Kant's Virtues

Onora O'Neill

in How Should One Live?

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780198752349
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597251 | DOI:
 Kant's Virtues

Show Summary Details


Kant's ethics is often but wrongly criticized for neglecting the virtues or offering a poor account of them. He in fact offers a rich and careful account, and a plausible reading of his theory of action shows that it is neither too inward nor too individualistic. In particular, maxims of virtue are ‘not objects of introspection’ (Kant denies that we have adequate self‐knowledge) and ‘not constructed by ascription’ (their relation to action is too indeterminate). Rather, Kant sees maxims of virtue as ‘prescriptions’, which can be used to guide virtuous action, but may provide no way of showing whether virtue has been achieved.

Keywords: Kant; Kantian ethics; maxims; theory of action; virtue; virtue ethics

Chapter.  9877 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.