Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-jcwnq Total loading time: 0.232 Render date: 2021-10-23T18:28:44.141Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

10 - Problems with freedom: Kant's argument in Groundwork III and its subsequent emendations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

Jens Timmermann
Affiliation:
University of St Andrews, Scotland
Get access

Summary

PROBLEMS WITH FREEDOM

In the first two sections of the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant has offered an analytical argument for his claim that the categorical imperative is the fundamental principle of morality. In Section I, he has argued that the imperative ‘I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxims should become a universal law’ (G IV 402) is derivable by the analysis of ‘common rational moral cognition’, specifically from commonsense conceptions of the good will (G IV 393–6) and of duty, which is the concept of good will with the addition of ‘certain subjective limitations and hindrances’ (G IV 397) that are inescapable for human beings, namely the fact that our inclinations do not always and only coincide with the demands of morality. In Section II, he has argued that the categorical imperative, which has now been represented as a system of formulas of which the specific formulation derived in Section I is only the first, is derivable by analysis of the ‘universal concept of a rational being as such’ (G IV 412), or, more accurately, from the general concept of a rational being with a will, or a rational agent (G IV 412 and IV 427). But in both cases, Kant claims, the mere analysis that suffices to determine the content of the fundamental principle of morality does not by itself prove that this principle is binding for us actual human beings.

Type
Chapter
Information
Kant's 'Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals'
A Critical Guide
, pp. 176 - 202
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
6
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×