By Victor Seidler
During this paintings, initially released in 1986, Victor Seidler explores the various notions of admire, equality and dependency in Kant’s ethical writings. He illuminates important tensions and contradictions not just inside Kant’s ethical philosophy, yet in the pondering and feeling approximately human dignity and social inequality which we take greatly without any consideration inside a liberal ethical tradition.
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Extra resources for Kant, Respect and Injustice: The Limits of Liberal Moral Theory (Routledge Revivals)
This encourages Kant to separate the human self from an ‘animal nature’. This idea is shared by those who assume that emotions and desires are necessarily partial so that morality has to be identified with rationality. But if rationality can ensure universality and impartiality, it often does this at the cost of fully understanding the moral significance of individual personal experience. This was a danger that Adorno recognised in Kant’s writings. In inveighing against psychology, Kant expresses not only the fear of losing the laboriously caught scrap of the intelligible world; he expresses also the authentic insight that the moral categories of the individual are more than strictly individual.
This can make it easy to be mystified about the emo- 24 Kant, Respect and Injustice tional and psychological costs, as we are brought up to feel that our individual needs, wants and desires should not be given moral significance and importance. An example can help bring out how our respect for others is affected by the low estimation we are encouraged to give to aspects of our experience. John wants his father to accept him as he is, not to make him feel he has to prove himself before he is to be respected.
But still he is not so completely an animal as to be indifferent to everything that reason says on its own and to use it merely as a tool for satisfying his needs as a sensuous being. That he has reason does not in the least raise him in worth above mere animality if reason only serves the purposes which, among animals, are taken care of by instinct; if this were so, reason would be only a specific way nature has made use of to equip man for the same purpose for which animals are qualified, without fitting him for any higher purpose.