    Correct bibliographical information is as follows: Gottfried Achenwall, _Natural Law: A Translation of the Textbook for Kant's Lectures on Legal and Political Philosophy_, edited by Pauline Kleingeld, translated by Corinna Vermeulen, with an Introduction by Paul Guyer. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. As the first translation into any modern language of Achenwall’s Ius naturae, from the 1763 edition used by Immanuel Kant, this is an essential work for anyone interested in Kant, the natural law tradit…Read more
  •  24
    Prolegomena to Natural Law (edited book)
    with Gottfried Achenwall
    University of Groningen Press. 2020.
    Gottfried Achenwall, _Prolegomena to Natural Law_, ed. Pauline Kleingeld, trans. Corinna Vermeulen. Groningen: University of Groningen Press, 2020. Open Access, available via the 'direct download' link below. This is the first English translation of _Prolegomena iuris naturalis_ by Gottfried Achenwall (1719–1772). In this book, Achenwall presents the philosophical foundation for his comprehensive theory of natural law. The book is of interest not only because it provides the basis for a caref…Read more
  •  7622
    On Dealing with Kant's Sexism and Racism
    SGIR Review 2 (2): 3-22. 2019.
    Kant is famous for his universalist moral theory, which emphasizes human dignity, equality, and autonomy. Yet he also defended sexist and (until late in his life) racist views. In this essay, I address the question of how current readers of Kant should deal with Kant’s sexism and racism. I first provide a brief description of Kant’s views on sexual and racial hierarchies, and of the way they intersect. I then turn to the question of whether we should set aside Kant’s sexism and racism or ‘transl…Read more
  • Immanuel Kant’s views on politics, peace, and history have lost none of their relevance since their publication more than two centuries ago. This volume contains a comprehensive collection of Kant’s writings on international relations theory and political philosophy, superbly translated and accompanied by stimulating essays. Pauline Kleingeld provides a lucid introduction to the main themes of the volume, and three essays by distinguished contributors follow: Jeremy Waldron on Kant’s theory of t…Read more
  •  179
    Within Kantian ethics and Kant scholarship, it is widely assumed that autonomy consists in the self-legislation of the principle of morality. In this paper, we challenge this view on both textual and philosophical grounds. We argue that Kant never unequivocally claims that the Moral Law is self-legislated and that he is not philosophically committed to this claim by his overall conception of morality. Instead, the idea of autonomy concerns only substantive moral laws, such as the law that one ou…Read more
  •  143
    'Autonomy' is originally a political notion. In this chapter, I argue that the political theory Kant defended while he was writing the _Groundwork_ sheds light on the difficulties that are commonly associated with his account of moral autonomy. I argue that Kant's account of the two-tiered structure of political legislation, in his _Feyerabend Lectures on Natural Law_, parallels his distinction between two levels of moral legislation, and that this helps to explain why Kant could regard the noti…Read more
  •  424
    One of the most important difficulties facing Kant’s Formula of Universal Law (FUL) is its apparent inability to show that it is always impermissible to kill others for the sake of convenience. This difficulty has led current Kantian ethicists to de-emphasize the FUL or at least complement it with other Kantian principles when dealing with murder. The difficulty stems from the fact that the maxim of convenience killing fails to generate a ‘contradiction in conception’, producing only a ‘contradi…Read more
  •  236
    Virtue, Vice, and Situationism
    with Tom Bates
    In Nancy E. Snow (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue, Oxford University Press. pp. 524-545. 2018.
    On the basis of psychological research, a group of philosophers known as 'situationists' argue that the evidence belies the existence of broad and stable (or 'global') character traits. They argue that this condemns as psychologically unrealistic those traditions in moral theory in which global virtues are upheld as ideals. After a survey of the debate to date, this article argues that the thesis of situationism is ill-supported by the available evidence. Situationists overlook the explanatory p…Read more
  •  440
    The Principle of Autonomy in Kant's Moral Theory: Its Rise and Fall
    In Eric Watkins (ed.), Kant on Persons and Agency, Cambridge University Press. pp. 61-79. 2018.
    In this essay, “The Principle of Autonomy in Kant’s Moral Theory: Its Rise and Fall,” Pauline Kleingeld notes that Kant’s Principle of Autonomy, which played a central role in both the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of Practical Reason, disappeared by the time of the Metaphysics of Morals. She argues that its disappearance is due to significant changes in Kant’s political philosophy. The Principle of Autonomy states that one ought to act as if one were giving universal…Read more
  •  151
    The conative character of reason in Kant's philosophy
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (1): 77-97. 1998.
    This article provides a critical discussion of the problems raised by Kant’s characterization of reason as having ‘needs’ and ‘interests’. The first part presents two examples of arguments in which this conative characterization of reason plays a crucial role. The rest of the article consists of a discussion of four different interpretations of Kant's talk of reason as having needs and interests. Having identified a number of problems with literal interpretations of the conative characterizat…Read more
  •  1149
    Kant's Second Thoughts on Colonialism
    In Katrin Flikschuh & Lea Ypi (eds.), Kant and Colonialism: Historical and Critical Perspectives, Oxford University Press. pp. 43-67. 2014.
    Kant is widely regarded as a fierce critic of colonialism. In Toward Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals, for example, he forcefully condemns European conduct in the colonies as a flagrant violation of the principles of right. His earlier views on colonialism have not yet received much detailed scrutiny, however. In this essay I argue that Kant actually endorsed and justified European colonialism until the early 1790s. I show that Kant’s initial endorsement and his subsequent criticism…Read more
  •  144
    Kant on historiography and the use of regulative ideas
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (4): 523-528. 2008.
    In this paper, I examine Kant’s methodological remarks in the ‘Idea for a universal history’ against the background of the Critique of pure reason. I argue that Kant’s approach to the function of regulative ideas of human history as a whole may still be fruitful. This approach allows for regulative ideas that are grand in scope, but modest and fallibilistic in their epistemic status. Kant’s methodological analysis should be distinguished from the specific teleological model of history he develop…Read more
  •  202
    This is the first comprehensive account of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, highlighting its moral, political, legal, economic, cultural, and psychological aspects. Contrasting Kant’s views with those of his German contemporaries, and relating them to current debates, Pauline Kleingeld sheds new light on texts that have been hitherto neglected or underestimated. In clear and carefully argued discussions, she shows that Kant’s philosophical cosmopolitanism underwent a radical transformation in the mid 179…Read more
  •  844
    Contradiction and Kant’s Formula of Universal Law
    Kant-Studien 108 (1): 89-115. 2017.
    Kant’s most prominent formulation of the Categorical Imperative, known as the Formula of Universal Law (FUL), is generally thought to demand that one act only on maxims that one can will as universal laws without this generating a contradiction. Kant's view is standardly summarized as requiring the 'universalizability' of one's maxims and described in terms of the distinction between 'contradictions in conception' and 'contradictions in the will'. Focusing on the underappreciated significance of…Read more
  • Repliek
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 103 (3). 2011.
  •  821
    Kant's second thoughts on race
    Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229). 2007.
    During the 1780s, as Kant was developing his universalistic moral theory, he published texts in which he defended the superiority of whites over non-whites. Whether commentators see this as evidence of inconsistent universalism or of consistent inegalitarianism, they generally assume that Kant's position on race remained stable during the 1780s and 1790s. Against this standard view, I argue on the basis of his texts that Kant radically changed his mind. I examine his 1780s race theory and his hi…Read more
  •  293
    Kant, History, and the Idea of Moral Development
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 16 (1): 59-80. 1999.
    I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral devel…Read more
  •  41
    The goal of this study is to reconstruct and evaluate the systematic role of Kant's views on history within his ‛critical' philosophy. Kant's philosophy of history has been neglected in the literature, largely due to the widespread though mistaken perception that it is at odds with central assumptions of Kant’s ‘critical’ thought. I discuss Kant's most important texts on history and examine the relationship between Kant's view of history and the central tenets of his Critiques (in particular, K…Read more
  •  24
    A Peculiar Fate: Metaphysics and World-History in Kant
    Review of Metaphysics 47 (4): 808-810. 1994.
    Kant's writings on history have been enjoying increased recognition by Kant scholars, and Peter Fenves's A Peculiar Fate fits this trend. But here the similarity with mainstream Kant studies abruptly ends. This is no ordinary monograph on Kant's philosophy of history: neither in terms of the selection of Kant's writings discussed by its author, nor in terms of its style, nor in terms of its philosophical approach.
  •  215
    Nature or Providence? On the Theoretical and Moral Importance of Kant’s Philosophy of History
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 75 (2): 201-219. 2001.
    Kant’s use of the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ in his essays on history has long puzzled commentators. Kant personifies Nature and Providence in a curious way, by speaking of them as “deciding” to give humankind certain predispositions, “wanting” these to be developed, and “knowing” what is best for humans Moreover, he leaves the relationship between the two terms unclear. In this essay, I argue that Kant’s use of ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ can be clarified and explained. Moreover, I show …Read more
  •  463
    Kant on the Unity of Theoretical and Practical Reason
    Review of Metaphysics 52 (2): 500-528. 1998.
    In his critical works of the 1780's, Kant claims, seemingly inconsistently, that (1) theoretical and practical reason are one and the same reason, applied differently, (2) that he still needs to show that they are, and (3) that theoretical and practical reason are united. I first argue that current interpretations of Kant's doctrine of the unity of reason are insufficient. But rather than concluding that Kant’s doctrine becomes coherent only in the Critique of Judgment, I show that the three st…Read more
  •  169
    Consistent egoists and situation managers: two problems for situationism
    Philosophical Explorations 18 (3): 344-361. 2015.
    According to philosophical “situationism”, psychological evidence shows that human action is typically best explained by the influence of situational factors and not by “global” and robust character traits of the agent. As a practical implication of their view, situationists recommend that efforts in moral education be shifted from character development to situation management. Much of the discussion has focused on whether global conceptions of virtue and character, and in particular Aristotelia…Read more
  •  833
    Romantic cosmopolitanism: Novalis's “christianity or europe”
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2). 2008.
    German Romanticism is commonly associated with nationalism rather than cosmopolitanism. Against this standard picture, I argue that the early German romantic author, Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1772–1801) holds a decidedly cosmopolitan view. Novalis’s essay “Christianity or Europe” has been the subject of much dispute and puzzlement ever since he presented it to the Jena romantic circle in the fall of 1799. On the basis of an account of the philosophical background of Novali…Read more