Share
Explore BrainMass

Discussion on Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant)

How do Kant's conceptions of "virtue" & "happiness" differ from those embodied in the classical moral theories of Plato & Aristotle? What is the difference between a "perfect" and an "imperfect" duty? Give examples of each.

Attachments

Solution Preview

1. The title of the third section of Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is "Transition from a metaphysics of Morals to a Critique of Pure Practical Reason". It has five subdivisions: The Concept of Freedom is the Key for an Explanation of the Autonomy of the Will; Freedom must be Presupposed as a Property of the Will of all Rational Beings; Concerning the Interest Attached to the Ideas of Morality; How is a categorical Imperative possible?; Concerning Extreme limit of all Practical Philosophy; then follows the Concluding Remark.

a) The Concept of Freedom is the Key for an Explanation of the Autonomy of the Will: The will which is a causality of rational beings is free when it is autonomous, therefore not conditioned by alien causes while natural necessity is that causality of irrational beings typically influenced by alien causes. Now the concept of cause calls for that of effect: once there is cause there must be an effect. Freedom is not a property of a will that depends on natural laws but that which depends on a special type of immutable laws. Freewill therefore is a law to itself and has itself as a universal law. This is the formula of categorical imperative and the principle of moral law. In other words, freewill is equal to a will that is subject to moral law. Thereby the conclusion: "an absolutely good will is one whose maxim can always have itself as content when such maxim is regarded as a universal law".
b) Freedom must be Presupposed as a Property of the Will of all Rational Beings: In order to clarify the idea of what freewill entails in terms of morality we need to prove that freedom is the property of the will for rational beings. Since freedom can be proved only a priori, we need to show and think that freedom belongs to any rational being endowed with a will. Thus whoever acts with the idea of freedom is free, i.e. here we have a reason that has causality in reference to its objects. Such a reason has to regard itself as the originator of its principles independent of foreign influences. In this case the will of a rational being can be a will of its own only under the idea of a freedom.
c) Concerning the Interest Attached to the Ideas of Morality: Basing on the above consideration one can see that morality is conjugated to freedom, even though freedom as a property of human nature cannot be proved but only presupposed. The consequence of this presupposition is the awareness that subjective or particular principles need to be adopted so that they can be valid objectively or universally. When I act I have to act without any hindrance but determined only by reason. Nevertheless, the problem of why we choose to act morally or will in a rational way remains and at the same time having moral laws that limit our actions even when we think of happiness as ...

Solution Summary

The third section of Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals has five subdivisions: The Concept of Freedom is the Key for an Explanation of the Autonomy of the Will; Freedom must be Presupposed as a Property of the Will of all Rational Beings; Concerning the Interest Attached to the Ideas of Morality; How is a categorical Imperative possible?; Concerning Extreme limit of all Practical Philosophy; then follows the Concluding Remark. These are well explain step by step.
Kant postulates that Freewill is a law to itself and has itself as a universal law. This is the formula of categorical imperative and the principle of moral law. In other words, freewill is equal to a will that is subject to moral law. Thereby the conclusion: "an absolutely good will is one whose maxim can always have itself as content when such maxim is regarded as a universal law". One notices that morality is conjugated to freedom, even though freedom as a property of human nature cannot be proved but only presupposed. The consequence of this presupposition is the awareness that subjective or particular principles need to be adopted so that they can be valid objectively or universally. Kant admits the presence of a vicious circle without hope of escape which can be removed through the idea of freedom as fundamental for the concept of autonomy and of moral law. In other words, our idea of freedom depends not on our notion of morality, but it results from our partaking in the intelligible world. This removes the problem of the vicious circle.

$2.19