Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals (with active TOC)

Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals (with active TOC)

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by Immanuel Kant

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• The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
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Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. This division is perfectly suitable to the nature of the thing; and the only


• The book has been proof-read and corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
• A table of contents with working links to chapters is included
• Quality formatting

Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. This division is perfectly suitable to the nature of the thing; and the only improvement that can be made in it is to add the principle on which it is based, so that we may both satisfy ourselves of its completeness, and also be able to determine correctly the necessary subdivisions.

All rational knowledge is either material or formal: the former considers some object, the latter is concerned only with the form of the understanding and of the reason itself, and with the universal laws of thought in general without distinction of its objects. Formal philosophy is called logic. Material philosophy, however, has to do with determinate objects and the laws to which they are subject, is again twofold; for these laws are either laws of nature or of freedom. The science of the former is physics, that of the latter, ethics; they are also called natural philosophy and moral philosophy respectively.

Logic cannot have any empirical part; that is, a part in which the universal and necessary laws of thought should rest on grounds taken from experience; otherwise it would not be logic, i.e., a canon for the understanding or the reason, valid for all thought, and capable of demonstration. Natural and moral philosophy, on the contrary, can each have their empirical part, since the former has to determine the laws of nature as an object of experience; the latter the laws of the human will, so far as it is affected by nature: the former, however, being laws according to which everything does happen; the latter, laws according to which everything ought to happen. Ethics, however, must also consider the conditions under which what ought to happen frequently does not.

We may call all philosophy empirical, so far as it is based on grounds of experience: on the other band, that which delivers its doctrines from a priori principles alone we may call pure philosophy. When the latter is merely formal it is logic; if it is restricted to definite objects of the understanding it is metaphysic.

In this way there arises the idea of a twofold metaphysic- a metaphysic of nature and a metaphysic of morals. Physics will thus have an empirical and also a rational part. It is the same with Ethics; but here the empirical part might have the special name of practical anthropology, the name morality being appropriated to the rational part.

All trades, arts, and handiworks have gained by division of labour, namely, when, instead of one man doing everything, each confines himself to a certain kind of work distinct from others in the treatment it requires, so as to be able to perform it with greater facility and in the greatest perfection. Where the different kinds of work are not distinguished and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, there manufactures remain still in the greatest barbarism. It might deserve to be considered whether pure philosophy in all its parts does not require a man specially devoted to it, and whether it would not be better for the whole business of science if those who, to please the tastes of the public, are wont to blend the rational and empirical elements together, mixed in all sorts of proportions unknown to themselves, and who call themselves independent thinkers, giving the name of minute philosophers to those who apply themselves to the rational part only- if these, I say, were warned not to carry on two employments together which differ widely in the treatment they demand, for each of which perhaps a special talent is required, and the combination of which in one person only produces bunglers. But I only ask here whether the nature of science does not require that we should always carefully separate the empirical from the rational part, and prefix to Physics proper (or empirical physics) a metaphysic of nature, and to practical anthropology a metaphysic of morals, which must be carefully cleared of everything empirical, so that we may know how much can be accomplished by pure reason in both cases, and from what sources it draws this its a priori teaching, and that whether the latter inquiry is conducted by all moralists (whose name is legion), or only by some who feel a calling thereto.

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Meet the Author

Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher who researched, lectured, and wrote on philosophy and anthropology during the Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century.
Kant published other important works on ethics, religion, law, aesthetics, astronomy, and history.
His ideas influenced many thinkers in Germany during his lifetime.

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Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic Of Morals 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Kant is not considered as one of the more accessible philosophers, and most of his monumental works are too long and beyond reach of an average reader. This short book is still fairly advanced and conceptually sophisticated, but fortunately due to its length it does not go much too deep in philosophical concepts. The book deals on several occasions with the central concept in Kant's moral philosophy, and that is the concept of categorical imperative. This imperative can be summed up in Kant's famous dictum: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." Several other famous Kant concepts - like practical reason, pure reason, treating humans like ends and not as means in moral considerations, etc. - are dealt with throughout the book. You might need to read the book several times before you get a better understanding of what is being discussed, but again, since it is so short, this can be easily done. The language of the translation sounds a bit archaic to the modern ear, but this does not obscure the meaning at all. Overall, reading this book would be a worthwhile endeavor and as good of a starting point to start reading Kant as they come.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I wish I was able to read the book, but, unfortunately, some of the words were covered by large streaks of black ink and markings. Will definitely be returning, but might buy the full-length book, instead. I am still rather more interested in understanding his study.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago