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If there is to be any progress in the debate about what sort of positive moral status Kant can give the emotions, we need a taxonomy of the terms Kant uses for these concepts. It used to be thought that Kant had little room for emotions in his ethics. In the past three decades, Marcia Baron, Paul Guyer, Barbara Herman, Nancy Sherman, Allen Wood and others have argued otherwise. Contrary to what a cursory reading of the Groundwork may indicate, Kant thinks the emotions play an important role in the moral life. I want to extend the work of Baron, Guyer, Herman, Sherman and Wood in three ways. First, I will set out in a diagram Kant's taxonomy of feelings and emotions. Agreement on such a taxonomy should make it easier to evaluate debates about Kant and the emotions. Second, I will focus on a certain subclass of emotions – reason-caused affects – that have previously received little attention, even from these Kant scholars. Third, these scholars base much of their defence of Kant on his later works – especially the Metaphysics of Morals (1797) and the Anthropology (1798) – but Kant's fairly rich taxonomy of the emotions, including reason-caused affects, is clearly in place at least as early as the Critique of Judgment (1790). I believe that the Critique of Judgment is an importantly ignored resource for understanding the moral role of the emotions for Kant. The third Critique makes positive, philosophically interesting claims about the emotions and morality. Kant emphasizes certain roles for emotions in this work that he develops to the same extent nowhere else. Nevertheless, the Critique of Judgment goes all but unmentioned by many who write on these issues. In what follows, I will defend as many of my claims as possible using the third Critique.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Kantian Review in March, 2002, available online:

Kelly Sorensen was affiliated with Yale University at the time of publication.