Reply to Paul Guyer and Richard Bradley

 

ADRIAN PIPER | Rationality and the Structure of the Self (2nd ed.) | APRA Foundation Berlin 2013


 

By Adrian Piper

These two sets of comments on Volume II of my Rationality and the Structure of the Self[1] (henceforth RSS II), from the two leading philosophers in their respective areas of specialisation—Kant scholarship and decision theory—are the very first to appear from any quarter within academic philosophy.[2] My gratitude to Paul Guyer and Richard Bradley for the seriousness, thoroughness and respect with which they treat RSS—and my admiration for their readiness to acknowledge the existence of books that in fact have been in wide circulation for a long time—know no bounds. Their comments and criticisms, though sharp, are always constructive. I take my role here to be to incorporate those comments and criticisms where they hit the mark, and, where they go astray, to further articulate my view to meet the standard of clarity they demand. While Guyer’s and Bradley’s comments both pertain to the substantive view elaborated in RSS II, my responses often refer back to the critical background it presupposes that I offer in RSS Volume I: The Humean Conception (henceforth RSS I). I address Guyer’s more exegetically oriented remarks first, in order to provide a general philosophical framework within which to then discuss the decision-theoretic core of the project that is the focus of Bradley’s comments.

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Moral Metaphysics or Moral Psychology?—Adrian Piper’s “Rationality and the Structure of the Self”

 

ADRIAN PIPER | Rationality and the Structure of the Self (2nd ed.) | APRA Foundation Berlin 2013


 

By Paul Guyer

Adrian Piper’s Rationality and the Structure of the Self is a monumental work in meta-ethics and moral psychology, inspired by Kant but dealing decisively with the history of a considerable portion of twentieth-century moral theory along the way. The work consists of two volumes, the first a critique of a ‘Humean’ approach to its subjects and the second the defence of a ‘Kantian’ approach. These terms are placed within scare-quotes to indicate that even though Piper’s work is thoroughly informed by detailed knowledge of both Hume and Kant, the work is far from being an historical work; the ‘Humean’ model criticised in Volume I is the ‘Belief-Desire Model’ that all practical reasoning begins with preferences not set by reason itself and the ‘Utility-Maximising Model’ that reason functions purely instrumentally in determining how best to realise the goals set by such non-rational preferences, while the ‘Kantian’ view is that reason itself sets the overriding ends of practical reasoning.

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Preference and Logic—On Adrian Piper’s “Rationality and the Structure of the Self”

 

ADRIAN PIPER | Rationality and the Structure of the Self (2nd ed.) | APRA Foundation Berlin 2013


 

By Richard Bradley

In her ambitious and wide-ranging book Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Adrian Piper seeks to establish the basic principles of what she calls transpersonal rationality, the form of rationality constitutive of the Kantian conception of the self. Transpersonal rationality is governed by principles that require us to transcend our personal preoccupations and interests and focus on those that apply to all in equal measure. By contrast, the rival Humean conception of the self, the main foil for her argument, draws on an egocentric form of rationality directed at the instrumental fulfilment of the agent’s desires but not at their content.

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Reply to Robert Louden and Alison Ross

 

RICHARD ELDRIDGE | Images of History: Kant, Benjamin, Freedom, and the Human Subject | Oxford University Press 2016


 

By Richard Eldridge

I am grateful to Critique and its editors for finding such accomplished philosophers and scholars as Robert Louden and Alison Ross to comment on Images of History, and I am grateful to both Louden and Ross for their detailed, accurate, and insightful remarks. Each of them characterises my aims and arguments well, and each of them aptly queries some central claims. I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond to their queries and to elaborate some of my lines of thought.

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