Readings List: PHIL 3/429 Kant's Ethics

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Kant's Writings

All of the following are from the course textbook: Kant, Immanuel. Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Preface, Sections 1 and 2.

  • "On the supposed right to lie from philanthropy" (1797).

  • "On the common saying: That may be correct in theory, but it is of no use in practice" (1793).

  • Selections from "Part II: Metaphysical principles of the doctrine of virtue," Metaphysics of Morals. (1793). pp. 509-603.

Historical Reactions

  • Hegel, G.W.F. "Reason as Testing Laws," from Phenomenology of Spirit. Sections 429-437 (tr. J.B. Baillie) Harper, 1910. (Public domain.) Offsite Link. See also J.N.D. Findlay's analysis of 429-437 here

  • Hegel, G.W.F. "Good and Conscience," from Philosophy of Right. Sections 129-137 (tr. S.W. Dyde). George Bell and Sons, 1896. (Public domain.) Offsite Link. Internet Archive Link.

  • Sedgwick, Sally S. "Hegel's Critique Of The Subjective Idealism Of Kant's Ethics," Journal of the History of Philosophy. Vol. 26 (1988) pp. 89-105. UofR Library Link.

  • Schopenhauer, Arthur. "Criticism of the Basis of Kant's Ethics," from The Basis of Morality, tr. Arthur Brodrick Bullock, , 1903. This is in the public domain. Internet Archive Link (see pp. 23-123).
    The UofR has an ebook version of a more recent version. See "Critique of the Foundation Given to Ethics by Kant," Section II of The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics. Cambridge University Press, 2009. UofR_Link_1 and UofR_Link_2. (NOTE: see sections 1-9 on pp. 115-170.)
  • Marx, Karl and Friedrick Engels. "Political Liberalism," from German Ideology, Chapter 3, from Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 5. (Public domain.) Offsite link. (Read only the first 3 or 4 paragraphs of this section.)

  • Brentano, Franz. "The Principles of Ethical Knowledge: Kant," chapter 2, section 13 in The Foundation and Construction of Ethics. Routledge, 1973, pp. 30-37. Link to Google Books.

  • Mill, J.S. "General Remarks" Chapter 1 from Utilitarianism. (Public domain.) Offsite Link

  • Sidgwick, Henry. "Intuitionism," from The Methods of Ethics. Macmillan, 1907 [7th Edition]. (Public domain.) Offsite Link

  • Sidgwick, Henry. "The Kantian Conception of Free Will," Appendix to The Methods of Ethics. Macmillan, 1907 [7th Edition]. (Public domain.) Offsite Link

  • Ross, W.D. "What Makes Right Acts Right?" Chapter 2 from The Right and the Good. Oxford University Press, 1930.


(1) Violence

  • Hill, Thomas E. Jr. "Making Exceptions Without Abandoning the Principle: Or How a Kantian Might Think about Terrorism," in Dignity and Practical Reason in Kant's Moral Theory. Cornell University Press, 1992. (pp. 196-225.) [B2799.E8H55]

(2) Suicide and Euthanasia

(3) Kant and the Stoics

  • Seidler, Michael J. "Kant And The Stoics On Suicide," Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol. 44 (1983) pp. 429-454.

  • Schneewind, J. B., "Kant and the Stoics," in J. B. Schneewind (ed.), Essays on the History of Moral Philosoph. Oxford University Press, 2010.

(4) Punishment

  • Hill, Thomas E. Jr. "Kant on Punishment: A Coherent Mix of Deterrence and Retribution?" in Thomas E. Hill Jr., Respect, Pluralism, and Justice. Oxford University Press, 2000, and Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik, Volume 5 (1997) pp. 291-314.

(5) Honesty and Lying

  • Korsgaard, Christine. "The Right to Lie: Kant on Dealing with Evil,", Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 4 (1986) pp. 325-349.

  • Varden, Helga. "Kant and Lying to the Murderer at the Door... One More Time: Kant's Legal Philosophy and Lies to Murderers and Nazis," Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 41, No. 4 (2010) pp. 403-421. UofR_Link

(6) Kant and Friendship

  • Kant, Immanuel. "On Friendship," (selections from) Lectures on Ethics, Peter Heath and J.B. Schneewind (eds). Cambridge University Press, 1997. (Academy pagination: 27:423-430, 27:675-686.)

  • Wood, Allen W. "Friendship," in Kant's Ethical Thought, Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 275-282.

(7) Moral Luck

  • Nagel, Thomas. "Moral Luck," from Mortal Questions. Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. 24-38. [BD431.N32]

  • Moore, A.W. "A Kantian View of Moral Luck," Philosophy. 65 (1990) pp. 297-321.

(8) Animals and Other Moral Patients

(9) Sex and Marriage

  • Herman, Barbara. "Could It Be Worth Thinking About Kant on Sex and Marriage?" from A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity. Westview Press, 1993, pp 49-67. [HQ1190.M56]

  • Wood, Allen W. "Sex," chapter 13 of Kantian Ethics. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

(10) Famine

  • O'Neill, Onora. "The Moral Perplexities of Famine and World Hunger," from New Introductory Essays in Moral Philosophy. Random House, 1986, pp. 294-336. [BJ1012.M37]