Kantian Ethics and Aristotelian Emotions: A Constructive Interpretation

Solanas, Montserrat Bordes (2004) Kantian Ethics and Aristotelian Emotions: A Constructive Interpretation. Teorema: Revista internacional de filosofía, 23 (1-3). pp. 57-70. ISSN 0210-1602

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Abstract

Most historians of moral philosophy have considered the Kantian approach to rational dutiful action as incompatible with the Aristotelian view of the emotionally trained moral agent. However, some moral philosophers hold now that Kantian and Aristotelian ethics are almost compatible with each other, that a deep affinity exists between the two views and that the differences between them lie in their ideas on moral psychology, not in their ideas on normative ethics. I agree that, in spite of the traditional reading of Kant, (1) the two accounts share the idea of the necessity of a rational principle of volition, so that only reflective motivation can be the source of moral action and that (2) emotions are not necessarily excluded from the Kantian theory of moral motivation, insofar as the heteronomy problem and the overdetermination problem can be solved. Thus, it would be unfairly reductionist to see Kant as a neo-Stoic philosopher defending the extirpation of emotions. Nevertheless, even if we read his writings in a generous vein, I would say that we can identify some important normative differences between Kantian and Aristotelian ethics, as Kant would consider the Aristotelian continent or self-controlled agent as a wholly virtuous agent. I will assume, leaving aside historical accuracy, that it is possible nonetheless to accommodate a neo-Aristotelian cognitivist view of moral emotions to a Kantian picture, in order to account for (1) cases of personal relationships, (2) the prudential nature of practical reason, (3) the necessary requirements of the moral character and (4) the moral worth of the happiness of the harmonic agent (my argument of the dutiful emotional harmony.) Finally, I sketch a cognitivist theory of emotions, which allows me to make a distinction between raw emotions (mostly neglected by Kant) and tamed or trained emotions, on the one hand, and fitting versus appropriate emotions on the other, necessary to show that appropriate moral trained emotions are not only epistemically good guides for evaluative judgements, but also morally worthy ingredients of a good life.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Teorema. Revista internacional de filosofia > Volume XXIII (2004)
Depositing User: Sissi Kemp
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2013 17:30
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2013 17:30
URI: http://sammelpunkt.philo.at/id/eprint/2329

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