Book Review: Self-Improvement: An Essay in Kantian Ethics , written by Robert N. Johnson

Book Review: Self-Improvement: An Essay in Kantian Ethics , written by Robert N. Johnson (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 192 pp. isbn 9780199599349 (cloth). Hardback: £ 27.50/55.00. This book is an admirable essay on Kantian ethics. Johnson tackles a difficult topic in elucidating and arguing for the Kantian obligation to improve oneself. Along the way, he discusses various elements central to Kantian ethics in interesting and often illuminating ways and connects Kant scholarship with contemporary Kantian thought and contractualist argumentation. The book should be of interest to both committed Kantians and those interested in ethical theory more broadly. The book is divided into eight chapters, a bibliography and an index. Chapter 1 is an introduction, in which Johnson motivates the topic, explaining why a Kantian theory (which goes beyond what Kant himself said) is uniquely well-suited to ground an obligation to develop oneself and outlining the arguments to come. He will examine three arguments, based on three formulations of the Categorical Imperative, for the existence of an obligation to oneself regarding development of one’s abilities. He will contend that the argument based on the Universal Law formulation fails (Chapter 3), but that the arguments based on the Humanity (Chapter 5) and Kingdom of Ends (Chapter 6) formulations succeed. In Chapter 2 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

Book Review: Self-Improvement: An Essay in Kantian Ethics , written by Robert N. Johnson

Journal of Moral Philosophy, Volume 11 (4): 535 – Jul 16, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Book Reviews
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
DOI
10.1163/17455243-01104012
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

(New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 192 pp. isbn 9780199599349 (cloth). Hardback: £ 27.50/55.00. This book is an admirable essay on Kantian ethics. Johnson tackles a difficult topic in elucidating and arguing for the Kantian obligation to improve oneself. Along the way, he discusses various elements central to Kantian ethics in interesting and often illuminating ways and connects Kant scholarship with contemporary Kantian thought and contractualist argumentation. The book should be of interest to both committed Kantians and those interested in ethical theory more broadly. The book is divided into eight chapters, a bibliography and an index. Chapter 1 is an introduction, in which Johnson motivates the topic, explaining why a Kantian theory (which goes beyond what Kant himself said) is uniquely well-suited to ground an obligation to develop oneself and outlining the arguments to come. He will examine three arguments, based on three formulations of the Categorical Imperative, for the existence of an obligation to oneself regarding development of one’s abilities. He will contend that the argument based on the Universal Law formulation fails (Chapter 3), but that the arguments based on the Humanity (Chapter 5) and Kingdom of Ends (Chapter 6) formulations succeed. In Chapter 2

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jul 16, 2014

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