Cultivating moral consciousness: The quintessential relation of practical reason and mind (Gemüt) as a bulwark against the propensity for radical evil

Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (13):1371-1380 (2018)
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Abstract

To perfect human beings with an innate propensity for radical evil is a formidable task. Kant explicitly says that the propensity for evil is not eradicable; it is rooted in human nature, specifically in the human power of choice-making. The task is to reorient the natural order of choice-making, to the moral order that takes the moral law as its supreme principle. I explicate the role of a specific capacity of the human subjective side of judging in this process; namely, of ‘mind’ in its sense as Gemüt. While human willing and choice-making are subject to the influence of sensuousness, Gemüt is a capacity of sensibility that allows the human subject to enjoy the feeling of being pleased in the fulfillment of duty. Its four specific aesthetic preliminary concepts of responsiveness to concepts of duty – moral feeling, conscience, love of humanity, and respect for ones...

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