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Grounding For The Metaphysics Of Morals Pdf Free ^HOT^

Because it is a priori, Kant calls this latter, non-empirical part of ethics metaphysics of morals. It corresponds to the non-empirical part of physics, which Kant calls metaphysics of nature.

grounding for the metaphysics of morals pdf free

In Section II, Kant starts from scratch and attempts to move from popular moral philosophy to a metaphysics of morals. Kant begins Section II of the Groundwork by criticizing attempts to begin moral evaluation with empirical observation. He states that even when we take ourselves to be behaving morally, we cannot be at all certain that we are purely motivated by duty and not by inclinations. Kant observes that humans are quite good at deceiving themselves when it comes to evaluating their motivations for acting, and therefore even in circumstances where individuals believe themselves to be acting from duty, it is possible they are acting merely in accordance with duty and are motivated by some contingent desire. However, the fact that we see ourselves as often falling short of what morality demands of us indicates we have some functional concept of the moral law.

Intending to publish hereafter a metaphysic of morals, I issue in the first instance these fundamental principles. Indeed there is properly no other foundation for it than the critical examination of a pure practical reason; just as that of metaphysics is the critical examination of the pure speculative reason, already published. But in the first place the former is not so absolutely necessary as the latter, because in moral concerns human reason can easily be brought to a high degree of correctness and completeness, even in the commonest understanding, while on the contrary in its theoretic but pure use it is wholly dialectical; and in the second place if the critique of a pure practical Reason is to be complete, it must be possible at the same time to show its identity with the speculative reason in a common principle, for it can ultimately be only one and the same reason which has to be distinguished merely in its application. I could not, however, bring it to such completeness here, without introducing considerations of a wholly different kind, which would be perplexing to the reader. On this account I have adopted the title of Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals instead of that of a Critical Examination of the pure practical reason.

We need only look at the attempts of moralists in that favourite fashion, and we shall find at one time the special constitution of human nature (including, however, the idea of a rational nature generally), at one time perfection, at another happiness, here moral sense, there fear of God. a little of this, and a little of that, in marvellous mixture, without its occurring to them to ask whether the principles of morality are to be sought in the knowledge of human nature at all (which we can have only from experience); or, if this is not so, if these principles are to be found altogether a priori, free from everything empirical, in pure rational concepts only and nowhere else, not even in the smallest degree; then rather to adopt the method of making this a separate inquiry, as pure practical philosophy, or (if one may use a name so decried) as metaphysic of morals, * to bring it by itself to completeness, and to require the public, which wishes for popular treatment, to await the issue of this undertaking.

There is a marked distinction also between the volitions on these three sorts of principles in the dissimilarity of the obligation of the will. In order to mark this difference more clearly, I think they would be most suitably named in their order if we said they are either rules of skill, or counsels of prudence, or commands (laws) of morality. For it is law only that involves the conception of an unconditional and objective necessity, which is consequently universally valid; and commands are laws which must be obeyed, that is, must be followed, even in opposition to inclination. Counsels, indeed, involve necessity, but one which can only hold under a contingent subjective condition, viz., they depend on whether this or that man reckons this or that as part of his happiness; the categorical imperative, on the contrary, is not limited by any condition, and as being absolutely, although practically, necessary, may be quite properly called a command. We might also call the first kind of imperatives technical (belonging to art), the second pragmatic * (to welfare), the third moral (belonging to free conduct generally, that is, to morals).

Thus every empirical element is not only quite incapable of being an aid to the principle of morality, but is even highly prejudicial to the purity of morals, for the proper and inestimable worth of an absolutely good will consists just in this, that the principle of action is free from all influence of contingent grounds, which alone experience can furnish. We cannot too much or too often repeat our warning against this lax and even mean habit of thought which seeks for its principle amongst empirical motives and laws; for human reason in its weariness is glad to rest on this pillow, and in a dream of sweet illusions (in which, instead of Juno, it embraces a cloud) it substitutes for morality a bastard patched up from limbs of various derivation, which looks like anything one chooses to see in it, only not like virtue to one who has once beheld her in her true form. *

Here now is the extreme limit of all moral inquiry, and it is of great importance to determine it even on this account, in order that reason may not on the one hand, to the prejudice of morals, seek about in the world of sense for the supreme motive and an interest comprehensible but empirical; and on the other hand, that it may not impotently flap its wings without being able to move in the (for it) empty space of transcendent concepts which we call the intelligible world, and so lose itself amidst chimeras. For the rest, the idea of a pure world of understanding as a system of all intelligences, and to which we ourselves as rational beings belong (although we are likewise on the other side members of the sensible world), this remains always a useful and legitimate idea for the purposes of rational belief, although all knowledge stops at its threshold, useful, namely, to produce in us a lively interest in the moral law by means of the noble ideal of a universal kingdom of ends in themselves (rational beings), to which we can belong as members then only when we carefully conduct ourselves according to the maxims of freedom as if they were laws of nature.

The chapter on the Preface argues that the distinction between the analytic and synthetic portions of the Groundwork (G I and II are engaged in analysis of concepts, while the "deduction" of the CI in G III employs a synthetic use of reason) does not map onto the distinction between the analytic and synthetic methods that Kant describes in the Prolegomena. Rather Kant's "method" in the Groundwork is to be understood in terms of the "transitions" between different forms of cognition that occur in its three Sections, described by Kant in the last paragraph of the Preface (G 392: 17-28).[1] Schönecker and Wood give a helpful discussion of what these transitions are (6-9) as well as what Kant means by the "common rational moral cognition" from which Groundwork I proceeds. Their treatment of the idea of a "metaphysics of morals" (one key idea introduced in the Preface) points out certain respects in which Kant's project in the Groundwork assumes an empirical theory of human nature, though not in a way that undermines his a priori foundational project. For example, Kant's claims about the practical importance of a pure moral philosophy (that without it "morals themselves remain subject to all sorts of corruption" (G 390: 1-2)) presupposes "the anthropological thesis that human beings are massively exposed to the corrupting influence of nature." (31; cf. 15-16.)

Metaphysics designates any system of knowledge a priori that consists of pure conceptions. Accordingly, a practical philosophy not having nature, but the freedom of the will for its object, will presuppose and require a metaphysic of morals. It is even a duty to have such a metaphysic; and every man does, indeed, possess it in himself, although commonly but in an obscure way. For how could any one believe that he has a source of universal law in himself, without principles a priori? And just as in a metaphysics of nature there must be principles regulating the application of the universal supreme principles of nature to objects of experience, so there cannot but be such principles in the metaphysic of morals; and we will often have to deal objectively with the particular nature of man as known only by experience, in order to show in it the consequences of these universal moral principles. But this mode of dealing with these principles in their particular applications will in no way detract from their rational purity, or throw doubt on their a priori origin. In other words, this amounts to saying that a metaphysic of morals cannot be founded on anthropology as the empirical science of man, but may be applied to it.

Inquiry (forthcoming, symposium on Frankfurt's alternative possibilities paper). I discuss the relation between freedom and grounding, especially in connection with views inspired by Frankfurt's paper.

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