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Questions of Character$
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Iskra Fileva

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199357703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357703.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 March 2021

Kant on Cultivating a Good and Stable Will

Kant on Cultivating a Good and Stable Will

(p.63) 4 Kant on Cultivating a Good and Stable Will
Questions of Character

Adam Cureton

Oxford University Press

Kant’s deontology is often seen as a rival to virtue ethics. This chapter argues, however, that while there may be differences between Kant’s and Aristotle’s conceptions virtue (for instance, a virtuous person, in Kant’s view, may be destitute and unhappy, fail to cultivate certain emotions and sentiments, etc.), virtue is central to Kant’s ethics. The key problem is whether there is a Kantian account of virtue compatible with Kant’s view of free will. Kant held that having virtue means having a will that is both good and stable. So to cultivate virtue means to cultivate a stable will. But the idea of character cultivation seems to run counter to Kant’s view of freedom, since for Kant, people are always free to choose how to act. This chapter puts forth a novel proposal for solving this problem, one which has to do with the limits on self-knowledge.

Keywords:   Kant, virtue, stable will, freedom, self-knowledge, character cultivation

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