Misunderstanding duty: Vices of culture, ‘aggravated’ vice, and the role of casuistical questions in moral education

Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (13):1339-1349 (2018)
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This paper considers the role of ‘vices of culture’ in Immanuel Kant’s account of radical evil and education. I argue that Kant was keenly aware of a uniquely human tendency to allow a self-centered concern for status to misunderstand or co-opt the language of dignity and equal worth for its own purposes. This tendency lies at the root of the ‘vices of culture’ and ‘aggravated vices’ that Kant describes in the Religion and Doctrine of Virtue, respectively. When it comes to moral education, then, it will be crucial that the developing agent have a clear understanding of the shared dignity of rational agents and the particular duties that are defined, in part, by their tendency to alter status among agents. I argue that the casuistical questions that Kant attaches to these discussions in the Doctrine of Virtue are an example of a pedagogical device that might help pupils to overcome this tendency so closely associated with radical evil.



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Kate Moran
Brandeis University

References found in this work

Servility and self-respect.Thomas E. Hill - 1973 - The Monist 57 (1):87 - 104.
Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform.Laura Papish - 2018 - [New York]: Oxford University Press.
Kant's Criticism of Common Moral Rational Cognition.Martin Sticker - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4).

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