Readers who wish to understand Kant’s ethics within the context of his philosophy as a whole will find Guyer 2006 an illuminating introduction. Several chapters are devoted to Kant’s moral and political philosophy, as well as to aspects of Kant’s philosophy of religion, history, and nature that bear on his ethics. The book is accessible enough for advanced undergraduates and other readers new to Kant. Other selections suitable for those new to Kant are Johnson 2012, Schneewind 1992, and Uleman 2010. Uleman 2010 is the most comprehensive and detailed, and written with advanced undergraduates in mind. Like Guyer 2006, Uleman 2010 can serve as a textbook. Johnson 2012 is available online and periodically updated. It provides an overview that focuses on the foundational doctrines of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, though it is not limited to them. Schneewind 1992 is particularly informative with respect to Kant’s influences and intellectual context and development. The remaining four selections are highly influential books. Paton 1947 is especially worth reading on the categorical imperative and its formulations. Nell 1975 is especially important when it comes to topics of maxim formulation and the contradiction tests of the first formulation of the categorical imperative. Allison 1990 is particularly valuable for the discussion of freedom. Wood 1999 is the most wide ranging and the most interested in drawing on Kant’s work in practical anthropology.
Allison, Henry. Kant’s Theory of Freedom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139172295E-mail Citation »
Highly influential treatment of Kant’s moral theory, treating topics ranging from freedom, reason, and will, to virtue, character, and evil.
Guyer, Paul. Kant. New York: Routledge, 2006.
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Accessible enough for undergraduates, but sufficiently distinctive in its interpretations as to be of interest to more advanced readers. Brings Kant’s philosophies of nature, history, and religion to bear on his ethics; discusses Kant’s philosophy of right in addition to his theory of virtue. Overview of Kant’s entire philosophical system.
Johnson, Robert. “Kant’s Moral Philosophy.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2012.
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A brief, clear, and accessible introduction to Kant’s ethics, focused on Kant’s foundational positions on the nature of moral philosophy, the categorical imperative and its formulations, the good will and moral motivation, and autonomy. Includes bibliography and links to other Internet resources, including but not limited to related Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries. Updated every few years.
Nell, Onora. Acting on Principle: An Essay in Kantian Ethics. New York: Columbia University Press, 1975.
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A highly influential work on Kant’s ethics. Much attention is focused on the formula of universal law, its contradiction tests, and related issues regarding ends, maxims, and intentions. Other topics include Kant’s taxonomy of duties, moral worth, supererogation, and conflicts of duty. Concise and systematic.
Paton, H. J. The Categorical Imperative: A Study in Kant’s Moral Philosophy. London: Hutchinson’s University Library, 1947.
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Focuses on such foundational topics as the critical method, the good will, duty, reverence for the law, the intelligible world, and freedom—and especially the categorical imperative. Its influence on English-language Kant scholarship would be difficult to overstate.
Schneewind, J. B. “Autonomy, Obligation, and Virtue: An Overview of Kant’s Moral Philosophy.” In The Cambridge Companion to Kant. Edited by Paul Guyer, 309–341. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521365872E-mail Citation »
A philosophically and historically informative introduction. Sets Kant’s moral philosophy in the contexts of Kant’s broader philosophy and its development. Also situates Kant’s moral philosophy in relation to significant influences as Wolff, Crusius, Rousseau, and Hutcheson.
Uleman, Jennifer K. An Introduction to Kant’s Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511801082E-mail Citation »
Geared toward advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and above. A sophisticated introduction to Kant’s moral theory. Main topics include practical reason; will, choice, and desire; freedom and its place in nature; the categorical imperative; and the goodness of a good will.
Wood, Allen W. Kant’s Ethical Thought. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139173254E-mail Citation »
Five chapters concern the “metaphysical foundations” of Kant’s ethics; the focus here falls on the categorical imperative, its formulations, and their applications. The focus of the other four main chapters is the relation of morality to human nature. Topics here include practical anthropology, history, inclinations and passions, and radical evil.
[in chronological order]
‘Observations’ and ‘Remarks’: A Critical Guide- Shell, Susan and Velkley, Richard. Kant's 'Observations' and 'Remarks': A Critical Guide, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
From the publisher: Kant’s Observations of 1764 and Remarks of 1764-1765 (a set of fragments written in the margins of his copy of the Observations) document a crucial turning point in his life and thought. Both reveal the growing importance for him of… More
Kant and the Limits of Autonomy by Susan Shell- Shell, Susan Meld, Kant and the Limits of Autonomy, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009.
From the publisher: Autonomy for Kant is not just a synonym for the capacity to choose, whether simple or deliberative. It is what the word literally implies: the imposition of a law on one’s own authority and out of one’s own rational resources. In Kant… More
Force and Freedom: Kant’s Legal and Political Philosophy- Ripstein, Arthur, Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Excerpt: “A political philosophy it is often thought of as an application of general moral principles to the factual circumstances that make political institutions necessary. For example, John Stuart Mill seeks to justify liberal institutions by showing… More
Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism- D. Henrich, Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism, Harvard University Press, Boston, 2008.
From the publisher: Electrifying when first delivered in 1973, legendary in the years since, Dieter Henrich’s lectures on German Idealism were the first contact a major German philosopher had made with an American audience since the onset of World War… More
Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary- Timmermann, Jens, Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
From the publisher: “The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is Kant’s central contribution to moral philosophy, and has inspired controversy ever since it was first published in 1785. Kant champions the insights of ‘common human… More
Kant on God- Byrne, Peter, 2007. Kant on God, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Excerpt: “The theme of this book—the status of claims about God in the critical philosophy—gains its importance from a number of facts. One is that the critical philosophy displays an obvious bivalent or paradox in its concept of God. On the one… More
Aesthetics and Cognition in Kant’s Critical Philosophy- Kukla, R., (ed.), Aesthetics and Cognition in Kant's Critical Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
From the publisher: “This 2006 volume explores the relationship between Kant’s aesthetic theory and his critical epistemology as articulated in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of the Power of Judgment. The essays, written specially… More
Kant by Paul Guyer- P. Guyer, Kant, London and New York: Routledge, 2006,
From the publisher: Paul Guyer uses Kant’s central conception of autonomy as the key to all the major aspects and issues of Kant’s thought. Beginning with a helpful overview of Kant’s life and times, Guyer introduces Kant’s metaphysics and… More
A Companion to Kant- Bird, Graham (ed.), A Companion to Kant, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
From the publisher: “This Companion provides an authoritative survey of the whole range of Kant’s work, giving readers an idea of its immense scope, its extraordinary achievement, and its continuing ability to generate philosophical interest.… More
Kant on the Human Standpoint- Longuenesse, B., Kant on the Human Standpoint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
From the publisher: Béatrice Longuenesse considers the three aspects of Kant’s philosophy, his epistemology and metaphysics of nature, moral philosophy, and aesthetic theory, under one unifying standpoint: Kant’s conception of our capacity to… More
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Critique of Practical Reason- Gregor, Mary J. (ed.) Critique of Practical Reason, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Excerpt: The theoretical use of reason was concerned with objects of the cognitive faculty only, and a critical examination of it with reference to this use applied properly only to the pure faculty of cognition; because this raised the suspicion, which was… More
Metaphysics of Morals- Gregor, M. Metaphysics of Morals, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Excerpt: The Science of Right has for its object the principles of all the laws which it is possible to promulgate by external legislation. Where there is such a legislation, it becomes, in actual application to it, a system of positive right and law; and he… More
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals- Gregor, M. and Timmerman, J. Trans. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Excerpt: Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. Formal philosophy is called logic. Material philosophy, however, has to do with determinate objects and the laws to which they are subject, is again twofold; for… More
Critique of the Power of Judgment- Guyer, P., (ed.), Critique of the Power of Judgment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2001.
Excerpt: We proceed quite correctly if, as usual, we divide Philosophy, as containing the principles of the rational cognition of things by means of concepts (not merely, as logic does, principles of the form of thought in general without distinction of… More
Critique of Pure Reason- Guyer, P., and Wood, A., (eds.), Critique of Pure Reason, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1998.
Excerpt: Experience is no doubt the first product of our understanding, while employed in fashioning the raw material of our sensations. It is therefore our first instruction, and in its progress so rich in new lessons that the chain of all future generations… More
Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel, Part 1- Robert Brandom gives the first of three lectures on his talk titled "Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel".
Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel, Part 2- Robert Brandom gives the second of three lectures on his talk titled "Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel".
Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel, Part 3- Robert Brandom gives the last of three lectures on his talk titled "Animating Ideas of Idealism: A Semantic Sonata in Kant and Hegel".
Tamar Gendler on Deontology- Video. Tamar Gendler, Yale Open Courses, Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181), Lecture 13, Spring 2011.
Professor Gendler opens with a final criticism of Utilitarianism from Bernard Williams: in some cases, a good person should feel reluctant to do an act which brings about the greatest happiness, even if it is the right thing to do. The second half of the… More
Guyer: Hume, Kant, and the Passion for Reason- "Hume, Kant, and the Passion for Reason" by Professor Paul Guyer was presented as part of the prestigious Edinburgh Philosophy lecture series, the Nature of Knowledge Lectures.
Kant – Self and the Unity of Apperception 1- Part of Prof. Dan Robinson's lecture series on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason given at University of Oxford 2011 - Lecture 7
Kant – Self and the Unity of Apperception 2- Part of Prof. Dan Robinson's lecture series on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason given at University of Oxford 2011 - Lecture 7
Audiobook: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals- LibriVox
The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, also known as The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals or Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals or Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals, is Immanuel Kant’s first contribution to moral… More
Audiobook: Critique of Practical Reason- LibriVox
The Critique of Practical Reason (Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) is the second of Immanuel Kant’s three critiques, first published in 1788. It follows on from his Critique of Pure Reason and deals with his moral philosophy. The second Critique… More
Audiobook: On the Popular Judgment- LibriVox
This tripartite essay, published variously as On the Popular Judgment (J. Richardson trans.), On the Old Saw (E.B. Ashton trans.), or On the Common Saying (both M.J. Gregor and H.B. Nisbet), Kant takes up the issue of the relation of theory to practice… More
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