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Institute for Philosophy Opening Academic Year 2022-2023

Thursday 8 September 2022
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

On Thursday, 8 September 2022 the Institute of Philosophy will celebrate the opening of Academic Year 2022-2023. All staff, students, and members of the wider philosophical community are cordially invited to attend the presentations.


16:00 Opening & Welcome

Douglas Berger
Academic Director/Professor, Global and Comparative Philosophy

16:10 Speech

Fabius Schöndube "The experience of being a young philosopher"
Student representative

16:25 Lecture

Marijana Vujosevic "The Kantian Capacity for Moral Self-Control"
University Lecturer Moral and Political Philosophy


Drinks & bites in the Faculty Club


The Kantian Capacity for Moral Self-Control

Self-control is central to Kantian virtue. But although virtue is a kind of self-constraint in end-setting, self-control is often read as a mere instrument for realizing ends. To the extent that we merely acknowledge self-control’s role in following already-adopted maxims, we fail to capture the distinctive aspect of moral self-control identified by Kant. I therefore propose a fuller account of the Kantian capacity for moral self-control by analyzing it as abstraction. For Kant, abstraction is the activity of diverting attention from certain sensible impressions by focusing it on something else. My analysis shows that his conception of moral self-control involves two intimately related levels, which are meant to meet different criteria. Whereas the first level is connected to our ability to adopt virtuous maxims and requires that we abstract from all sensible impressions, the second is associated with our ability to follow these maxims and does not necessarily require this radical abstraction. Explaining self-control’s role in adopting maxims and ethical end-setting leads to a fuller account of self-control, which can be central to Kantian virtue. This account also provides an alternative for the dominant, merely instrumental view of self-control. Contemporary moral psychology has downplayed a significant form of self-control, namely, resisting the temptation to lower our moral standards when setting ourselves goals. It also seems to contain no attempt to fully clarify self-control as the ability to redirect attention ­ even though numerous empirical studies bolster the close tie between self-control and attention.

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