Published in 1785, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks alongside Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as one of the most profound and influential works in moral philosophy ever written. In Kant's own words, its aim is to identify and corroborate the supreme principle of morality, the categorical imperative. He argues that human beings are ends in themselves, never to be used by anyone merely as a means, and that universal and unconditional obligations must be understood as an expression of the human capacity for autonomy and self-governance. As such, they are laws of freedom. This volume contains Mary Gregor's acclaimed translation of the work, sympathetically revised by Jens Timmermann, and an accessible, updated introduction by Christine Korsgaard.
The Critique of Practical Reason is the second of Kant's three Critiques, and his second work in moral theory after the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Its systematic account of the authority of moral principles grounded in human autonomy unfolds Kant's considered views on morality and provides the keystone to his philosophical system. These new essays shed light on the principal arguments of the second Critique and explore their relation to Kant's critical philosophy as a whole. They examine the genesis of the Critique, Kant's approach to the authority of the moral law given as a 'fact of reason', the metaphysics of free agency, the account of respect for morality as the moral motive, and questions raised by the 'primacy of practical reason' and the idea of the 'postulates'. Engaging and critical, this volume will be invaluable to advanced students and scholars of Kant and to moral theorists alike.
The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is Kant's central contribution to moral philosophy, and has inspired controversy ever since it was first published in 1785. Kant champions the insights of 'common human understanding' against what he sees as the dangerous perversions of ethical theory. Morality is revealed to be a matter of human autonomy: Kant locates the source of the 'categorical imperative' within each and every human will. However, he also portrays everyday morality in a way that many readers find difficult to accept. The Groundwork is a short book, but its argument is dense, intricate and at times treacherous. This commentary explains Kant's arguments paragraph by paragraph, and also contains an introduction, a synopsis of the argument, six short interpretative essays on key topics of the Groundwork, and a glossary of key terms. It will be an indispensable tool for anyone wishing to study the Groundwork in detail.
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