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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 32, Issue 4, December 2009

Kevin S. Decker
Pages 331-343

Teaching Autonomy and Emergence through Pop Culture
Kant, Dewey, and Captain Picard

Teaching Kantian ethics is difficult, for “getting Kant right” extends to a wide field of concerns. This paper is aimed at instructors who wish to give interdisciplinary criticism of Kantian deontology by discussing exceptions naturalist critics take to Kant’s concept of “autonomy.” This concept can and should be supplanted by the notion of “emergent intelligence.” Surprising support for this project comes from the fictional exploits of Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard. I conclude by indicating how the residual lessons from this criticism of Kant should lead us back to an understanding of emergence within Kant’s own third Critique.