David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Kantian Review 12 (1):90-112 (2007)
One apparent paradox in Kant's moral and political philosophy is that his perfectionist moral teachings appear to be linked to his anti-perfectionist political theory. Specifically, he writes that the perfection of moral character can take place only for an individual who is inside of civil society, a condition where no laws may legitimately be implemented expressly for the purpose of trying to make individuals moral. Kant believes that living in civil society is a necessary condition for an individual to refine his talents and reason completely, a process required by morality. I believe, however, that the connection between his moral and political theory runs much deeper than simply facilitating the refinement of talents by establishing a condition that allows for peaceful coexistence. Kant’s moral theory focuses on an individual’s cultivation of virtue, but this cultivation cannot be completed most satisfactorily unless that individual is a member of civil society. Put differently, civil society plays a necessary role in cultivating an individual’s character so that he is able to act from maxims consistent with the moral law, out of the respect for the law itself. However, because Kant believes that civic laws primarily intended to encourage moral cultivation cannot be implemented legitimately, it seems curious that this condition should play such a significant role in his moral philosophy. Through this examination of Kant’s moral and political theory, it will be shown that Kant’s political society establishes a condition necessary for an individual’s complete cultivation of virtue, not by implementing laws that make men moral but by weakening the forces of heteronomy, thereby removing barriers to moral action.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Katrin Flikschuh (2007). Duty, Nature, Right: Kant's Response to Mendelssohn in Theory and Practice III. Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (2):223-241.
Helga Varden (2008). Kant's Non-Voluntarist Conception of Political Obligations: Why Justice is Impossible in the State of Nature. Kantian Review 13 (2):1-45.
Roger J. Sullivan (1994). An Introduction to Kant's Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Pauline Kleingeld (1999). Kant, History, and the Idea of Moral Development. History of Philosophy Quarterly 16 (1):59-80.
Sungmoon Kim (2010). Beyond Liberal Civil Society: Confucian Familism and Relational Strangership. Philosophy East and West 60 (4):476-498.
Lara Denis (2005). Autonomy and the Highest Good. Kantian Review 10 (1):33-59.
J. B. Schneewind (2010). Essays on the History of Moral Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Paul Saurette (2002). Kant's Culture of Humiliation: Politics and Ethical Cultivation. Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (1):59-90.
Chris W. Surprenant (2010). Liberty, Autonomy, and Kant's Civil Society. History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1).
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads85 ( #14,277 of 1,098,410 )
Recent downloads (6 months)18 ( #7,926 of 1,098,410 )
How can I increase my downloads?