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The Moral Importance of Politeness in Kant's Anthropology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 March 2011

Patrick Frierson
Affiliation:
Whitman College, Walla Walla

Extract

In his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1784), Kant explains that ethics, like physics, ‘will have its empirical part, but it will also have a rational part, … though here [in ethics] the empirical part might be given the special name practical anthropology’ (4: 388). In the Groundwork, Kant suggests that anthropology, or the ‘power of judgment sharpened by experience’, has two roles, ‘to distinguish in what cases [moral laws] are applicable’ and ‘to gain for [moral laws] access to the human will’ (4: 389). Twelve years later, the first function, of applying the categorical imperative to specifically human situations, is incorporated into Kant's Metaphysics of Morals (1797).

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Copyright © Kantian Review 2005

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