Posts Tagged ‘moral philosophy


For those who think that Kant was a cold rationalist…

(my translation from German):

“There is no man which is deprived of any moral sentiment, since a total insensibility towards this feeling would mark his moral death, and if (to speak in medical terms) the ethical vital force were not any more able to produce this sentiment, humanity (for a chemical law, so to say) would disperse itself in mere animality e would merge without remedy with the mass of all the other natural beings” (Metaphysics of Morals, p. 400)

David Hume was definitely less extreme: at his best, he wrote that “there never was sny nation of the world, nor any single person in any nation, who was utterly depriv’d of them [the moral sentiments] […] These sentiments – the moral ones – are so rooted in our constitution and temper, that without entirely confounding the human mind by disease or madness, ‘tis impossible to extirpate and destroy them” (Treatise of Human Nature, 474).

A morally insensible person, for Hume, is a mad person. For Kant is a dead human agent. Who is the sentimentalist?

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