Kant’s Human Being: Essays on His Theory of Human Nature

Kant’s Human Being: Essays on His Theory of Human Nature


Document Type



This book continues and deepens avenues of research first initiated in the author’s highly acclaimed book, Kant’s Impure Ethics. Drawing on a wide variety of both published and unpublished works spanning all periods of Kant’s extensive writing career, the author focuses on Kant’s under-appreciated empirical work on human nature, with particular attention to the connections between this body of work and his much-discussed ethical theory. Kant repeatedly claimed that the question, “What is the human being” is philosophy’s most fundamental question, one that encompasses all others. The author analyzes and evaluates Kant’s own answer to his question, showing how it differs from other accounts of human nature. The book is divided into three parts. Part One explores the nature and role of virtue in Kant’s ethical theory, showing how the conception of human nature behind Kant’s virtue theory results in a virtue ethics that is decidedly different from more familiar Aristotelian virtue ethics programs. Part Two uncovers the dominant moral message in Kant’s anthropological investigations, drawing new connections between Kant’s work on human nature and his ethics. Part Three explores specific aspects of Kant’s theory of human nature developed outside of his anthropology lectures, in his works on religion, geography, education, and aesthetics, and shows how these writings substantially amplify his account of human beings.



Publication Date



Oxford University Press


New York


Kant, human nature, ethical theory, virtue theory, virtue ethics

Kant’s Human Being: Essays on His Theory of Human Nature

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