Idealistic Studies

Volume 43, Issue 1/2, Spring/Summer 2013

Laura Papish
Pages 11-26

Moral Feeling and Moral Conversion in Kant's "Religion"

Kant’s account of moral feeling is continually disputed in the secondary literature. My goal is to focus on the Religion and make sense of moral feeling as it appears in this context. I argue that we can best understand moral feeling if we note its place in Kant’s concerns about the possibility of moral conversion. As Kant notes, if the new, morally upright man is of a different character than the man he used to be, then it remains unclear how the new man can properly bear the debts of his old self. To address this issue, we need the presupposition that a person is both continually conscious of her empirical, bodily identity and capable of experiencing a felt recognition of the moral law; without this presupposition, I argue that fair punishment and the just payment of evil debts is impossible.