Emotional Intelligence and Moral Theory: A Kantian Approach
This project examines the role that emotions can and should play in morality and moral theory. A philosophical study of emotion inevitably leads to an discussion of the evaluation of emotion, which is a topic covered both by moral theory and by the notion of emotional intelligence. The theory of emotional intelligence shows us that the value of emotional intelligence is morally based, if we understand morality in its properly expansive sense. Although Kantian moral theory is thought to be not so expansive, limited to a rights-based rather than virtue-based approach, I show that Kant’s theory of virtue illuminates the connections between morality and emotional intelligence. Most people are beginning to accept that the standard interpretation of Kantian moral theory is mistaken, and I give more evidence to tip the scales, showing that Kant goes some distance toward giving us a fruitful theory of emotional intelligence. In doing this I criticize the interpretation that takes Kantian moral theory to be formal, and I argue that Kantian autonomy must be understood in terms of universality and the categorical imperative, not broadly practical reason. My interpretation of Kantian moral theory shows that it helps us to understand the relationship between morality and emotion.