Evil, virtue, and education in Kant

Paul Formosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For Kant, we cannot understand how to approach moral education without confronting the radical evil of humanity. But if we start out, as Kant thinks we do, from a morally corrupt state, how can we make moral progress? In response, I explore in this paper Kant’s gradualist and revolutionary accounts of moral progress. These differing accounts of progress raise two key questions in the literature: are these accounts compatible and which type of progress comes first? Against other views in the literature, I argue that gradual progress through a change of mores must come first and can gradually lead toward, as its ideal endpoint, a revolution in our disposition (or a change of heart) and the overthrowing of our radical evil. This has important implications for moral pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1326
Number of pages10
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number13
Early online date19 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Education
  • Evil
  • Kant
  • Moral Pedagogy
  • Radical Evil
  • Virtue

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