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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

3 - Kant and agent-oriented ethics


This chapter looks at the ways in which Kant's theory is agent-focused, and also at why it is not more agent-focused than it is. In Kant, as in Aristotle, "virtue" (Tugend) is by far the most complex moral quality of an agent that he discusses, and any serviceable treatment of it will require some investigation of the details not only of Kant's moral psychology but also his larger empirical theory of human nature. For Kant virtues also involve the setting and pursuing of ends. Promoting an end involves desire for it, and desire is the representation of an object accompanied by a feeling of pleasure. Kant holds that we have a duty to strive to make the motive of duty a sufficient incentive in all our actions, and that only those actions done from duty have genuine or authentic moral worth.