<i>Kant’s</i> Tugendlehre <i>as Normative Ethics</i>

Thomas E. Hill Jr.

in Virtue, Rules, and Justice

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692002
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741241 | DOI:
Kant’s Tugendlehre as Normative Ethics

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This chapter reviews, highlights, and raises questions about themes in Kant’s Doctrine of Virtue, Part II of The Metaphysics of Morals. In a wide ranging discussion it comments briefly on the topics (1) how Kant’s normative ethics relates to science, metaphysics, metaethics, and philosophy of law, (2) how Kant’s first principles relate to more specific moral principles and judgments, (3) how Kant’s idea of duties to oneself compares to contemporary conceptions, (4) how Kant addresses the problems of moral negligence, self-deception, and weakness, and (5) how to understand the role of the motive of duty in a virtuous life. The chapter emphasizes the constraints of law and justice on virtue, the moral (if not epistemological) priority of the first principles of ethics, and the irrelevance of many contemporary objections to Kant’s conception of duties to oneself. The chapter also highlights Kant’s important second order principles regarding due care in deliberation, self-scrutiny to expose excuses, and developing strength of will to resist temptations. The morally necessary motive of duty is interpreted, not as an extra duty added on each particular duty, but as the basic choice to maintain a pervasive attitude that puts moral responsibility before self-interest.

Keywords: Kant; metaphysics of morals; virtue; duties to oneself; due care; excuses; motive of duty

Chapter.  9818 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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