Active Sympathetic Participation: Reconsidering Kant's Duty of Sympathy

Kantian Review 14 (1):31-52 (2009)

Melissa Seymour Fahmy
University of Georgia
In the Doctrine of Virtue Kant divides duties of love into three categories: beneficent activity , gratitude and Teilnehmung – commonly referred to as the duty of sympathy . In this paper I will argue that the content and scope of the third duty of love has been underestimated by both critics and defenders of Kant's ethical theory. The account which pervades the secondary literature maintains that the third duty of love includes only two components: an obligation to make use of our natural receptivity to sympathetic feelings as a means to fulfilling other duties of love, and an indirect duty to cultivate these feelings. As a result, Kant's duty of sympathy has been widely regarded as a duty whose value is derived from the way in which it serves other duties, in particular, the duty of beneficent activity, which obliges agents ‘to promote according to one's means the happiness of others in need’ . Teilnehmung has thus assumed something of a second-class status among the duties to others. My aim in this paper is to demonstrate that the prevailing account of Kant's third duty of love is incomplete
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DOI 10.1017/S1369415400001333
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References found in this work BETA

Critique of the Power of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
Kant’s Ethical Thought.Allen W. Wood - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.

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Forgiveness and Moral Development.Paula Satne - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1029-1055.

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