Please join us for a Philosophy Club talk by Dr. Michael Otteson titled, “Decisive Indecision: A Critique of Kantian Perfectionism”

We are lucky to have Dr. Michael Otteson with us this year as a Visiting Assistant Professor. On Thursday, February 11th at 4:30 p.m. on Zoom, Dr. Otteson will deliver a talk to the Philosophy Club titled, “Decisive Indecision: A Critique of Kantian Perfectionism”. The Zoom link and talk description are provided below. We hope to see you there!

https://usu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrf-qsqjkqHtOfrGoDyExEylsF6l-sGlO4

I argue against theories of perfectionism that root normativity in the activity of rational deliberation.  These theories, which I collectively call Kantian perfectionism, assert that the human good is found in making careful, rational choices about what we want to do with our lives that respect and protect our capacity to be rational agents.  I argue that these theories are inadequate as normative theories because they fail the Terminal Requirement.  The Terminal Requirement holds that an intrinsic or ultimate good, whatever that may be, must not be entirely directed at finding some other good, lest it devolve into infinite regress or futility.  Insofar as Kantian perfectionism recommends an activity (rational deliberation) that involves determining what the agent has most reason to do, it will either find some good beyond deliberation itself or fail on its own terms.   

Author: rachelrobisongreene

Rachel Robison-Greene is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University where she regularly teaches courses in ethics, metaphysics, and logic. She earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2017. Rachel was the 2019 Tom Regan Animal Rights Fellow and serves as a board member and Secretary of the Culture and Animals Foundation. She is the author of Edibility and In Vitro Meat: Ethical Considerations and the co-author of Conspiracy Theories in the Time of Coronavirus. Her research interests include the nature of personhood and the self, animal minds and animal ethics, environmental ethics, and ethics and technology. Rachel also dedicates much of her time to public philosophy projects. She has written over 120 articles in public philosophy, including articles for the BBC, The Philosopher’s Magazine, The Prindle Post, and 1,000 Word Philosophy. She sits on both the Diversity and Rules Committees for the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and has served as a case writer for the National Bioethics Bowl and the National High School Ethics Bowl. She is a co-founder of the Utah Prison Ethics Bowl Project which is a program that brings ethics education and debate into the Utah Wasatch and Timpanogos prisons. She has also conducted philosophy for children programs in K-12 classrooms and has hosted 20 Ethics Slam events designed to help to model quality philosophical reasoning to communities all over the state over the course of four years. She enjoys traveling and spending time in nature.

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