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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

A - The character of the person


From a pragmatic consideration, the universal, natural (not civil) doctrine of signs (semiotica universalis) uses the word character in two senses: because on the one hand it is said that a certain human being has this or that (physical) character; on the other hand that he simply has a character (a moral character), which can only be one, or nothing at all. The first is the distinguishing mark of the human being as a sensible or natural being; the second is the distinguishing mark of the human being as a rational being endowed with freedom. The man of principles, from whom one knows what to expect, not from his instinct, for example, but from his will, has a character. – Therefore in the Characteristic one can, without tautology, divide what belongs to a human being's faculty of desire (what is practical) into what is characteristic in a) his natural aptitude or natural predisposition, b) his temperament or sensibility, and c) his character purely and simply, or way of thinking. – The first two predispositions indicate what can be made of the human being; the last (moral) predisposition indicates what he is prepared to make of himself.

On natural aptitude

To say that the human being has a good disposition means that he is not stubborn but compliant; that he may get angry, but is easily appeased and bears no grudge (is negatively good).

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Kant: Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View
  • Online ISBN: 9780511809569
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