Aristotle and Kant

Rosalind Hursthouse

in On Virtue Ethics

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247998
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597756 | DOI:
 Aristotle and Kant

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Virtue ethics is often praised, especially at the expense of Kant's deontology, for giving a better account of the moral significance of the emotions than the other ethical approaches, and, in particular, for giving a more attractive account than Kant of ‘moral motivation’. However, a careful consideration of Aristotle's enkrateia/arete distinction ( the distinction between strength of will or ‘continence’ and full virtue) and the famous passage in Kant's Grundlegung in which he discusses moral worth, reveals that, in many ways, Aristotle and Kant are much closer than is usually supposed. In so far as Aristotle has a notion of ‘motivation’, the continent and the fully virtuous agent have the same motivation—they both act from reason (logos) in the form of ‘choice’ (prohairesis.)

Keywords: arete; Aristotle; continence; Enkrateia; Kant; moral motivation; virtue ethics

Chapter.  7606 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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