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Kant's Moral Philosophy


[NB: de cursus Kant's Moral Philosophy vervangt de eerder aangegeven cursus Libertarisme]

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Political Philosophy.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy for whom this course has been specified on their admission statement.


This course will be devoted to a comprehensive review of the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. His moral theory is well-known for downgrading feelings and inclinations (or empirical desires) in favor of reason, indeed “pure” reason. Accordingly, empirical knowledge of human agency, or empirical psychology, is often held to be irrelevant to his moral theory. This is especially due to his “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” and “Critique of Practical Reason” – to which we will first turn. However, in his doctrine of virtue (in the “Metaphysics of Morals”) and his “Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View”, Kant discusses the significance of empirical, psychological conditions for moral agency, by arguing, for instance, that our sympathetic feelings have a positive role in moral agency. Special attention will be paid to these discussions and Kant’s understanding of the relationship between the empirical perspective and the pure perspective in his doctrine of virtue.

Course objectives

This course aims to examine Kant’s moral philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the basic notions, which Kant uses to explain “pure morality”, such as autonomy and the categorical imperative;

  • the key notions, which Kant uses to describe how human beings apply moral laws in real-life situations, such as virtue, moral ends, autocracy, sympathy, conscience, moral strength and moral weakness.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • explain the difference and the relation between the pure and the empirical perspective in Kant’s moral philosophy.


See: BA Filosofie

  • Filosofie, BA3 – BA Plus-traject or Standaardtraject

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending seminars (13 x 3 hours): 39 hours

  • Preparation seminars / studying literature: 120 hours

  • Preparation presentation and writing papers: 121 hours

Assessment method


  • Presentation with handout or PowerPoint (15%)

  • Midterm paper (35%)

  • Final paper (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests.


If the final mark is unsatisfactory, there is an option for re-examination by writing a 5000 word paper.
The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term test. Class participation and the presentation are required for taking the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • course information

  • PowerPoint presentations

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. M. Vujosevic
To be announced.


Not applicable.