By Paul Guyer
Routledge – 2004 – 456 pages
Series: The Routledge Philosophers
In this outstanding introduction, Paul Guyer uses Kant’s central conception of autonomy as the key to all the major aspects and issues of Kant’s thought.
Beginning with a helpful overview of Kant’s life and times, Guyer introduces Kant’s metaphysics and epistemology, carefully explaining his arguments about the nature of space, time and experience in his most influential but difficult work, The Critique of Pure Reason. He offers an explanation and critique of Kant’s famous theory of transcendental idealism and shows how much of Kant’s philosophy is independent of this controversial doctrine.
He then examines Kant’s moral philosophy, his celebrated ‘Categorical imperative’ and his theories of duty, freedom of will and political rights. Finally, he covers Kant’s aesthetics, in particular his arguments about the nature of beauty and the sublime, and their relation to human freedom and happiness. He also considers Kant’s view that the development of human autonomy is the only goal that we can conceive for both natural and human history.
‘This is the clearest, most comprehensive book on Kant’s "critical philosophy" written in English…Guyer’s book is clearly written and keeps enough distance from Kant’s texts to be helpful to nonspecialists; it also stays close enough to be nuanced and valuable even for Kant specialists.’ A.N. Bunch, Choice
'Kant is an absolutely first-rate general introduction to Kant's Critical Philosophy. Paul Guyer's interpretations are extremely well-supported, carefully and crisply argued, and highly insightful.' Robert Hanna, University of Colorado, USA
‘An impressive overview of the various strands of Kant’s philosophy. With great skill Guyer manages to compress Kant’s critical thought into a few hundred pages. This book will provide an excellent introduction to Kant’s thought.’ Philip Stratton-Lake, University of Reading, UK
‘That Guyer is able to cover this much material, clearly and without oversimplification, in a single, reasonably sized volume represents a unique accomplishment, which should prove to be extremely useful to a broad audience.’ Eric Watkins, University of California, San Diego, USA
1. A Life in Work 2. Kant’s Copernican Revolution 3. The Critique of Metaphysics 4. Building upon the Foundations of Knowledge 5. Laws of Freedom: The Foundations of Kant’s Moral Philosophy 6. Freedom, Immortality, and God: The Presuppositions of Morality 7. Kant’s System of Duties I: The Duties of Virtue 8. Kant’s System of Duties II: Duties of Right 9. The Beautiful, the Sublime, and the Morally Good 10. Freedom and Nature: Kant’s Revision of Traditional Teleology 11. A History of Freedom? Glossary