Educating the Common Agent: Kant on the Varieties of Moral Education

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11 Citations (Scopus)


I discuss the relation between Kant’s trust in the rational capacities of ordinary agents and education. First, I show that Kant is very optimistic regarding our common moral capacities. Then I discuss what room this leaves for moral education. I argue that a discussion of Kant’s conception of moral education should distinguish between different functions of education: (i) education is necessary for agents to make the transition from a purely instrumental to a pure practical use of reason (Basic Education); (ii) education can strengthen the motivational force of the moral law by presenting the moral law in all its dignity and clarity (Motivational Education); (iii) education can instruct agents about the source of morality and offer an abstract formula of the Categorical Imperative (Philosophical Education); and (iv) education can enhance agents’ capacity to apply general moral principles to concrete cases (Education of Judgement).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-87
Number of pages29
JournalArchiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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