Rational Feelings and Moral Agency

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24 Scopus citations


Kant's conception of moral agency is often charged with attributing no role to feelings. I suggest that respect is the effective force driving moral action. I then argue that four additional types of rational feelings are necessary conditions of moral agency: (1) The affective inner life of moral agents deliberating how to act and reflecting on their deeds is rich and complex (conscience). To act morally we must turn our affective moral perception towards the ends of moral action: (2) the welfare of others (love of others); and (3) our own moral being (self-respect). (4) Feelings shape our particular moral acts (moral feeling). I tentatively suggest that the diversity of moral feelings might be as great as the range of our duties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-308
Number of pages26
JournalKantian Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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