Abstract and Keywords
Immanuel Kant defines virtue as a kind of strength and resoluteness of will to resist and overcome any obstacles that oppose fulfilling our moral duties. Human agents, according to Kant, owe it to themselves to strive for perfect virtue by fully committing to morality and by developing the fortitude to maintain and execute this life-governing policy, despite obstacles. This chapter reviews basic features of Kant’s conception of virtue and then discusses the role of emotions, a motive of duty, exemplars, rules, and community in a virtuous life. Kant thinks that striving to be more virtuous requires not only respect for moral principles and control of our contrary emotions, but also a system of legally enforced rules and communities of good persons. Exemplars and cultivated good feelings and emotions can be useful aids along the way, but Kant warns against attempting to derive one’s moral standards from examples or feelings.
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