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Kant and Contemporary Moral Psychology


[Please note that this course replaces the originally scheduled course Ethics and Taxation]

Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Ethics and Politics;

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Law;

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Political Science.

Students should have background knowledge of Ethics.


On the standard picture of Immanuel Kant’s moral theory, most of our psychological conditions are obstacles to morality and there is no room for a relevant moral psychology. Yet, Kant’s later work contains a rich moral psychology. In the first part of this course, the key concepts in Kant’s moral psychology, such as self-control, strength and weakness of will, imagination and conscience will be discussed. In the second part, prominent contemporary treatments of these topics will be addressed. For example, Alfred Mele’s and Jeannette Kennett’s influential accounts. Moreover, closer attention will also be paid to moral competence of individuals with high functioning autism and psychopathy, that is, the individuals who are respectively known for having impaired imaginative ability and dysfunctional conscience.

Course objectives

This course aims to examine and compare Kant’s and contemporary moral psychology.

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

  • Kant’s conception of self-control, moral strength, moral weakness, imagination’s role in moral judgement and conscience;

  • important contemporary treatments of these topics.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • explain the difference between Kant’s accounts and the accounts found in the literature on contemporary moral psychology;

  • apply these accounts to particular cases.


See: MA Philosophy 60 EC.
See: MA Philosophy 120 EC.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars.

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course (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)