A change of heart: Moral emotions, transformation, and moral virtue

Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (1):31-50 (2004)
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Abstract

Inspired in part by a renewed attention to Aristotle's moral philosophy, philosophers have acknowledged the important role of the emotions in morality. Nonetheless, precisely how emotions matter to morality has remained contentious. Aristotelians claim that moral virtue is constituted by correct action and correct emotion. But Kantians seem to require solely that agents do morally correct actions out of respect for the moral law. There is a crucial philosophical disagreement between the Aristotelian and Kantian moral outlooks: namely, is feeling the correct emotions necessary to virtue or is it an optional extra, which is permitted but not required. I argue that there are good reasons for siding with the Aristotelians: virtuous agents must experience the emotions appropriate to their situations. Moral virtue requires a change of heart.

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Susan A. Stark
Bates College

References found in this work

Aristotle on learning to be good.Myles F. Burnyeat - 1980 - In Amélie Rorty (ed.), Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics. University of California Press. pp. 69--92.
On the value of acting from the motive of duty.Barbara Herman - 1981 - Philosophical Review 90 (3):359-382.
The Doctrine of Virtue.Immanuel Kant - 1965 - Ethics 75 (2):142-143.

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