A literary analysis of groundwork of the metaphysics of morals

Therefore, all that Smith and Hume have successfully shown is how people do make moral decisions, not how they ought to.

kant groundwork of the metaphysics of morals quotes

By qualified, Kant means that those goods are good insofar as they presuppose or derive their goodness from something else. 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.

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. Particularly good are the arguments he offers in the fifth section of his essay against efforts to soften Kant's motivational rigorism -- that is, against those who claim that duty is a "backup motive", or that actions that are in line with duty and an agent's own inclinations are "over-determined".

Kant groundwork of the metaphysics of morals pdf cambridge

The Formula of Autonomy combines the objectivity of the former with the subjectivity of the latter and suggests that the agent ask what she would accept as a universal law. We cannot avoid taking ourselves as free when we act, and we cannot give up our picture of the world as determined by laws of nature. Rather, the imperative associated with the moral law must be a categorical imperative. Striking a nice balance of interpretive and normative concerns, each essay draws on a wide variety of sources, including not only Kant, but also his sympathetic commentators and his detractors. Kant believes this is clear from the previous examples. The Three Propositions Regarding Duty The teleological argument, if flawed, still offers that critical distinction between a will guided by inclination and a will guided by reason. This is Kant's notion of autonomy. They, too, can be evil—a rational, calm, evil person, for example. In addition to being the basis for the Formula of Autonomy and the kingdom of ends, autonomy itself plays an important role in Kant's moral philosophy. Hence the Bible says to love your enemy.

However, Kant observes that there is one end that we all share, namely our own happiness. Last, we don't hold accountable a person whose house was destroyed by a hurricane, and is reduced to penury, because the hurricane might be said to have struck by chance.

grounding for the metaphysics of morals analysis

Arguments from inclination have no real moral heft. The Categorical Imperative Kant thinks that all of our actions, whether motivated by inclination or morality, must follow some law. Autonomous action in Kantian philosophy is thought as having the will to act independently and freely, or rather to be self-governing.

Finally, Kant remarks that whilst he would like to be able to explain how morality ends up motivating us, his theory is unable to do so. We must both be determining our own actions and not pursuing some desire.

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Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals