Dostoevsky and Kant

Dialogues on Ethics


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"In this book, Evgenia Cherkasova brings the philosopher Kant and the novelist Dostoevsky together in conversations that probe why duty is central to our moral life. She shows that just as Dostoevsky is indebted to Kant, so Kant would profit from the deeply philosophical narratives of Dostoevsky, which engage the problem of evil and the claims of human community. She not only produces a novel reading of Dostoevsky, but also guides us to later, often neglected Kantian texts. This study is written with scholarly care, penetrating analysis, elegance of style, and moral urgency: Cherkasova writes with both mind and heart." – Emily Grosholz, Professor of Philosophy, The Pennsylvania State University
"Evgenia Cherkasova’s reverence for her subject and detailed analysis will make this book of great interest to scholars of both philosophy and Russian literature." – in: Slavic and East European Journal 54/2 (Summer 2010)
Andrew Fitz-Gibbon: Editorial Foreword
George L. Kline: Foreword
The Deontology of the Heart
1. Introduction
2. The Heart: Mythology, History, Philosophy
3. The Ways of the “Living Life”: Dostoevsky’s Rhetoric of the Heart
4. The Commandment of the Heart
5. The Commandment of Practical Reason
6. Can Reason Understand the Reasons of the Heart?
Freedom: Adventures of the Will
1. Introduction
2. Kant on Free Will and Arbitrariness
3. The Underground World as Will
4. The Specter of Kant in the Underground
5. Good Will, Rude Will, or Both?
6. Losing Oneself: Arbitrariness and Corruption of the Heart
7. On Human Nature
8. Following the Heart: Is There a Way Out of the Underground?
9. The Unwritten Message
Evil: Adventures of Seductive Spirit
1. Introduction
2. Kant’s Conception of Radical Evil
3. On the Boundary of Intelligibility: Evil and the Limits of Ethical Discourse
4. Dostoevsky’s “Demonology”
5. The Grand Inquisitor Dons the Mask
6. Temptation by Good and Paradoxes of Freedom
7. Evil by Nature?
1. Introduction
2. The Unbearable Other
3. Love, Sympathy, and Respectful Distancing: Kant’s Stoic Response to a Misanthropist
4. Suffering and Responsibility
5. Joining of Hearts: Alyosha’s Speech at the Stone
6. “A Bit of Melodrama”
About the Author