(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 of Moral Philosophy – Brill
Published: Jul 16, 2014
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