Research

Ph.D. Dissertation

In my doctoral dissertation, I investigated the influence of Shaftesbury (a.k.a. Anthony Ashley Cooper), Francis Hutcheson, and Adam Smith on the development of Kant’s moral philosophy.

For an extendeabstract of my dissertation, see here:  Abstract

To access the full version of my dissertation online, see here:

Moral Sense Theory and the Development of Kant’s Ethics

Postdoctoral Research Project

During my postdoctoral period I am continuing to research the relation between Kant and eighteenth century Scottish moral philosophy by comparing the ways in which Hutcheson, Smith, and Kant conceived of moral obligation.

For a description of my postdoctoral research project, see here:

Moral Obligation in Kant and the Scottish Enlightenment

Papers in Progress

‘Christian Garve’s Eudaimonism’ – I explain the role of happiness in Garve’s moral philosophy and assess the accuracy of Kant’s suggestion that Garve is a ‘eudaimonist’ (see 8:395n and 6:377). I argue that although he is not a hedonist, as Kant suggests, Garve’s moral philosophy is an egoistic one, according to which all action springs from the drive for happiness, understood by Garve as both physical and spiritual perfection.

‘The Recognition of the Moral Law: Achtung in Kant and Smith’ – Expanding upon a chapter of my dissertation, in this paper I suggest that there are important conceptual similarities between Adam Smith’s notion of ‘regard’ (rendered in an early German translation as Achtung) for the ‘general rules of conduct’ and Kant’s conception of ‘respect [Achtung]’ for the moral law. I use this comparison to illuminate what it means, on Kant’s view, to recognize the authority of the moral law.

‘Kant and Consequentialism in Context: the Reviews of H.A. Pistorius’ – I illustrate that H.A. Pistorius was the first to raise the charge (made famous by J.S. Mill) that Kant was offering a consequentialist ethics in disguise, i.e. that on Kant’s view actions are wrong not because universalizing their maxim would involve a contradiction, but because such universalization has undesirable consequences. I argue that Kant was aware of this charge and responded by proposing a novel conception of value.

‘Kant and the Duty to Act from Duty’ – Although certain passages (especially in the Metaphysics of Morals) suggest Kant believes there is a ‘duty to act from duty’, I argue that there is no such duty, according to Kant, and that he thereby avoids a potentially vicious regress problem. (this paper is part of my post-doctoral research project)

For more information about my past research, see my PhilPapers profile, which has a link to my Master’s thesis (‘Adorno’s Addendum to Practical Reason’) as well as a few other pieces I published as a younger graduate student.