By Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Transl. and ed. by way of: Christine M. Korsgaard, Mary Gregor. Cambridge collage Press, 1998 (Elewenth printing 2006). one hundred twenty Pages (Cambridge Texts within the background of Philosophy). ISBN 0521626951

Immanuel Kant's foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks along Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as essentially the most profound and influential works in ethical philosophy ever written. In Kant's personal phrases its objective is to go looking for and determine the ideally suited precept of morality, the explicit central. This variation provides the acclaimed translation of the textual content via Mary Gregor, including an creation by means of Christine M. Korsgaard that examines and explains Kant's argument.

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Where work is not so differentiated and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, there trades remain in the greatest barbarism. Whether pure philosophy in all its parts does not require its own special man might in itself be a subject not unworthy of consideration, and it might be worth asking whether the whole of this learned trade would not be better off if a warning were given to those who, in keeping with the taste of the public, are in the habit of vending the empirical mixed with the rational in all sorts of proportions unknown to themselves, who call themselves "independent thinkers,'"* and others, who prepare the rational part only, "hair-splitters":' the warning not to carry on at the same time two jobs which are very distinct in the way they are to be handled, for each of which a special talent is perhaps required, and the combination of which in one person produces only bunglers.

Thus, then, we have arrived, within the moral cognition of common human reason, at its principle, which it admittedly does not think so abstractly in a universal formr but which it actually has always before its eyes and uses as the norm for its appraisals. Here it would be easy to show how common human reason, with this compass in hand, knows very well how to distinguish in every case that comes up what is good and what is evil, what is in conformity with duty or contrary to duty, if, without in the least teaching it anything new, we only, as did Socrates, make it attentive to its own principle; and that there is, accordingly, no need of science and philosophy to know what one has to do in order to be honest and good, and even wise and virtuous.

H. B. Nisbet, ed. ) The secondary literature on Kant's ethics in general and the Groundwork in particular is vast. A disproportionately large part of it has been provoked by Hegel's famous contention that Kant's Formula of Universal Law is "empty" (see Elements of the Philosophy of Right [1821], trans. H. B. Nisbet, ed. Allen W. Wood, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991). One of the best discussions is to be found in the two chapters devoted to Kant in Marcus Singer's Generalization in Further reading Ethics (New York, Atheneum, 1961).

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