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Lara Denis (Agnes Scott College)

Philosophy Colloquium Series

October 26, 2012 3:30 pm Philosophy Conference Room

"Love of Honor as a Kantian Virtue"


In his initial Doctrine of Virtue presentation of lying, avarice, and servility as vices contrary to the perfect duty to oneself as a moral being only, Kant says that the virtue opposed to these vices “could be called love of honor” (AA 6:420). The meaning of this claim is far from obvious, however. In this paper, I present an account according to which love of honor, as a virtue, is a practical attitude involving respect for humanity in one's own person and pride in its dignity. Yet love of honor is not only a virtue for Kant. It has broader connotations and darker associations as well. Understanding these less fully moralized depictions of love of honor not only helps explain Kant’s tentative-sounding identification of love of honor as a virtue, but also helps to complete and clarify my account of it as a virtue.


Lara Denis is professor and chair of the philosophy department and director of the ethics program at Agnes Scott College. She is author of Moral Self-Regard: Duties to Oneself in Kant’s Moral Theory (Garland, 2001), and editor of Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Her essays in Kantian ethics have appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, History of Philosophy Quarterly, Kantian Review, Kant-Studien, and elsewhere.

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