Andres Tennus

U.S. Professor of Philosophy gives a presentation on Kant's moral philosophy and lying

On October 18, Prof. James E. Mahon will give a presentation “Kant and the Three Duties Not to Lie“ at the Department of Philosophy’s Intellectual History seminar.

James E. Mahon, a philosophy professor at City University of New York - Lehman College, is one of the leading authors in the Anglo-American tradition on lying and deception, who is also soon about to publish a monograph about Immanuel Kant’s views on lying – “Kant on Lies” (Cambridge University Press). At the Intellectual History seminar, he will give a presentation based on one of the chapters of this forthcoming monograph.

In his presentation, Mahon argues that there are three duties not to lie in Kant’s moral philosophy: a duty of right to humanity not to lie, a duty of right to others not to lie, and a perfect ethical duty to oneself not to lie.

In the introduction of his presentation, he writes that the example of a duty to others not to lie in the “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” (1785) should be understood as a duty of right, not an ethical duty, and that the example of making a lying promise to get money should be understood as an example of a lie that violates another’s right.

James E. Mahon's research topics are moral philosophy and its history, and early modern philosophy. He has published extensively on lying and related topics like deception, reticence, secrets, and fiction.

The Intellectual History seminar will take place on October 18 from 4.15 pm to 5.45 pm at Jakobi 2-336. Everyone is welcome to participate!

The seminar is organized by the Chair of Intellectual History of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Tartu.

Cover photo: Kant's death mask from University of Tartu Art Museum. Photo: Andres Tennus / Prof James E. Mahon. Photo: Private collection

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