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Morality within the limits of practical reason: a critique of Kant’s concept of moral virtue

Edward Uzoma Ezedike (Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Article publication date: 20 January 2020

Issue publication date: 22 April 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate Kant’s idea of grounding morality within the limits of practical reason. Kant argues that morality must be devoid of emotions if the authors must make the right decisions. His idea of morality is basically ratiocentric. This paper, therefore, seeks a justification of Kant’s ratiocentricism, which excludes subjective emotional dimensions in moral actions and judgements.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a critical and analytic method of research. It is not empirical research, and hence, does not make use of tables and quantifiable data. The methodology is exclusively qualitative in nature.

Findings

The major finding of this research work is that an application of practical reason is necessary for the moral agency but it is not a sufficient condition for moral agency. The existential realities demand a synthetic application of reason and emotion in moral issues. So then, a good will is determined by the rational principle. The reason is an organic whole that is capable of functioning both practically and theoretically. The practical reason is not reasoned functioning to acquire knowledge but reason operating as a guide and as the directing force of the will. The application of pure, practical reason and relevant emotional considerations is both necessary and sufficient for moral agency.

Originality/value

This paper is the outcome of deep critical reflections on Kant’s moral philosophy by the author.

Keywords

Citation

Ezedike, E.U. (2020), "Morality within the limits of practical reason: a critique of Kant’s concept of moral virtue", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 205-216. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOES-11-2018-0171

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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