"Grounding for the metaphysics of morals hackett"

Grounding for the metaphysics of morals hackett pdf

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Kant, Immanuel, Grounding for the metaphysics of morals ; with, On a supposed right to lie because of philanthropic concerns. Indianapolis: Hackett. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (Third Edition): with On a Supposed Right to Lie Hackett Publishing Company, Mar 12, - Philosophy - 92 pages. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals: with On a Supposed Right to Lie because of Philanthropic Concerns (Hackett Classics).

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The greatest of all modern philosophers was born in the Baltic seaport of Konigsberg, East Prussia, the son of a saddler and never left the vicinity of his remote birthplace. Through his family pastor, Immanuel Kant received the opportunity to study at the newly founded Collegium Fredericianum, proceeding to the University of Konigsberg, where he was introduced to Wolffian philosophy and modern natural science by the philosopher Martin Knutzen. From to , he served as tutor in various households near Konigsberg.

Between and , Kant published treatises on a number of scientific and philosophical subjects, including one in which he originated the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system. Some of Kant's writings in the early s attracted the favorable notice of respected philosophers such as J. Lambert and Moses Mendelssohn, but a professorship eluded Kant until he was over In Kant finally published his great work, the Critique of Pure Reason.

The early reviews were hostile and uncomprehending, and Kant's attempt to make his theories more accessible in his Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics was largely unsuccessful. Then, partly through the influence of former student J. Herder, whose writings on anthropology and history challenged his Enlightenment convictions, Kant turned his attention to issues in the philosophy of morality and history, writing several short essays on the philosophy of history and sketching his ethical theory in the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Kant's new philosophical approach began to receive attention in through a series of articles in a widely circulated Gottingen journal by the Jena philosopher K.

The following year Kant published a new, extensively revised edition of the Critique, following it up with the Critique of Practical Reason , treating the foundations of moral philosophy, and the Critique of Judgment , an examination of aesthetics rounding out his system through a strikingly original treatment of two topics that were widely perceived as high on the philosophical agenda at the time - the philosophical meaning of the taste for beauty and the use of teleology in natural science.

From the early s onward, Kant was regarded by the coming generation of philosophers as having overthrown all previous systems and as having opened up a whole new philosophical vista. During the last decade of his philosophical activity, Kant devoted most of his attention to applications of moral philosophy. His two chief works in the s were Religion Within the Bounds of Plain Reason and Metaphysics of Morals , the first part of which contained Kant's theory of right, law, and the political state.

At the age of 74, most philosophers who are still active are engaged in consolidating and defending views they have already worked out. Kant, however, had perceived an important gap in his system and had begun rethinking its foundations.

These attempts went on for four more years until the ravages of old age finally destroyed Kant's capacity for further intellectual work. The result was a lengthy but disorganized manuscript that was first published in under the title Opus Postumum. It displays the impact of some of the more radical young thinkers Kant's philosophy itself had inspired.

Kant's philosophy focuses attention on the active role of human reason in the process of knowing the world and on its autonomy in giving moral law. Kant saw the development of reason as a collective possession of the human species, a product of nature working through human history.

For him the process of free communication between independent minds is the very life of reason, the vocation of which is to remake politics, religion, science, art, and morality as the completion of a destiny whose shape it is our collective task to frame for ourselves. Account Options Anmelden. Meine Mediathek Hilfe Erweiterte Buchsuche. Immanuel Kant , James Wesley Ellington. Bibliografische Informationen.

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Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals German : Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten ; ; also known as the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals , Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals and the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is the first of Immanuel Kant 's mature works on moral philosophy and remains one of the most influential in the field. Kant conceives his investigation as a work of foundational ethics—one that clears the ground for future research by explaining the core concepts and principles of moral theory and showing that they are normative for rational agents.

Kant aspires to nothing less than this: to lay bare the fundamental principle of morality and show that it applies to us. In the text, Kant provides a groundbreaking argument that the rightness of an action is determined by the character of the principle that a person chooses to act upon. Kant thus stands in stark contrast to the moral sense theories and teleological moral theories that dominated moral philosophy at the time he was writing.

Central to the work is the role of what Kant refers to as the categorical imperative , the concept that one must act only according to that precept which he or she would will to become a universal law.

The Groundwork is broken into a preface, followed by three sections. Kant's argument works from common reason up to the supreme unconditional law, in order to identify its existence. He then works backwards from there to prove the relevance and weight of the moral law. The book is famously obscure, and it is partly because of this that Kant later, in , decided to publish the Critique of Practical Reason.

In the preface to the Groundwork Kant motivates the need for pure moral philosophy and makes some preliminary remarks to situate his project and explain his method of investigation. Kant opens the preface with an affirmation of the ancient Greek idea of a threefold division of philosophy into logic, physics, and ethics. Logic is purely formal—it deals only with the form of thought itself, not with any particular objects.

Physics and ethics, on the other hand, deal with particular objects: physics is concerned with the laws of nature, ethics with the laws of freedom. Additionally, logic is an a priori discipline, i. By contrast, physics and ethics are mixed disciplines, containing empirical and non-empirical parts. The empirical part of physics deals with contingently true phenomena, like what kind of physical entities there are and the relations in which they stand; the non-empirical part deals with fundamental concepts like space, time, and matter.

Similarly, ethics contains an empirical part, which deals with the question of what—given the contingencies of human nature—tends to promote human welfare, and a non-empirical part, which is concerned with an a priori investigation into the nature and substance of morality. Given that the moral law, if it exists, is universal and necessary, the only appropriate means to investigate it is through a priori rational reflection.

Thus, a correct theoretical understanding of morality requires a metaphysics of morals. In essence, Kant's remarks in the preface prepare the reader for the thrust of the ideas he goes on to develop in the Groundwork. The purpose of the Groundwork is to prepare a foundation for moral theory. Because Kant believes that any fact which is grounded in empirical knowledge must be contingent, he can only derive the necessity that the moral law requires from a priori reasoning.

It is with this significance of necessity in mind that the Groundwork attempts to establish a pure a priori ethics. In section one, Kant argues from common sense morality to the supreme principle of morality, which he calls the categorical imperative.

Kant's discussion in section one can be roughly divided into four parts: 1 The good will 2 The teleological argument. Kant thinks that, with the exception of the good will , all goods are qualified.

By qualified, Kant means that those goods are good insofar as they presuppose or derive their goodness from something else. Take wealth as an example. Wealth can be extremely good if it is used for human welfare, but it can be disastrous if a corrupt mind is behind it. In a similar vein, we often desire intelligence and take it to be good, but we certainly would not take the intelligence of an evil genius to be good. The good will, by contrast, is good in itself.

If nature's creatures are so purposed, Kant thinks their capacity to reason would certainly not serve a purpose of self-preservation or achievement of happiness, which are better served by their natural inclinations. What guides the will in those matters is inclination. The argument is based on the assumption that our faculties have distinct natural purposes for which they are most suitable, and it is questionable whether Kant can avail himself of this sort of argument.

The teleological argument, if flawed, still offers that critical distinction between a will guided by inclination and a will guided by reason.

That will which is guided by reason, Kant will argue, is the will that acts from duty. Kant's argument proceeds by way of three propositions, the last of which is derived from the first two. Although Kant never explicitly states what the first proposition is, it is clear that its content is suggested by the following common-sense observation.

Common sense distinguishes among: a the case in which a person clearly acts contrary to duty; b the case in which a person's actions coincide with duty, but are not motivated by duty; and c the case in which a person's actions coincide with duty because he or she is motivated by duty.

Kant illustrates the distinction between b and c with the example of a shopkeeper who chooses not to overcharge an inexperienced customer in order to preserve his business's reputation. Because it is not motivated by duty, the shopkeeper's action has no moral worth. Because this person acts from duty, his actions have moral worth. Kant thinks our actions only have moral worth and deserve esteem when they are motivated by duty.

Scholars disagree about the precise formulation of the first proposition. One interpretation asserts that the missing proposition is that an act has moral worth only when its agent is motivated by respect for the law, as in the case of the man who preserves his life only from duty.

Another interpretation asserts that the proposition is that an act has moral worth only if the principle acted upon generates moral action non-contingently. If the shopkeeper in the above example had made his choice contingent upon what would serve the interests of his business, then his act has no moral worth. A maxim of an action is its principle of volition. By this, Kant means that the moral worth of an act depends not on its consequences, intended or real, but on the principle acted upon.

Kant combines these two propositions into a third proposition, a complete statement of our common sense notions of duty. Kant thinks that all of our actions, whether motivated by inclination or morality, must follow some law. For example, if a person wants to qualify for nationals in ultimate frisbee, he will have to follow a law that tells him to practice his backhand pass, among other things.

Notice, however, that this law is only binding on the person who wants to qualify for nationals in ultimate frisbee. In this way, it is contingent upon the ends that he sets and the circumstances that he is in.

We know from the third proposition, however, that the moral law must bind universally and necessarily, that is, regardless of ends and circumstances. Thus, Kant arrives at his well-known categorical imperative, the moral law referenced in the above discussion of duty. 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. Kant begins his new argument in Section II with some observations about rational willing.

All things in nature must act according to laws, but only rational beings act in accordance with the representation of a law. In other words, only rational beings have the capacity to recognize and consult laws and principles in order to guide their actions.

Thus, only rational creatures have practical reason. The laws and principles that rational agents consult yield imperatives, or rules that necessitate the will. For example, if a person wants to qualify for nationals in ultimate frisbee, he will recognize and consult the rules that tell him how to achieve this goal. These rules will provide him with imperatives that he must follow as long as he wants to qualify for nationals.

Imperatives are either hypothetical or categorical. Hypothetical imperatives provide the rules an agent must follow when he or she adopts a contingent end an end based on desire or inclination. So, for example, if I want ice cream, I should go to the ice cream shop or make myself some ice cream. But notice that this imperative only applies if I want ice cream.

If I have no interest in ice cream, the imperative does not apply to me. Kant thinks that there are two types of hypothetical imperative—rules of skill and counsels of prudence. Rules of skill are determined by the particular ends we set and tell us what is necessary to achieve those particular ends.

However, Kant observes that there is one end that we all share, namely our own happiness. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to know what will make us happy or how to achieve the things that will make us happy. Therefore, Kant argues, we can at best have counsels of prudence, as opposed to outright rules.

Recall that the moral law, if it exists, must apply universally and necessarily. Therefore, a moral law could never rest on hypothetical imperatives, which only apply if one adopts some particular end.

Rather, the imperative associated with the moral law must be a categorical imperative. The categorical imperative holds for all rational agents, regardless of whatever varying ends a person may have. If we could find it, the categorical imperative would provide us with the moral law. What would the categorical imperative look like?

We know that it could never be based on the particular ends that people adopt to give themselves rules of action. Kant thinks that this leaves us with one remaining alternative, namely that the categorical imperative must be based on the notion of a law itself.

Laws or commands , by definition, apply universally. From this observation, Kant derives the categorical imperative, which requires that moral agents act only in a way that the principle of their will could become a universal law. The categorical imperative is Kant's general statement of the supreme principle of morality, but Kant goes on to provide three different formulations of this general statement.

The first formulation states that an action is only morally permissible if every agent could adopt the same principle of action without generating one of two kinds of contradiction. This formula is called the Formula for the Universal Law of Nature. A proposed maxim can fail to meet the above requirement in one of two ways. First, one might encounter a scenario in which one's proposed maxim would become impossible in a world in which it is universalized. For example, suppose a person in need of money makes it his or her maxim to attain a loan by making a false promise to pay it back.

If everyone followed this principle, nobody would trust another person when he or she made a promise, and the institution of promise-making would be destroyed. But, the maxim of making a false promise in order to attain a loan relies on the very institution of promise-making that universalizing this maxim destroys. For example, a person might have a maxim never to help others when they are in need. However, Kant thinks that all agents necessarily wish for the help of others from time to time.

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Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals quizzes about important details and events in every section of the book. Black Lives Matter. Support the Equal Justice Initiative. motivations. Nevertheless, a philosophical understanding of morals is important, because untrained minds may be deceived and distracted by non-moral needs, concerns, and. The Complete Texts of Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, and Metaphysical Principles of Virtue, Part II of The Metaphysics of Morals, with On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns Author: Immanuel Kant Publisher: Hackett Publishing ISBN: Category: Philosophy Page: View: This expanded edition of James Ellington's preeminent translation of Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals includes his new translation of Kant's essay 'On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns', in which Kant replies to one of the standard objections to his moral theory as presented in the main text: that it requires us to tell the truth even in the face of harmful.