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H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions

The Division of Ethics from Political Philosophy: Kant and Baumgarten on Right, Virtue, and Justice

Awarded: NOK 2.3 mill.


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2021 - 2023


Ethics and political philosophy are integral to human individual activities and social interactions, and yet modern philosophy since Immanuel Kant has reinforced the separation of these two domains. DEKANT aims to resolve the confusion in the intellectual foundation of ethics and show how it can reclaim its interrelation with political philosophy. It will achieve this aim by analysing the long-neglected, yet significant, influence of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten on Kant’s division of ethics from political philosophy, or what Kant calls the ‘doctrine of virtue’ from the ‘doctrine of right’. Although, over the past 20 years, philosophers have struggled to understand why Kant separated so clearly between the two domains, we still do not have a complete grasp of this separation. The key to understanding this separation is the conceptual apprehension of Baumgarten’s legacy in Kant’s philosophy. By filling the knowledge gap and gathering fresh insights into an important but neglected figure in the history of philosophy, we can gain an improved understanding of a crucial distinction in Kant’s philosophy. DEKANT’s hypothesis is that this new understanding proves the advantage of a unified model of ethics for resolving concrete contemporary problems. By contrast to Kant’s dualist model of ethics/political philosophy in which the concept of justice is employed in the domain of the ‘doctrine of right’ alone, Baumgarten’s unified model of ethics, which includes both ethical and political theory, centrally incorporates the concept of justice. Analysing the influence of Baumgarten on Kant will thus show that developing a refined concept of justice is important for answering the questions arising from the tension between ethics and political philosophy. Working closely with Professor Reidar Maliks, a world-renowned expert in Kant and contextual methods, DEKANT will establish me as a leading scholar and enable me to obtain a tenured position in philosophy.

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H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions

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