Nora Kassan

Nora Kassan, M.A.

Curriculum Vitae

  • since november 2013: PhD-Studies in Philosophy at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, supervised by Prof. Dr. C. Mieth
  • since SoSe 2008: Student Research Assistant at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, subsequently Graduate Assistant at the Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie and Seminar-Tutor at the chair of Prof. Dr. C. Horn
  • 2006-2013: Studies in Philosophy (and Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn


PhD-Project: Feeling practical reason: the debate on Kant’s respect

According to the (moral) rationalist, agents cannot rely on feelings. Independently of one’s own will, they come and go. I. Kant, well known for his rigorism of rationality, nonetheless advocates a theory of moral feeling. “Respect” is considered to be a feeling induced by practical reason alone, and seems to be systematically relevant for Kant`s moral theory. However, what exactly does he need this feature for? Is it a mere question of psychology, strictly speaking a concession to Hume`s account of motive forces? Are we then depending on this feeling in the sense that it enforces us to do the right thing? Or, do we also feel respect in the case of acting badly?

Kant himself is ambiguous about this so that many open questions are still debatable. Kantian scholars have provided rather different answers and mostly discussed only partial aspects of the problem which is, in fact, more complex. Therefore, my work is firstly meta-theoretical in order to clarify the mainstream debate, in particular in the context of two contrastive accounts: on the one hand, the (meanwhile) established distinction between the “intellectualist” and the “affectivist” view, provided by R. McCarty (1993) to support the affectivistic course. On the other hand, the analysis given by K. L. Reinhold (1798) locates the dispute, instead, between two intellectualistic accounts, excluding the dogma of Humean action theory from the beginning.

Reinhold`s suggestion includes a conceivable approach to restore the intellectualist`s position, not yet discussed in the contemporary debate and charging its reevaluation. Thereby the crucial question about respect shifts to the issue of honesty. It is asked whether the (moral) rationalist himself could ever act truly morally, albeit he cannot ever be philosophically convinced of the existence of really moral actions.