1st Edition

Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty Themes and Variations in Kants Moral and Religious Philosophy

By A.W. Moore Copyright 2003
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    Is it possible for ethical thinking to be grounded in pure reason? In this bold and innovative new work, Adrian Moore provides a refreshing and challenging look at Kant's moral and religious philosophy and uses it to arrive at a distinctive way of understanding and answering this question.

    Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty identifies three Kantain Themes - morality, freedom and religion - and presents variations on each of these themes in turn. Moore concedes that there are difficulties with the Kantian view that morality can be governed by 'pure' reason, but defends a closely related view involving a notion of reason as socially and culturally conditioned. In the course of doing this, Moore considers in detail ideas at the heart of Kant's thought, such as the categorical imperative, free will, evil, hope, eternal life, and God. He also makes creative use of ideas in contemporary philosophy, both within the analytic tradition and outside it, such as 'thick' ethical concepts, forms of life, and 'becoming those that we are'. Throughout the book, a guiding precept is that to be rational is to make sense, and that nothing is of greater value to us than making sense.

    Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty is essential reading for all those interested in Kant, ethics, and philosophy of religion.

    Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 First theme: morality; Chapter 3 First set of variations; Chapter 4 Second theme: freedom; Chapter 5 Second set of variations; Chapter 6 Third theme: religion; Chapter 7 Third set of variations;


    A.W. Moore is Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy at St Hugh's College, Oxford. He is the author of The Infinite (2nd edition, Routledge, 2001) and Points of View.

    ‘In Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty, A.W. Moore mines Kant for ethical insight with a sensibility informed by a wide range of recent and contemporary philosophers, from Ludwig Wittgenstein through Bernard Williams and Gilles Deleuze… a particularly helpful account of Kant’s philosophy of religion…’ Paul Guyer, in Times Literary Supplement

    ‘… it is refreshing to encounter a book dealing with Kant’s practical philosophy that does not wear its readers down with quandaries about universalizability, autonomy, and the moral law… It is time to try something different, and Moore has certainly done that.’ Robert B. Louden, in Mind

    ‘… an original contribution to the ethical discussion of our time…’ Manfred Kuehn

    ‘… deeply engages some of the most important pieces of Kant’s moral and religious thinking…’ Philip Rossi

    ‘clearly written… numerous provocative insights… readers will benefit from the way in which familiar themes have been deployed and reconfigured for the sake of a fairly audacious result. Moore derives something like a substitute for postmodernity’s lost sense of a grounding metanarrative from the human capacity for sense making… [His] project might… be viewed as the effort to infuse our very tendency towards sense making with renewed dignity.’ Gordon E. Michalson, in Kantian Review

    ‘… a continuing, deep and detailed collaborative discussion with the Kant who makes best sense to [Moore] of matters of the utmost importance to them both and… to the rest of us as well… an exceptionally thought-provoking and serious book by one of our most technically proficient, but at the same time most imaginative—in short, one of our very best—contemporary philosophers… [Though this closely-argued, rich and engaging book] is, certainly and in many ways, a book for philosophers, it is equally one that may be read with much serious pleasure by anyone with a taste for reflection about the proper status of moral and religious thinking.’ Alan Montefiore, in Balliol College Record