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Chapter 6 - Virtue as a Skill

from Part II - Virtue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2018

Melissa Merritt
Affiliation:
University of New South Wales, Sydney
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Summary

This chapter examines Kant’s qualified endorsement of the idea that moral virtue may be a certain sort of skill (Fertigkeit) in the Metaphysics of Morals (6:383-4). Although the skill model of virtue goes back to ancient Socratic thought, and was developed by the Stoics, the immediate historical context of this idea for Kant was Moses Mendelssohn’s adoption of the model in his 1761 Philosophical Writings. The chapter exposes the sense in which skills, for Mendelssohn, are unreflective — and argues that it is this assumption that Kant rejects. Rather, Kant’s qualified endorsement of the skill model of virtue rests on his recognition that certain kinds of skills have reflection embedded in them. Therefore, his qualified endorsement of the skill model of virtue suggests new avenues for thinking about the role of reflection in practical thought, and so in turn in moral life, from a Kantian point of view.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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  • Virtue as a Skill
  • Melissa Merritt, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Book: Kant on Reflection and Virtue
  • Online publication: 26 April 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108344005.009
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  • Virtue as a Skill
  • Melissa Merritt, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Book: Kant on Reflection and Virtue
  • Online publication: 26 April 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108344005.009
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Virtue as a Skill
  • Melissa Merritt, University of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Book: Kant on Reflection and Virtue
  • Online publication: 26 April 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108344005.009
Available formats
×