Autonomy and Community

Readings in Contemporary Kantian Social Philosophy

Edited by Jane Kneller & Sidney Axinn

Subjects: Sociology
Series: SUNY series in Social and Political Thought
Paperback : 9780791437445, 334 pages, April 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437438, 334 pages, April 1998

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Table of contents


I. Kant and Social Theory

1. Introducing Kantian Social Theory
Jane Kneller

2. Kant's Historical Materialism
Allen W. Wood

3. The Completion of Kant's Moral Theory in the Tenants of the Rechtslehre
Robert Paul Wolff

4. Public Argument and Social Responsibility: The Moral Dimensions of Citizenship in Kant's Ethical Commonwealth
Philip J. Rossi, S. J.

5. Feminism and Kant: Antipathy or Sympathy?
Robin May Schott

II. Kant and Contemporary Social Issues

6. Crimes Against Humanity: A Kantian Perspective on International Law
Sharon Anderson-Gold

7. World Community and Its Government
Sidney Axinn

8. Dark Ontologies: Blacks, Jews, and White Supremacy
Charles W. Mills

9. "The Principle of Punishment Is a Categorical Imperative"
Nelson Thomas Potter Jr.

10. The World of Retribution
Thomas Auxter

11. A Kantian Defense of Enterprise Democracy
Harry van der Linden

12. Respect for Persons and Environmental Values
Gerald F. Gaus

13. From Occupied Bodies to Pregnant Persons: How Kantian Ethics Should Treat Pregnancy and Abortion
Susan Feldman

14. Kant's Evolutionary Theory of Marriage
Holly L. Wilson




Shows how Kant's basic position applies to and clarifies present-day problems of war, race, abortion, capital punishment, labor relations, the environment, and marriage.


In Autonomy and Community, contemporary Kant scholars apply Kant's moral and political views to current social issues, examining contemporary topics through the lenses of various recent Kantian approaches to issues in ethical, political, and social philosophy. The articles, written with a minimum of technical language, engage current social problems directly, demonstrating the possibility of diverse applications of Kant's views.

The authors, reaching well beyond the realm of academic philosophy, apply Kant's moral and political views to contemporary social concerns both general and specific. Under the first heading are chapters presenting readings of Kant's social theory and theory of human history, the relationship of moral practice to the social contract, Kant's theory of civic duty, and the relevance of Kantian philosophy to contemporary feminist theory. In Part II, more specific issues of contemporary interest are explored: war, international relations, race and ethnicity questions, abortion, capital punishment, environmental ethics, labor relations, and the nature of the institution of marriage. Taken as a whole, Autonomy and Community shows that Kantianism offers a social vision that goes far beyond Kant's well-known abstract theory.

[Contributors to the book include Sharon Anderson-Gold, Thomas Auxter, Susan Feldman, Gerald F. Gaus, Charles W. Mills, Nelson Potter, Philip Rossi, Robin May Schott, Harry van der Linden, Hollyn L. Wilson, Robert Paul Wolff, and Allen W. Wood. ]

Jane Kneller is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, teaches Women's Studies, and serves on the advisory board for the Women's Studies Program at Colorado State University. She is the co-translator, with Michael Losonsky, of Claus Reich's The Completion of Kant's Table of Judgments. Sidney Axinn is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Temple University. He is the author of A Moral Military and The Logic of Hope: Extensions of Kant's View of Religion.


"The topic of this book is significant for contemporary social and political philosophy. The book could be a main text for advanced undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on contemporary social philosophy. It could also be used as a supplementary text for courses and seminars on Kant's practical philosophy. " — Jeffrey Edwards, State University of New York at Stony Brook