Repository | Book | Chapter


(2011) Philosophy's moods, Dordrecht, Springer.

Kant on the affective moods of morality

Ido Geiger

pp. 159-172

Kant is often charged with allowing feelings no role to play in moral action. I argue that he views a great variety of rational feelings as necessary conditions of moral agency. These feelings are not natural or socially-effected desires or inclinations. We feel them precisely because we are rational moral agents. The paper first presents a reading of the Critique of Practical Reason, according to which the moral law is the objective reason for which moral agents act, but the feeling of respect for the moral law is the effective force driving moral action. It then argues that in the Metaphysics of Morals four additional types of rational moral feelings are necessary conditions of moral action: "moral feeling, conscience, love of one's neighbor, and respect for oneself (self-esteem)" (Metaphysics of Morals, 399). Kant recognizes that the affective inner life of moral agents deliberating how to act and reflecting on their deeds is rich and complex (conscience). Furthermore, to act morally we must turn our affective moral perception towards the ends of moral action, namely, the welfare of others (love of others) and our own moral being (self-respect). Finally, feelings shape our particular moral acts; acting morally is doing the right thing in the right way (moral feeling). These variegated affective attunements to the rational claims of morality are the affective moods of morality.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1503-5_11

Full citation:

Geiger, I. (2011)., Kant on the affective moods of morality, in H. Kenaan & I. Ferber (eds.), Philosophy's moods, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 159-172.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.