Anne Margaret Baxley offers a systematic interpretation of Kant's theory of virtue, whose most distinctive features have not been properly understood. She explores the rich moral psychology in Kant's later and less widely read works on ethics, and argues that the key to understanding his account of virtue is the concept of autocracy, a form of moral self-government in which reason rules over sensibility. Although certain aspects of Kant's theory bear comparison to more familiar Aristotelian claims about virtue, Baxley contends that its most important aspects combine to produce something different - a distinctively modern, egalitarian conception of virtue which is an important and overlooked alternative to the more traditional Greek views which have dominated contemporary virtue ethics.
Anne Margaret Baxley is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy at Washington University in St Louis and the author of a number of journal articles on Kant.
Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. The good will, moral worth, and duty: concerns about Kant's rationalist moral psychology; 2. Kant's Conception of Virtue and the autocracy of Pure Practical Reason; 3. Virtue, human nature, and moral health: Kant's dispute with Schiller; 4. The moral psychology of Kantian virtue; Conclusion: Kant's considered account of moral character and the good will reconsidered.