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Kenneth Westphal

Abstract

Hume and contemporary Humeans contend that moral sentiments form the sole and sufficient basis of moral judgments. This thesis is criticized by appeal to Hume's theory of justice, which shows that basic principles of justice are required to form and to maintain society, which is indispensable to human life, and that acting according to, or violating, these principles is right, or wrong, regardless of anyone's sentiments, motives or character. Furthermore, Hume's theory of justice shows how the principles of justice are artificial without being arbitrary. In this regard, Hume's theory belongs to the unjustly neglected modern natural law tradition. Some key merits of this strand in Hume's theory are explicated by linking it to Kant's constructivist method of identifying and justifying practical principles (à la O'Neill), and by showing how and why Hegel adopted and further developed Kant's constructivism by re-integrating it with Hume's central natural law concern with our actual social practices.

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Grounds of Pragmatic Realism

Hegel's Internal Critique and Reconstruction of Kant's Critical Philosophy

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Kenneth Westphal

Grounds of Pragmatic Realism argues that Hegel’s philosophy from the 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit through his last Berlin lectures on philosophical psychology demonstates how Kant’s critique of rational judgment across his Critical corpus can be disentangled from Kant’s failed Transcendental Idealism and developed into a cogent, pragmatic realism, within which the social and historical aspects of rational inquiry and justification are shown to justify realism about the objects of empirical knowledge. Hegel’s demonstration reveals how deeply contemporary epistemology remains beholden to pre-Critical options, none of which are adequate to the natural sciences, nor to commonsense. Hegel recognised and justified (independently) Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference to particulars within space and time. Hegel’s analysis of mutual recognition develops Kant’s insights into the self-critical and inter-subjective aspects of rational judgment and justification, to show that none of us can be properly rational judges, nor can we properly justify our judgments rationally, without constructive self-criticism and without acknowledging and benefitting from constructive critical assessment by others.
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Kenneth R. Westphal

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Kenneth R. Westphal