CFP Kantian Ethics and Moral Life

Posted: 20 de June de 2011 by Fernando Furtado in Event


Venue: City Campus, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Date: 20-21 September 2012

A vast amount of literature on Kant’s moral philosophy tends to focus
on the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of
Practical Reason, discussing Kant’s views about the ground of morality
and its supreme principle, the categorical imperative, (the relation
between) its formulas, the good will and moral motivation, and the
problems and requirements of rational agency. This focus tends to
reaffirm the image of Kantian ethics as an abstract, formalistic and
rigorist theory. Asking to adopt the law of pure reason as the only
principle of morality, while sketching human beings as weak, deficient
and often irrational creatures, Kantian ethics seems to suggest that
the gap between its ideal of virtue and human nature is unbridgeable.

In the last decades however, a number of scholars has shown that a
less formalistic and rigorist reading of Kant’s moral philosophy is
possible. A more complete, detailed and balanced picture of Kantian
ethics appears by focusing on the views Kant presents in The
Metaphysics of Morals and Lectures on Ethics. These works offer a
fruitful analysis of themes like human virtue, moral feeling and the
role of moral education. Also, Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries
of Mere Reason and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View provide
insightful discussions of the human existential moral condition. The
theory of human morality that Kant develops in these writings provides
a vital antidote to the so-called abstract rationalism and formalism
of his moral philosophy. It shows that Kantian ethics is capable of
offering us an attractive and feasible moral theory.

Even this new approach cannot conceal, however, that Kantian ethics is
very demanding. It requires that the standards of pure practical
reason are taken into account as overriding concerns in every
practical deliberation. And even though one can argue that Kantian
ethics is right to ask this, it still leaves open the question of how
to meet these standards in various concrete situations. Thus, even for
contemporary Kantian ethics, a number of questions remain unanswered.
How to live a moral life in the Kantian sense?. How to take into
account Kantian moral concerns as a citizen, a politician, a
businessman, a member of a family, etc.? How to give shape to Kantian
virtue as an individual? How to estimate the moral import of features
that are inextricably bound up with our existence as human (finite and
sensuous) beings?

The conference Kantian Ethics and Moral Life aims at bringing together
influential authors and young Kant scholars, permitting the
participants to engage into a debate concerning the various facets of
Kant’s views on how human beings can lead a moral life and on what
features are necessary and distinctive for leading a moral life. It
welcomes exegetical papers on topics related to Kant’s account of
moral life as well as papers that present a Kantian approach to
specific problems in (applied) ethics. Papers are also invited to
question and challenge Kant’s thought for its present-day relevance.
Over the last decades, the new, more balanced Kantian approach has
taken root in various fields of applied ethics, such as animal ethics,
human rights and international solidarity, medical ethics and business
ethics. The conference welcomes contributions from moral philosophers
who have been inspired by recent Kantian thinking to reflect on urgent
issues such as our duties towards (farm) animals, our duties towards
(far away) strangers, the nature of corporate social responsibility
(CSR) and the moral status of the corporation.

Substantial efforts will be made to publish all papers accepted for
the conference in proceedings and/or to publish selected and revised
papers in an edited volume.


Marcus Duewell (Universiteit Utrecht)
Paul Guyer (University of Pennsylvania)
Barbara Herman (UCLA)
Pauline Kleingeld (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Jens Timmermann (University of St. Andrews)


In addition to the plenary sessions there will be room for
presentations of short papers (20-30 min). If you wish to contribute,
please send an abstract of 500 words to The
deadline for submission is 30 September 2011. Participants whose
abstract is accepted will be asked to send in a full paper by May

Looking forward to meeting you in Antwerp,
Kind regards,

Geert Van Eekert (University of Antwerp)
Wim Dubbink (Tilburg University)
Annelies Monseré (Ghent University)
Bart Vandenabeele (Ghent University)
Liesbet Vanhaute (University of Antwerp)
Stijn Van Impe (Ghent University)
Luc Van Liedekerke (University of Antwerp)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s