HABITUS Volume 24
2020-03-20 発行


Kant on Teachers
Shimazaki, Taichi
Kant’s theory of teachers is clarified by considering the concept of an “example” in his practical philosophy. In his Metaphysical Foundation of Virtue, the second part of The Metaphysics of Morals, Kant argues that the means of cultivating virtue is an example of a teacher. In his Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals, however, he criticizes deducing the moral principle from examples because we should examine whether individual examples are really moral on the basis of universal moral principles before we may take one person as a moral model. In Kant’s practical philosophy, an example is not a model that we must imitate, but a symbol of the feasibility of moral conduct, which encourages us to act as demanded by moral laws. We should emulate the example as a symbol of moral ideals. In short, the example serves us in encouragement and emulation, but not imitation. For instance, Jesus may be an example of a moral person. Therefore, the example of Jesus is one of the personified moral ideals whom we may emulate. In his Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason, Kant calls Jesus a “human teacher” because he is a moral symbol. Thus, Jesus is not a person who tells us divine revelations, but acts as a perfect example of a teacher for our moral self-cultivation. We must continue to endeavor to approach this perfect ideal. Although a person who could become a teacher is only Jesus as “the Holy” in its primary meaning, in its secondary meaning, those who infinitely endeavor to be moral are also teachers who encourage other pupils.