Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-kpmwg Total loading time: 0.266 Render date: 2021-12-06T06:55:41.411Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

3 - Virtue, human nature, and moral health: Kant's dispute with Schiller

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 December 2010

Anne Margaret Baxley
Affiliation:
Washington University, St Louis
Get access

Summary

In his famous epigram, Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), the great German poet, dramatist, and philosopher, captures what many readers have found counterintuitive about Kant's account of moral motivation in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, when he suggests that the Kantian moral agent must try to despise her friends and help them from duty alone, if her beneficence is to have genuine moral worth and express a good will. These joking lines, which we considered in Chapter 1, represent one natural line of criticism of Kant's account of acting from duty as it appears in Section I of the Groundwork. It would be unfortunate, however, if Schiller's well-known satire were mistaken for his considered interpretation and assessment of Kant's ethics. In “On Grace and Dignity,” his lengthy essay of 1793 that blends aesthetic and moral themes in novel ways, Schiller sets out a more subtle, far-reaching challenge to Kant, when he argues that genuine virtue requires cultivating sensibility to harmonize with reason and that the fully virtuous person takes pleasure in moral action, without experiencing moral laws as categorical imperatives. As Schiller sees it, sensibility must play a necessary, constructive role in virtue, and he takes this to imply that the good-willed Kantian agent, the person who does her duty from duty without wanting to act as morality dictates, fails to demonstrate all that is required for a truly good moral character.

Type
Chapter
Information
Kant's Theory of Virtue
The Value of Autocracy
, pp. 85 - 123
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Brelage, Manfred, “Schillers Kritik an der Kantischen Ethik,” in Studien zur Transzendentalphilosophie (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1965), pp. 230–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Deligiorgi, Katerina, “Grace as a Guide to Morals? Schiller's Aesthetic Turn in Ethics,” History of Philosophy Quarterly 23, 1 (2006): 1–20Google Scholar
Gauthier, Jeffrey, “Schiller's Critique of Kant's Moral Psychology: Reconciling Practical Reason and an Ethics of Virtue,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27 (1997): 513–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geuss, Raymond, “Kultur, Bildung, Geist,” History and Theory 35, 2 (1996): 151–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henrich, Dieter, “Das Prinzip der kantischen Ethik,” Philosophische Rundschau 2 (1954–5): 29–34Google Scholar
Miller, R. D., Schiller and the Ideal of Freedom: A Study of Schiller's Philosophical Works with Chapters on Kant (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970)Google Scholar
Garve, , Philosophische Anmerkungen und Abhandlungen zu Ciceros Buchern von den Pflichten (Breslau: Wilhelm Gottlieb Korn, 1783)Google Scholar

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send 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 sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send 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 sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×