In Robert R. Clewis (ed.), Reading Kant's Lectures. De Gruyter. pp. 243-256 (2015)

Alix Cohen
University of Edinburgh
This paper begins by examining the natural function of the feeling of love of honor. Like all natural drives, it has been implanted by nature to secure the survival and progress of the human species. However, mechanically, through the interplay of social forces, it soon turns into a competitive drive for superiority, what Kant calls “love of honor in a bad sense” (V-MS/Vigil 27: 695). This drive, which also enables the progress of human civilization, brings with it all the “vices of culture” (RGV 6: 27). However, from “mere semblance and glittering misery” (IaG 8: 26) can emerge “something quite serious” (Anth 7: 153), for even the worst forms of love of honor contain a nugget of virtue. A shift thereby transforms its natural function from an inclination to fake virtue to an inclination that aids it, thereby going from generating the appearance of worth to generating moral worthiness. The feeling of the love of honor thus has a dual nature, as a means to preserve the species and as an aid to morality. As I will show, these two functions converge in the role of culture, at once anchored in natural predispositions and oriented towards morality, at once an end of civilization and a means to moralization. In this sense, as part of human culture, the feeling love of honor can be seen as the locus of the convergence, if not the reconciliation, of the perspective of nature and that of morality.
Keywords kant, feeling, love, honour
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DOI 10.1515/9783110345339-022
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