Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant Allen W. Wood / Sep 23, 2019

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals Immanuel Kant s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most important texts in the history of ethics In it Kant searches for the supreme principle of morality and argues for a concepti

  • Title: Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
  • Author: Immanuel Kant Allen W. Wood
  • ISBN: 9780300094879
  • Page: 259
  • Format: Paperback
  • Immanuel Kant s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most important texts in the history of ethics In it Kant searches for the supreme principle of morality and argues for a conception of the moral life that has made this work a continuing source of controversy and an object of reinterpretation for over two centuries.This new edition of Kant s work proviImmanuel Kant s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most important texts in the history of ethics In it Kant searches for the supreme principle of morality and argues for a conception of the moral life that has made this work a continuing source of controversy and an object of reinterpretation for over two centuries.This new edition of Kant s work provides a fresh translation that is uniquely faithful to the German original and fully annotated than any previous translation There are also four essays by well known scholars that discuss Kant s views and the philosophical issues raised by the Groundwork J.B Schneewind defends the continuing interest in Kantian ethics by examining its historical relation both to the ethical thought that preceded it and to its influence on the ethical theories that came after it Marcia Baron sheds light on Kant s famous views about moral motivation and Shelly Kagan and Allen W Wood advocate contrasting interpretations of Kantian ethics and its practical implications.

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    About "Immanuel Kant Allen W. Wood"

      • Immanuel Kant Allen W. Wood

        Immanuel Kant was an 18th century philosopher from K nigsberg, Prussia now Kaliningrad, Russia He s regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe of the late Enlightenment His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics epistemology, highlights his own contribution to these areas Other main works of his maturity are The Critique of Practical Reason, which is about ethics, The Critique of Judgment, about esthetics teleology.Pursuing metaphysics involves asking questions about the ultimate nature of reality Kant suggested that metaphysics can be reformed thru epistemology He suggested that by understanding the sources limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions He asked if an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object He concluded that all objects that the mind can think about must conform to its manner of thought Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality which he concluded that it does then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect However, it follows from this that it s possible that there are objects of such a nature that the mind cannot think of them, so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside experience hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause So the grand questions of speculative metaphysics are off limits, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind Kant believed himself to be creating a compromise between the empiricists the rationalists The empiricists believed that knowledge is acquired thru experience alone, but the rationalists maintained that such knowledge is open to Cartesian doubt and that reason alone provides us with knowledge Kant argues, however, that using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to illusions, while experience will be purely subjective without first being subsumed under pure reason Kant s thought was very influential in Germany during his lifetime, moving philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists empiricists The philosophers Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Schopenhauer saw themselves as correcting and expanding Kant s system, thus bringing about various forms of German Idealism Kant continues to be a major influence on philosophy to this day, influencing both Analytic and Continental philosophy.


    1. People ask me how I become so well-read. Although I huff and bumble around the question, the fact is I am not yet well read. I have not read any of the Four Great Chinese classics, none of Kant's Kritiks, gave up on Proust half-way, nothing by Heidegger, no Canterbury Tales in the Middle English, no Gargantua and Pentagruel, no Ulysses, no Lacan (though I've heard he's a shit), no Vico, no Gadamer, none of Beckett's novels, etc etc. There is always more and it is always calling.The point of this [...]

    2. Θα τολμούσα να πω (αν και αυθαίρετα ίσως), ότι ο Καντ είναι ο Αριστοτέλης της σύγχρονης δυτικής φιλοσοφίας. Πολύ απαιτητικό βιβλίο, αν και το πιο προσιτό του σε μη ειδικούς αναγνώστες.

    3. When I was studying this book there were no copies available to buy for some reason - but then I found it in the local library in a hard back edition printed in the 1930s or something. I borrowed it and showed it to my lecturer and he said, "You ought to steal that - they only charge you what it cost the library to buy and that would have been cents back then." I said, "You want me to steal a book on morality?" Needless to say, he was much better at lecturing on Neitzsche.This is a remarkably di [...]

    4. Confession of Stupidity:Lately, I’ve been had long and agonizing conversation with my friend about the categorical imperative. I was insisting that it didn’t make sense; my friend insisted that it did, and that I merely misunderstood it. After much deliberation, I found to my embarrassment that he was right: I had misunderstood it. I had misunderstood it badly. Now, fortunately, I think I’ve got a hold on the concept, which indeed is not terribly complex (though, for my brain at least, a b [...]

    5. “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” ― Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of MoralsPicture:Words & Phrases:Freedom, Autonomy of the Will, Categorical Imperative, Intuitions of Sense, Morally Aught, Universal Laws, Pure Practical Reason, Pragmatic, Practical, Rational Beings, Universality, Moral Law, External Conditions, Happiness, Empirical Interests, Obligations, Reciprocal Conceptions, Heteronomy, C [...]

    6. I was the annoying guy in class who kept insisting that the categorical imperative was the Golden Rule with a thick, convoluted veneer of the most difficult writing in philosophical history slathered all over it. Of course it is slightly different than the Golden Rule, but I'd say only trivially so. I understand Kant's influence, importance, etc, I just can't stand his writing. And I do think that his ideas, as influential as they were, were often failures. And again, the writing is painfully ba [...]

    7. Los imperativos de la sagacidad coincidirían enteramente con los de la habilidad y serían, como estos, analíticos, si fuera igualmente fácil dar un concepto determinado de la felicidad. Pues aquí como allí, diríase: el que quiere el fin, quiere también (de conformidad con la razón, necesariamente) los únicos medios que están para ello en su poder. Pero es una desdicha que el concepto de la felicidad sea un concepto tan indeterminado que, aun cuando todo hombre desea alcanzarla, nunca [...]

    8. Translator's PrefaceCommentary and Analysis of the Argument - The Approach to Moral Philosophy, Outline of a Metaphysic of Morals, Outline of a Critique of Practical Reason--Groundwork of the Metaphysic of MoralsNotesIndex

    9. Never trust what modern writers say about classic works of Philosophy. Kant is not only relevant because of the influence he had on latter day thinkers, but, as with this work, he has something to say which makes mince meat out of most of the present day writers. If this book had been published for the first time last year, most readers would have thought it was the greatest book they had read in the decade (or even in their lifetimes).There is a little bit of getting used to the special languag [...]

    10. ترجمة الكتاب رائعة , شرحت بالتفصيل فلسفة كانط بطريقة ميسرة قد تكون مفاتيح للكثير من البحث أو القراءة , فكرت كثيرا كيف أكتب المراجعة للكتاب ووجدت أنني أكتب صفحات عدة لأن الكتاب بترجمته هو عبارة عن مراجعة هل سأنقله بأكمله ؟؟ أول كتاب اقرأه لكانط , بخلاف بعض المقالات والشروحات ع [...]

    11. i read the groundwork (finally finally) cover to cover in an airport in washington dc, where i spent a fourteen hour day watching one flight after another cancelled cancelled cancelled, and i have to tell you that people are near to their worst (that average daily sort of worst) in airports as their flights are cancelled. everyone was fighting for seats on future flights which would also be cancelled. everyone was arguing their cases to helpless airport staff, and the staff, in turn, treated us [...]

    12. It's probably a product of having been in grad school for too long, but somehow I found myself really liking this piece. I don't even care that it's not applicable to real life, at least his methods are based on tying human action to univsersal principles that anyone can participate in instead of trying to create this really creepy classist/elitist system of morality which the ancient greeks oozed over. And unlike the clunky, inhuman ethical systems espoused by more anylitic thinkers, Kant is at [...]

    13. C'est quelque part au fond de l’Allemagne, en méditant solitairement à la chaleur d'un poêle, qu'un soldat français donna une nouvelle impulsion à la philosophie. Pour cela, ce nouveau Socrate proposa une démarche simple, fondée sur quelques principes, au premier desquels douter de tout, puis remplacer par degré les préjugés acquis à la hâte par des connaissances, en ne tenant pour vrai que ce qui nous parait évident. En face de toute difficulté, la découper en parties, jusqu’ [...]

    14. Everyone seems to complain that the text is dry and hard to follow, but honestly, it's not bad at all. I read it as a freshman, and it was probably the first philosophy that I'd read that dealt so strongly in absolutes. I was impressed by his vehement (and gutsy) assertion that a priori principles must still apply empirically, regardless of the situation's specific details. It's been years since I've read this, and Kant still stands out in my mind as one of the most powerful philosophers that I' [...]

    15. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Nr.1: The moral seeks to define what should be done, what should happen. In this respect differs from the knowledge whose laws determine universally what is or what happens. Kant sought to demonstrate that it was possible to formulate universal laws as the moral of scientific knowledge. These laws had to be made a priori, that is, without take into account the acts actually charged, whether they were good or bad. The supreme legislator of morality is human [...]

    16. I like Kant, but there are some fairly obvious issues with deontology. That is not to say that this is not good stuff. I think it should be required reading for humans generally. The issue is that ethics is not easy. Understatement. If you have it in you after this, read The Critique of Pure Reason. If you want the light version, read The Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. If the Critique is a shot of espresso, the Prolegomena is light and sweet.

    17. Like the black hole of Königsberg, Kant sucks in everybody who gets too close. There are not many singular geniuses in the history of philosophy on the level of Kant. It is impossible to mistake his writing for the writing of anybody else. The tireless construction of a metaphysical system, in his philosophy, meets the surprising open-endedness and skeptical honesty of his proposed solutions. He was simultaneously a source of new dogmas and the destroyer of old - and even, ultimately, of his ow [...]

    18. This was flummoxing (or mind-fucking, if you wish) to say the least, such abstract and abstruse philosophical thought made me have to go back and forth constantly. From what I've extracted from this book, the kernel idea that Kant wishes to convey is the glorious Categorical Imperative.What the Categorical Imperative suggests is the following:"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. " In other words, "do unto your neighbors [...]

    19. I really liked the book, despite having been kind of an anti-Kantian for a long time prior to reading it. Deontological ethics are the worst ethics, I'd always echoed someone or other — be it Nietzsche or some other text — but now after reading the actual work (although I do recognize that it feels rushed and underdeveloped philosophically at times) I've changed my mind. I wouldn't call myself a deontologist or anything but I do hold that the doctrine contains an important kernel or nugget o [...]

    20. Work on an M.Div. thesis entitled "Immanuel Kant's Influence on the Thought of C.G. Jung" had me read all of the Kant that Jung had read as evinced by the books in his library and the citations given in his writings. Now, two years later, having returned to school to study philosophy, I had incentive to continue the study of Kant's writings beyond those with which the psychiatrist had been familiar.The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals was read for Loyola University's PHIL 309: History of [...]

    21. If you have a rudimentary knowledge of the Categorical imperative, don't waste your time with this book. Its 100+ pages of explanation on the simple concept of the categorical imperative. Its a great book for beginners, but I do NOT recommend it to those who have a fundamental understanding of Kant.

    22. "Thus, we do not indeed comprehend the practical unconditional necessity of the moral imperative, yet we do comprehend its incomprehensibility, and this is all that can reasonably be required of a philosophy that in its principles strives up to the boundary of human reason." ~Concluding sentence (p. 72) My paraphrase of this sentence and indeed this book: "Thus we do not indeed comprehend Immanuel Kant, but we do comprehend his incomprehensibility, and this is all that can be reasonably required [...]

    23. Regardless of what you think of Kant's philosophy, his ideas, how much sense they make and how useful they are - you have to respect him. The man tried to dig ridiculously deep into human thought. His is the drill that pierced philosophy. The difficulty in understanding Kant is not in his writing. The writing is fairly analytic and linear. What's difficult is the distance Kant takes from human thought.Human thought is built by layers upon layers. Spread all your ethical laws. Notice how you'll f [...]

    24. Ο Διαφωτισμός είναι η έξοδος του ανθρώπου από την ανωριμότητα του για την οποία ο ίδιος είναι υπεύθυνος. Η διάσημη φράση του Καντ θα λέγαμε πως στην ηθική του μεταφράζεται στην έξοδο του ανθρώπου από την ανωριμότητα της φυσικής ορμής και την υποταγή στην κατηγορική προσταγ [...]

    25. Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is without a doubt one of the most important texts in moral philosophy, and in Western philosophy more generally. It helped to shape the way in which we approach ethical questions, and its influence is unmistakable in the notions of universal human rights, of human dignity, of intrinsic worth, and of autonomy that continue to mark ethical and political debates, both within academic philosophy and outside it. Contrary to received opinion, Kant is a [...]

    26. I read this electronic edition: earlymoderntexts/pdf/k, which did not strike me as particularly hard to read or understand, despite the fact that those are very common complaints re: this book. Actually, I was mostly impressed with Kant's reasoning and argument, apart from the unnecessary conditions of morality later in the book, but deontological ethics (focused on good in itself, etc. divorced from consequence or social contract etc.) just don't work, and the (first formulation of the) Categor [...]

    27. This is my small taste of Kant to determine whether to move forward in his texts. Grounding is a sort of intro to his Metaphysics of Morals, and is complex enough on its own. Three steps or transitions climb in difficulty. By the third I was barely cognizant. Despite the eighteenth century simplicity, filtered through the translator as well, the concepts don't exactly fall into neat rows. It reminds me of a complex math course: if you miss a step you have to start over.Kant's categorical imperat [...]

    28. Kant was a genius with an absolutely brilliant philosophical mind. The failure of his philosophical moral project, in many ways, precipitated postmodernity as such. This is a crucial work in the history of moral philosophy and epistemology. For starters, it pretty muchinventedthe very idea of autonomy in this particular text (the only other thinker who might give Kant a run for his money is Rousseau). Within it, one will find mention of all sorts of fancy ideas like a priori and a posteriori tru [...]

    29. How can you say what you learn from someone who defined our moral culture to the extent that Kant did? I am learning about the formulations of the categorical imperativeOkay, I need to take a moment to rant here. I don't expect that anyone will read my review or care, but how can "Married to a Stranger" have better overall reviews than this book?!? Something that contributes nothing to the human race, that will not be read after this generation, as opposed to something that contributes profoundl [...]

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