Kant’s contribution to moral education: the relevance of catechistics

Journal of Moral Education 39 (2):165-174 (2010)
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Abstract
Kant’s deontological ethics, along with Aristotle’s virtue ethics and Mill’s utilitarian ethics, is often identified as one of the three primary moral options between which individuals can choose. Given the importance of Kant’s moral philosophy, it is surprising and disappointing how little has been written on his important contributions to moral education. Kant argues for a catechistic approach to moral education. By memorizing a series of moral questions and answers, an individual learns the basic principles of morality in the same way that Martin Luther believed an individual should learn the tenets of Christianity. The difficulty, however, is that this approach appears to violate a central tenet of Kantian morality: virtuous acts must be performed out of respect for the moral law itself, not due to habituation. This paper demonstrates Kant’s significant contribution to moral education by showing how a catechistic moral education establishes the foundation necessary for autonomous action.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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