By J.G. Murphy
Jeffrie G. Murphy's 3rd selection of essays additional pursues the themes of punishment and retribution that have been explored in his prior collections: Retribution, Justice and remedy and Retribution Reconsidered. Murphy now explores those subject matters within the mild of reflections on matters which are commonly linked with faith: forgiveness, mercy, and repentance. He additionally explores the overall factor of thought and perform and discusses a number of issues in utilized ethics - e.g., freedom of inventive expression, the morality of playing, and the price of forgiveness in mental counseling. As continually, his viewpoint can be defined as Kantian; and, certainly, this assortment includes the 1st prolonged piece of Kant scholarship that he has performed in years: an extended essay on Kant on thought and perform.
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Extra info for Character, Liberty and Law: Kantian Essays in Theory and Practice (Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy)
The answer, surely, is their belief that the Kantian theory has such deep flaws that it must be rejected even i f this requires the rejection o f our ordinary moral consciousness as erroneous. What kind o f support might they have for such a negative assessment? Such support could be either conceptual (Kant's theory is incoherent) or scientific (Kant's theory is incompatible with the naturalism o f scientific psychology). I have already indicated why I think that the latter argument fails, so let me briefly consider the former.
If human history does indeed continue to move in this way, it will be easier (according to Kant) to see humanity as a moral and progressive species that is perhaps deserving o f some special respect. But who really knows? Kant, rejecting (in philosophy) all appeals to religious faith, can do no better than close "Theory and Practice" with a statement o f secular faith: Robert Nozick. The Examined Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989). 236-42. As I read this passage I cannot help thinking of Eastern Europe—particularly the "ethnic cleansing" currently taking place in the former Yugoslavia.
It is, however, not difficult to imagine them all consenting to some legal principles that require punishment, some principles o f taxation, and the general principle o f majority rule. This, then, is Kant's test for justice: a principle o f coercion is just if it is possible that every citizen could consent to it in an environment o f mutually respectful moral conversation. Is this a good test? When it seems to work well, it is tacitly operating on one very important assumption—an assumption that perhaps keeps the test from being as foundational as Kant thinks.
Character, Liberty and Law: Kantian Essays in Theory and Practice (Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy) by J.G. Murphy