Kant's Theory of Morals

Kant's Theory of Morals

Bruce Aune
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 232
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Kant's Theory of Morals
    Book Description:

    Written for the general reader and the student of moral philosophy, this book provides a clear and unified treatment of Kant's theory of morals. Bruce Aune takes into account all of Kant's principal writings on morality and presents them in a contemporary idiom.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5317-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. A Note on References
    (pp. xii-2)
  5. Chapter I: The First Chapter of the Groundwork
    (pp. 3-34)

    As I explained in my preface, the fundamental principles of Kant’s theory of morals are set forth in theGroundworkand the substantive details of his theory are developed in other works, principally theCritique of Practical Reasonand the two parts of theMetaphysics of Morals.To simplify my exposition and to keep as close as possible to key Kantian texts, I shall build my discussion of Kant’s theory around two of these works, focusing my first four chapters on theGroundworkand the last two on theMetaphysics of Morals.I shall deal with pertinent doctrines of the...

  6. Chapter II: Two Forms of the Moral Law, C1 and C2
    (pp. 35-69)

    In Chapter 2 of theGroundworkKant subjects the notion of a moral law to philosophical analysis. As the result of his analysis, he claims that the moral law can be formulated in at least five different ways. I shall begin by discussing various matters associated with Kant’s analysis, but my principal subject in this chapter will be the clarification and evaluation of his first two versions of the moral law, which I shall labelC1andC2.I shall discuss his other versions of the law in the chapters to follow.

    Like most people, Kant was convinced that there...

  7. Chapter III: Rational Ends and Moral Autonomy
    (pp. 70-103)

    In this chapter I shall be concerned with the third and fourth formulations of the moral law that Kant gives in theGroundwork.These formulations, which I shall refer to asC3andC4,involve the ideas of humanity as an end in itself and the moral autonomy of rational beings. To clarify these difficult Kantian ideas, I shall have to discuss three complicated matters: the account of “natural ends” that Kant presents in hisCritique of Judgment,his distinction between the sensible and the intelligible world, and his metaphysical view of human freedom.

    Kant introduces this formula at the...

  8. Chapter IV: Concluding Remarks on the Groundwork
    (pp. 104-130)

    This chapter concludes my discussion of theGroundwork.I begin by examining Kant’s final version of the moral law, his kingdom-of-ends formula, and then, after commenting on a distinction he must draw between permissible and impermissible “subjective ends,” I compare his final version of the law with the versions considered earlier. At the end of the chapter I make some critical observations about the general structure of his theory and about the acceptability of the categorical imperative (in its various versions) as a fundamental moral principle.

    Kant’s formula of the kingdom of ends is closely related to his formulasC3...

  9. Chapter V: The Basic Principles of Justice
    (pp. 131-169)

    In theMetaphysics of MoralsKant works out the basic principles of two systems of moral duties: duties of justice (or juridical duties) and duties of virtue (or ethical duties). His discussion of juridical duties occurs in part one of theMetaphysics of Morals;the German title of this part is“Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre,” which may be translated as “The Metaphysical Elements of Law” or, more satisfactorily, as “The Metaphysical Elements of Justice.” My concern in this chapter is mainly with Kant’s basic claims about our duties of justice. I shall not attempt to comment on the entire scope...

  10. Chapter VI: The Basic Principles of Ethics
    (pp. 170-201)

    The subject of this chapter is the “doctrine of virtue” that Kant develops in the second half of hisMetaphysics of Morals.This doctrine is concerned with specifically ethical duties, or duties of virtue. Since all moral duties are, for Kant, either duties of justice or duties of virtue, this chapter will complete my discussion of Kant’s moral theory.

    The role of ethical duty in Kant’s moral theory is easy to appreciate if we recall his claim, in theGroundwork,that actions have moral value only when they are done for the sake of duty. His idea was that, although...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 202-212)
  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 213-214)
  13. Index
    (pp. 215-217)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 218-218)