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Owen Ware
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
  1.  31
    Schiller on Evil and the Emergence of Reason.Owen Ware - 2018 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 35 (4):337-355.
    Schiller was one of many early post-Kantians who wrestled with Kant’s doctrine of radical evil, a doctrine that continues to puzzle commentators today. Schiller’s own explanation of why we are prone to pursue happiness without restriction is, I argue, subtle and multilayered: it offers us a new genealogy of reflective agency, linking our tendency to egoism to the first emergence of reason within human beings. On the reading I defend, our drive for the absolute does not lead us directly to (...)
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  2.  19
    Fichte’s Method of Moral Justification.Owen Ware - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
    While Kant’s claim that the moral law discloses our freedom to us has been extensively discussed in recent decades, the reactions to this claim among Kant’s immediate successors have gone largely overlooked by scholars. Reinhold, Creuzer, and Maimon were among three prominent thinkers of the era unwilling to follow Kant in making the moral law the condition for knowing our freedom. Maimon went so far as to reject Kant’s method of appealing to our everyday awareness of duty on the grounds (...)
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  3. Kant’s Deductions of Morality and Freedom.Owen Ware - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):116-147.
    It is commonly held that Kant ventured to derive morality from freedom in Groundwork III. It is also believed that he reversed this strategy in the second Critique, attempting to derive freedom from morality instead. In this paper, I set out to challenge these familiar assumptions: Kant’s argument in Groundwork III rests on a moral conception of the intelligible world, one that plays a similar role as the ‘fact of reason’ in the second Critique. Accordingly, I argue, there is no (...)
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  4. Fichte on Conscience.Owen Ware - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):376-394.
    There is no question that Fichte's theory of conscience is central to his system of ethics. Yet his descriptions of its role in practical deliberation appear inconsistent, if not contradictory. Many scholars have claimed that for Fichte conscience plays a material role by providing the content of our moral obligations—the Material Function View. Some have denied this, however, claiming that conscience only plays a formal role by testing our moral convictions in any given case—the Formal Function View. My aim in (...)
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  5.  21
    The Concept of Persons in Kant and Fichte.Owen Ware - forthcoming - In Antonia LoLordo (ed.), Persons: A History. Oxford University Press.
    It is well known that Kant seeks to discredit rational psychology on the grounds that we cannot access the nature of the soul by reflecting upon the ‘I think’ of self-consciousness. What is far less understood, however, is why Kant still believes the theorems of rational psychology are analytically true insofar as they represent the ‘I’ through the categories of substance, reality, unity, and existence. Early post-Kantian thinkers like Fichte would abandon this restriction and approach the concept of the ‘I’ (...)
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  6. Kant on Moral Sensibility and Moral Motivation.Owen Ware - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):727-746.
    Despite Kant’s lasting influence on philosophical accounts of moral motivation, many details of his own position remain elusive. In the Critique of Practical Reason, for example, Kant argues that our recognition of the moral law’s authority must elicit both painful and pleasurable feelings in us. On reflection, however, it is unclear how these effects could motivate us to act from duty. As a result, Kant’s theory of moral sensibility comes under a skeptical threat: the possibility of a morally motivating feeling (...)
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  7. Rethinking Kant's Fact of Reason.Owen Ware - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Kant’s doctrine of the Fact of Reason is one of the most perplexing aspects of his moral philosophy. The aim of this paper is to defend Kant’s doctrine from the common charge of dogmatism. My defense turns on a previously unexplored analogy to the notion of ‘matters of fact’ popularized by members of the Royal Society in the seventeenth century. In their work, ‘facts’ were beyond doubt, often referring to experimental effects one could witness first hand. While Kant uses the (...)
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  8. Fichte’s Normative Ethics: Deontological or Teleological?Owen Ware - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):565-584.
    One of the most controversial issues to emerge in recent studies of Fichte concerns the status of his normative ethics, i.e., his theory of what makes actions morally good or bad. Scholars are divided over Fichte’s view regarding the ‘final end’ of moral striving, since it appears this end can be either a specific goal permitting maximizing calculations (the consequentialist reading defended by Kosch 2015), or an indeterminate goal permitting only duty-based decisions (the deontological reading defended by Wood 2016). While (...)
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  9. Consciousness and Personal Identity.Owen Ware & Donald C. Ainslie - 2014 - In Aaron Garrett (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 245-264.
    This paper offers an overview of consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century philosophy. Locke introduces the concept of persons as subjects of consciousness who also simultaneously recognize themselves as such subjects. Hume, however, argues that minds are nothing but bundles of perceptions, lacking intrinsic unity at a time or across time. Yet Hume thinks our emotional responses to one another mean that persons in everyday life are defined by their virtues, vices, bodily qualities, property, riches, and the like. Rousseau also (...)
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  10. Forgiveness and Respect for Persons.Owen Ware - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3).
    The concept of respect for persons is often rejected as a basis for understanding forgiveness. As many have argued, to hold your offender responsible for her actions is to respect her as a person; but this kind of respect is more likely to sustain, rather than dissolve, your resentment toward her (Garrard & McNaughton 2003; 2011; Allais 2008). I seek to defend an alternative view in this paper. To forgive, on my account, involves ceasing to identify your offender with her (...)
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  11. The Duty of Self-Knowledge.Owen Ware - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):671-698.
    Kant is well known for claiming that we can never really know our true moral disposition. He is less well known for claiming that the injunction "Know Yourself" is the basis of all self-regarding duties. Taken together, these two claims seem contradictory. My aim in this paper is to show how they can be reconciled. I first address the question of whether the duty of self-knowledge is logically coherent (§1). I then examine some of the practical problems surrounding the duty, (...)
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  12.  81
    Accessing the Moral Law Through Feeling.Owen Ware - 2015 - Kantian Review 20 (2):301-311.
    In this article I offer a critical commentary on Jeanine Grenberg’s claim that, by the time of the second Critique, Kant was committed to the view that we only access the moral law’s validity through the feeling of respect. The issue turns on how we understand Kant’s assertion that our consciousness of the moral law is a ‘fact of reason’. Grenberg argues that all facts must be forced, and anything forced must be felt. I defend an alternative interpretation, according to (...)
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  13. Skepticism in Kant's Groundwork.Owen Ware - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):375-396.
    This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant's relationship with skepticism in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. My position differs from commonly held views in the literature in two ways. On the one hand, I argue that Kant's relationship with skepticism is active and systematic (contrary to Hill, Wood, Rawls, Timmermann, and Allison). On the other hand, I argue that the kind of skepticism Kant is interested in does not speak to the philosophical tradition in any straightforward sense (...)
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  14.  94
    Fichte's Voluntarism.Owen Ware - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):262-282.
    Abstract: In recent work Stephen Darwall has attacked what he calls J. G. Fichte's ‘voluntarist’ thesis, the idea—on Darwall's reading—that I am bound by obligations of respect to another person by virtue of my choice to interact with him. Darwall argues that voluntary choice is incompatible with the normative force behind the concept of a person, which demands my respect non-voluntarily. He in turn defends a ‘presuppositional’ thesis which claims that I am bound by obligations of respect simply by recognizing (...)
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  15.  37
    Universality and Historicity: On the Sources of Religion.Owen Ware - 2006 - Research in Phenomenology 36 (1):238-254.
    One of the central questions of Jacques Derrida's later writings concerns the sources of religion. At times he gives explicit priority to the universal dimension of religion. In other places, however, he considers the primacy of faith in its concrete, historical context. This paper will clarify Derrida's relationship to universality and historicity by first comparing his notion of "messianicity without messianism" to that of Walter Benjamin's "weak Messianism." After drawing out these differences, I will focus on Derrida's later writings. I (...)
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  16. Kant, Skepticism, and Moral Sensibility.Owen Ware - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    In his early writings, Kant says that the solution to the puzzle of how morality can serve as a motivating force in human life is nothing less than the “philosophers’ stone.” In this dissertation I show that for years Kant searched for the philosophers’ stone in the concept of “respect” (Achtung), which he understood as the complex effect practical reason has on feeling. -/- I sketch the history of that search in Chapters 1-2. In Chapter 3 I show that Kant’s (...)
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