Kant's Cold Sage and the Sublimity of Apathy

Kantian Review 4 (1):48-73 (2000)
Some Kantian ethicists, myself included, have been trying to show how, contrary to popular belief, Kant makes an important place in his moral theory for emotions–especially love and sympathy. This paper confronts claims of Kant that seem to endorse an absence of sympathetic emotions. I analyze Kant’s accounts of different sorts of emotions (“affects,” “passions,” and “feelings”), and different sorts of emotional coolness (“apathy,” “self-mastery,” and “cold-bloodedness”). I focus on the particular way that Kant praises apathy, as “sublime,” in order to argue that his praise of extreme emotional self-control is not incompatible with, but rather complementary to, his praise of sympathy.
Keywords Kantian ethics  emotions  sympathy  apathy  sublimity  duties to others
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