Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 1, Fall 2010

Kristi Sweet
Pages 121-138

Kant and the Culture of Discipline
Rethinking the Nature of Nature

Kant’s notion of culture is typically treated in the context of his philosophy of history. In this paper, however, I explore the importance of culture for Kant’s doctrine of virtue, and argue that culture affords a new way—contra immortality—to think the possibility of attaining virtue. As I show, Kant identifies culture as a site of the self-effacement of nature in its influence on the will. Because of this, we see that for Kant the task of virtue encounters nature not only as obstacle, but also as something that serves, promotes, and advances virtue.