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Chapter 1 - Kant on the Requirement to Reflect

from Part I - Reflection

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2018

Melissa Merritt
Affiliation:
University of New South Wales, Sydney
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Summary

For Kant, ‘reflection’ (Überlegung, Reflexion) is a technical term with a range of senses. By attending closely to Kant’s account of reflection in the context of his distinction between pure and applied logic, the chapter shows how Kant distinguishes between constitutive and normative requirements to reflect. This distinction is needed in order to make sense of Kant’s presentation of affect and passion as distinct modes of reflective failure in the context of his moral psychology. The chapter argues that prejudice and passion are analogous modes of reflective failure, since both involve failure to meet a normative requirement to reflect. By drawing these connections, we begin to advance our understanding of the overall unity and coherence of Kant's diverse textual record on reflection. Finally, the chapter concludes by arguing that the governing commitment of a reflective person, for Kant, is always (and most generally) to knowing.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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