I’m not getting this one for Christmas, but I’m looking forward to reading it – reviewed by Tatiana Patrone:
At a Kant conference last summer, I met a beginning graduate student who said that “everything in Kant fascinated her” but that she will “for now focus only on Kant’s notion of freedom.” People at our lunch table smiled — while certainly admirable, the hope to focus “only” on what Kant said about freedom seems so unrealistic that one feels bewildered about a project such as this (unless one is in her twenties!) And yet Susan Shell undertakes a task equally (if not more) gargantuan in her 2009 Kant and the Limits of Autonomy. This task is made even more challenging by Shell’s consistent commitment not only to the analysis of Kant’s arguments (pre-critical and critical) concerning autonomy, but also to looking at the historical context in which these arguments emerged and developed. As the result, Shell’s 400-page exposition of Kant’s notion of autonomy and of the surrounding issues provides a wonderful guide to anyone who is interested in the many levels and in the philosophical complexity of the topic.