Immanuel Kant's final publication in ethics was The Doctrine of Virtue, Part II of the 1797 The Metaphysics of Morals. This text presents Kant's normative ethical theory. This guide is meant to be read alongside Kant's text, combining accessible explanations and novel interpretations of this difficult text. It is the first book in English devoted to The Doctrine of Virtue, one of Kant's most significant works.
Timmons divides the guide into five parts. Part I reviews Kant's life, the history and significance of The Doctrine of Virtue, and situates Kant's ethics within his general metaphysical and epistemological views. Part II is devoted to the General Introduction to The Metaphysics of Morals, which is essential for understanding Kant's ethics. Part III and Part IV turn to The Doctrine of Virtue itself, exploring Kant's defense of a system of duties and corresponding virtues. Part V examines Kant's conception of moral education, the practice of virtue, and the conclusion to the book where Kant explains why the discipline of ethics does not include religion as a doctrine of duties to God. Timmons concludes the book highlighting key aspects of The Doctrine of Virtue, situating Kant's ethical theory in relation to other normative ethical theories. This guide is a vital resource for both students and scholars interested in ethics and the history of philosophy.