Immanuel Kant’s notion of weakness or frailty warrants more attention, for it reveals much about his theory of motivation and general metaphysics of mind. As the first and least severe of the three grades of evil, frailty captures those cases where an agent fails to act on their avowed recognition that the moral law is the only legitimate determining ground of the will. The possibility of such cases raises many important questions that have yet to be settled by interpreters. Most importantly, should we account for the failures of weakness by appealing to the activity of reason or sensibility? I will discuss this question in light of a tendency to adopt an overly dualistic reading of Kant’s moral psychology. Focusing on Kant’s remarks on weakness from the Religion and the Metaphysics of Morals, I argue that we should understand weakness as arising from the unique difficulties of sense-dependent judgment, rather than from self-deception, flagging commitment, or overwhelming desire. The resulting account offers a unified moral psychology capable of accommodating the many features of weakness that are difficult to reconcile on other readings.
Congratulations to Alexus McLeod, who has been named the new editor of The Philosophical Forum! Since 1970, The Philosophical Forum has been publishing innovative, interdisciplinary contributions in contemporary philosophical inquiry and bridging the gap between analytical and Continental scholarship.
Congratulations to graduate student Katrina Van Dyke, who has been awarded a Wood/Raith Living Trust Summer Graduate Student Fellowship! She is the first philosopher to receive the award since the graduate student fellowship's inception.
Her project is titled Gendered Viewpoints and Objectification: Reconsidering Catharine MacKinnon’s Account of Desire and Power.
Lewis Gordon is this year's Eminent Scholar, an award given by the Global Development Section of the International Studies Association. In addition to the plaque documenting the award, a panel devoted to the honoree's work, followed by a reception, will take place at the association's international meeting, which will take place next March in Nashville, Tennessee.