‘Dry, obscure… prolix.’ That was Kant’s own critique of his first Critique – and exasperated students since have extended it to the rest of his work. Yet despite its sprawling form and forbidding content, Kant’s moral philosophy has continued to compel the attention of every serious thinker in the field.
Today, indeed, it seems more important than ever. Never has the need for moral absolutes been more pressing than in this age of genocide and oppression, and yet as old certainties dissipate themselves in doubt and disillusion, not only religious faith but humanist confidence have found themselves supplanted by cynicism. If the appeal to a judging deity appears an evasion, even to believers, utilitarian head-counting seems no more than an exercise in ethical accountancy.
This is where Kant comes in. Clear, concise – and overwhelmingly convincing – Ralph Walker’s lucid guide spells out the power and renewed relevance of his thinking: a genuinely objective, absolute basis for a modern moral law.