Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195324
Title:
A Kantian Account of Human Virtue
Author:
Brown, Christopher Anthony
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
There are certain elements of Kant's moral philosophy that I believe no moral theory can afford to ignore. On the other hand, there are others which Kant's theory evidently would be better off without. I will be developing an account of human virtue by defending and exploiting some of Kant's most fertile and sustainable ideas, while arguing against other theses of his, a few of which have come to be regarded as definitive of Kantian Ethics.I begin by showing that we can plausibly interpret Kant's texts on "the good will" and "actions from duty" as presupposing that an agent's moral goodness consists in her aptitude for lawful conduct, that is, her aptitude for living in accord with practical principles valid for all possible agents. I build my basic account of virtue by showing that this aptitude inheres in the possession of certain traits. The cornerstone of virtue, I argue, is the moral commitment: the stable, non-instrumental aim of living lawfully. For, when this commitment prevails in determining an agent's actions, lawful conduct necessarily ensues--which cannot be said of any other commitment or aim. I identify four additional elements of virtue by searching for traits that a perfectly morally committed agent might possess, and which together would guarantee that her moral commitment prevails. These are: moral understanding, strength of will, empirical understanding, and empirical power. And I suggest that when an agent violates a moral requirement, this is always saliently attributable to a lack of one or more of the five proposed elements of virtue.I supplement the basic account of virtue by arguing that the morally committed human agent is rationally required to adopt four further, general aims: the efficient pursuit of her own happiness, the happiness of other agents and non-agents, her own moral perfection, and that of other similarly committed agents. This part of my view differs significantly from Kant's, so I will be largely concerned with critiquing the relevant arguments of his. But the result is still very much a Kantian account, and one that warrants serious consideration in contemporary debates about virtue.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Philosophy; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Schmidtz, David
Committee Chair:
Schmidtz, David

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleA Kantian Account of Human Virtueen_US
dc.creatorBrown, Christopher Anthonyen_US
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Christopher Anthonyen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThere are certain elements of Kant's moral philosophy that I believe no moral theory can afford to ignore. On the other hand, there are others which Kant's theory evidently would be better off without. I will be developing an account of human virtue by defending and exploiting some of Kant's most fertile and sustainable ideas, while arguing against other theses of his, a few of which have come to be regarded as definitive of Kantian Ethics.I begin by showing that we can plausibly interpret Kant's texts on "the good will" and "actions from duty" as presupposing that an agent's moral goodness consists in her aptitude for lawful conduct, that is, her aptitude for living in accord with practical principles valid for all possible agents. I build my basic account of virtue by showing that this aptitude inheres in the possession of certain traits. The cornerstone of virtue, I argue, is the moral commitment: the stable, non-instrumental aim of living lawfully. For, when this commitment prevails in determining an agent's actions, lawful conduct necessarily ensues--which cannot be said of any other commitment or aim. I identify four additional elements of virtue by searching for traits that a perfectly morally committed agent might possess, and which together would guarantee that her moral commitment prevails. These are: moral understanding, strength of will, empirical understanding, and empirical power. And I suggest that when an agent violates a moral requirement, this is always saliently attributable to a lack of one or more of the five proposed elements of virtue.I supplement the basic account of virtue by arguing that the morally committed human agent is rationally required to adopt four further, general aims: the efficient pursuit of her own happiness, the happiness of other agents and non-agents, her own moral perfection, and that of other similarly committed agents. This part of my view differs significantly from Kant's, so I will be largely concerned with critiquing the relevant arguments of his. But the result is still very much a Kantian account, and one that warrants serious consideration in contemporary debates about virtue.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorSchmidtz, Daviden_US
dc.contributor.chairSchmidtz, Daviden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSmit, Houstonen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberTimmons, Marken_US
dc.identifier.proquest2717en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659749727en_US
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