Can Kant have an account of moral education?

Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (4):471-484 (2009)
Abstract
There is an apparent tension between Immanuel Kant's model of moral agency and his often-neglected philosophy of moral education. On the one hand, Kant's account of moral knowledge and decision-making seems to be one that can be self-taught. Kant's famous categorical imperative and related 'fact of reason' argument suggest that we learn the content and application of the moral law on our own. On the other hand, Kant has a sophisticated and detailed account of moral education that goes well beyond the kind of education a person would receive in the course of ordinary childhood experience. The task of this paper will be to reconcile these seemingly conflicting claims. Ultimately, I argue, Kant's philosophy of education makes sense as a part of his moral theory if we look not only at individual moral decisions, but also at the goals or ends that these moral decisions are intended to achieve. In Kant's case, this end is what he calls the highest good, and, I argue, the most coherent account of the highest good is a kind of ethical community and end of history, similar to the Groundwork 's realm of ends. Seen as a tool to bring about and sustain such a community, Kant's philosophy of moral education exists as a coherent and important part of his moral philosophy.
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References found in this work BETA
Barbara Herman (1985). The Practice of Moral Judgment. Journal of Philosophy 82 (8):414-436.
Citations of this work BETA
Johannes Giesinger (2010). Free Will and Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education 44 (4):515-528.
Johannes Giesinger (2011). Kant's Account of Moral Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (7):775-786.

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