A Good Enough Heart: Kant and the Cultivation of Emotions

Kantian Review 22 (3):441-462 (2017)
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One way of understanding Kant’s views about moral emotions is the cultivation view. On this view, emotions play a role in Kantian morality provided they are properly cultivated. I evince a sceptical position about the cultivation view. First, I show that the textual evidence in support of cultivation is ambiguous. I then provide an account of emotions in Kant’s theory that explains both his positive and negative views about them. Emotions capture our attention such that they both disrupt the mind’s composure and serve as a surrogate for reason. As such, Kant cannot recommend that we cultivate our emotions.

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Krista Thomason
Swarthmore College


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