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From Rationality to Equality$
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James P. Sterba

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580767

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580767.001.0001

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The Historical Connection to Immanuel Kant

The Historical Connection to Immanuel Kant

(p.10) 2 The Historical Connection to Immanuel Kant
From Rationality to Equality

James P. Sterba

Oxford University Press

The project of trying to argue from rationality to morality and then from morality to equality is inevitably associated with the moral and political philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This chapter takes up Kant's attempt to justify morality and argue that he relies too heavily on a commitment to an incompatibilist conception of freedom, failing to recognize that additional grounds are required if morality is to be shown to be rationally preferable to egoism. Moreover, the argument set out in Chapter 6 that begins with morality, in particular, a libertarian morality, and attempts to derive therefrom a requirement of substantial equality connects up with Kant's political philosophy, which has standardly been given a libertarian interpretation. It is shown, however, that this interpretation of Kant's work is mistaken and that his political philosophy really has a welfare liberal foundation.

Keywords:   Kant, incompatibilist, morality, rationality, political philosophy, freedom, libertarian, welfare liberal

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