Kant's Ethics of Virtue

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In his Metaphysics of Morals (particularly in the Doctrine of Virtue), but also in other late works, Kant extends and refines the content of his earlier works on ethics (Groundwork and Critique of Practical Reason) to a considerable extent. These revisions and extensions not only show the limitations of an exclusive interpretation of Kant's ethics as a deontological ethics of principles. His thoughts are also relevant for a large number of questions of theoretical morality currently under discussion. Thus, the distinction drawn in the Doctrine of Virtue between perfect and imperfect obligations informs the problem of the solvability of moral conflicts and the role of supererogatory actions. Kant goes further into the question of what it means to be a good person, what moral significance is contained in close human ties such as friendship, and what role is played by happiness and the so-called obligations towards oneself. The papers each discuss Kant's central ideas in the context of his earlier writings, but also within the context of our contemporary ethical debates. Thus attention is drawn to the significance and possible extent of an ethics of virtue understood in the Kantian sense.