Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 December 2021
I examine the significance of the Stoic theory of pathē (and related topics) for Kant’s moral psychology, arguing against the received view that systematic differences block the possibility of Kant’s drawing anything more than rhetoric from his Stoic sources. More particularly, I take on the chronically underexamined assumption that Kant is committed to a psychological dualism in the tradition of Plato and Aristotle, positing distinct rational and nonrational elements of human mentality. By contrast, Stoics take the mentality of an adult human being to be rational through and through, while recognising that this rationality is not normally in a state of health or excellence. I show how Kant’s account of affections—chiefly the “affects” and “passions” that he identifies as targets of a duty of apathy—draws substantive lessons from his Stoic sources, and how he accepts on his own terms the monistic principles of Stoic moral psychology.
References to Kant’s works follow volume and page of the German Academy edition: Kants Gesammelte Schriften (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1900–). Quotations follow those in the following volumes of Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) where available, but are modified on occasion:
Ancient sources are cited in conventional ways, using the abbreviations noted in bold below. Seneca’s De Ira is abbreviated Ira, and appears in Seneca (1928) and (2010). Quotations are drawn from any separately listed English translations (e.g., Cicero 2002, not Cicero 1927).