AAP Conference Adelaide 2017

Paul Guyer Keynote 

Kant on the Rationality of Morality

Kant means multiple things by his claim that morality is founded in pure practical reason. Most fundamentally, his moral thought is structured by the idea of a fact of reason long before he

introduces that term: in the first instance, reason demands non-contradiction, and Kant's claim that our maxims must not contradict themselves when generalised is rooted in the antecedent claim that we must not contradict the fact that we are rational beings. But reason also demands "sufficiency," or completeness, and the idea that there must be a complete object of pure practical reason, the highest good, is also meant to be grounded in pure reason, not in the mere conjunction of our reason and our natural desires.   

Paul Guyer is the Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Brown University.

Guyer's interests include all areas of the philosophy of Kant, modern philosophy more generally, and the history of aesthetics. He is the author of nine books on Kant, including Kant and the Claims of Taste (1979), Kant and the Claims of Knowledge (1987), Kant (2006), Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (2007), and Knowledge, Reason, and Taste: Kant's Response to Hume(2008). He is the editor of six anthologies of work on Kant, including three Cambridge Companions, and is co-editor of a volume on the work of his teacher Stanley Cavell. He is also the co-translator of the Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of the Power of Judgment, and Kant's Notes and Fragments, all in the Cambridge Edition of Immanuel Kant, of which he is General Co-Editor. He is on numerous editorial boards, including those of The Kantian Review, Kant-Studien, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Guyer's three-volume work, A History of Modern Aesthetics, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. His next project is a study of the impact of Kant's moral philosophy on the subsequent history of philosophy, for a series on The Legacy of Kant that he is editing for Oxford University Press.

Paul Guyer's page at Brown University

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