Themes in Kant's Metaphysics and Ethics
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The essays on ethics revolve around the notion of practical reasoning. Melnick contends that Kant is correct that such reasoning cannot be causally determined. This undercuts any compatibilist account of freedom of action as action controllable by practical reasoning. Kant's moral theory is claimed to be a version of social-contract theory. This explains some troublesome aspects in Kant's formulations of his categorical imperative. Melnick claims that such theories, even with Kant's connection of them to autonomy, do not function well as motivational justifications of morality. He offers a different version of a categorical imperative that is supposed to avoid this problem.