Helga Varden on Sidney Axinn’s “Sacrifice and Value”


SIDNEY AXINN | Sacrifice and Value. A Kantian Interpretation | Rowman & Littlefield 2010


By Helga Varden

Sidney Axinn’s project in Sacrifice and Value is bold. The aim is to rectify what he considers a serious limitation of most mainstream moral philosophy, namely that it ignores the importance of sacrifice. More specifically, Axinn wants to overcome this problem by putting his “concept of sacrifice […] in the center of analyses of value. The argument will be that inherent value, in every example of it, is created by sacrifice” (p. ix). He wants to justify the claim that “we create […] value for ourselves by our sacrifices” (p. 12), indeed that sacrifice is “a basis for value generally, not moral value alone” (p. 26). Axinn’s concept of sacrifice, in turn, is understood as “to intentionally give a gift, without expecting compensation” (p. 9). Read more

Katerina Deligiorgi on Sidney Axinn’s “Sacrifice and Value”


SIDNEY AXINN | Sacrifice and Value. A Kantian Interpretation | Rowman & Littlefield 2010


By Katerina Deligiorgi

The title of Sidney Axinn’s new book, Sacrifice and Value, is likely to raise the expectation that the book is a study of supererogatory acts, that is, acts that are valued because they are aimed at ends that exceed the merely obligatory. Although Kant, mentioned here in the subtitle, does discuss such acts, calling them “supermeritorious” (KpV, AA 5:155), the contemporary discussion of supererogation is shaped by J. O. Urmson (1958), who argued that Kant’s ethics cannot account for the moral worth of supererogatory acts. This is because Kant does not distinguish between acts that are good to do and bad not to do, and acts that are supererogatory, that is good to do, but not bad not to do. Sacrifice would seem to be a paradigm case of such acts. However, Axinn’s book is not concerned with these exceptional acts. Rather, it aims to give us an account of moral value as such and the bold proposal it defends is that the source of all value is sacrifice. The proposal is bold on two counts: first, it puts sacrifice in the centre of value theory, and second, it claims Kantian sources for this move. Read more

Reply to Sebastian Gardner and Nick Stang


OMRI BOEHM | Kant’s Critique of Spinoza | Oxford University Press 2014


By Omri Boehm 

I thank Sebastian Gardner and Nick Stang for taking the time to offer comments on and criticisms of my Kant’s Critique of Spinoza. Ideally, I would have been able to respond to their comments concurrently, addressing separate topics rather than reviewers. However, given the differences between the reviews’ structure and content, it would be difficult to do so effectively. In the following, therefore, I provide a brief context of the book’s main thesis and trajectory, before proceeding to address some of Gardner’s and Stang’s comments, in that order. Read more