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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

10 - Kant's impartial virtues of love


This chapter argues that the proper recognition of love as a moral force in Immanuel Kant undermines virtue-theoretic criticism of Kant's ethics in a variety of ways. To regard love as having impartial, and indeed universal and unconditional aspects, which underlie the duties of beneficience and forgiveness, presents special difficulties. Although the impartiality and universality of Kant's ethics is generally associated with the moral force of respect, the moral force of love for Kant also has a fundamental impartial universal aspect which is also foundational. The combination of universality, particularity, and unconditionality has not been thought problematic for universal respect, but it has rendered the ideal of universal love suspect. The chapter also looks at the idea of adopting benevolence as a maxim, and focuses on the objection as applicable to certain themes implicit and explicit in Kant's treatment of love, namely self-love and pride, and forgiveness.

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