Read Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals/What Is Enlightenment? by Immanuel Kant Free Online
Book Title: Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals/What Is Enlightenment?|
The author of the book: Immanuel Kant
Edition: MacMillan Pub Co
Date of issue: January 1990
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.47 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.7
ISBN 13: 9780023631009
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'Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end never as a means only.'
This, the second formulation of Kant's extraordinary categorical imperative, remains radical today, just as it was revolutionary in 1785 when the 'Foundations' was published... reason informs us that we can never justifiably use another as an end for any of our needs, wants or desires no matter how urgent or pressing those might be - that autonomous, law-giving rational nature has inherent value and attendant dignity which must be categorically respected, without qualification or condition...
The late Lewis White Beck's well-known translation, first published in 1959 and used in many undergraduate ethics courses, remains first-rate, with a clear, concise introduction, a short overview of Kant's life, a helpful note on the text, and a selected bibliography...
Also included is one of Kant's more underrated pieces, his response to the question of enlightenment that was posed by a Berlin periodical of the day ('What is Enlightenment?')... Kant builds from Horace's 'Sapere aude' ('Dare to be wise!') castigating those who allow external authority to dictate to them ethically, and even, it would seem, ontologically...
Beck, with good reason, refers to the 'Foundations' as 'one of the most important ethical treatises ever written' - this classic translation is well worth many a read...
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Read information about the authorImmanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He's regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe & of the late Enlightenment. His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics & epistemology, & highlights his own contribution to these areas. Other main works of his maturity are The Critique of Practical Reason, which is about ethics, & The Critique of Judgment, about esthetics & teleology.
Pursuing metaphysics involves asking questions about the ultimate nature of reality. Kant suggested that metaphysics can be reformed thru epistemology. He suggested that by understanding the sources & limits of human knowledge we can ask fruitful metaphysical questions. He asked if an object can be known to have certain properties prior to the experience of that object. He concluded that all objects that the mind can think about must conform to its manner of thought. Therefore if the mind can think only in terms of causality–which he concluded that it does–then we can know prior to experiencing them that all objects we experience must either be a cause or an effect. However, it follows from this that it's possible that there are objects of such a nature that the mind cannot think of them, & so the principle of causality, for instance, cannot be applied outside experience: hence we cannot know, for example, whether the world always existed or if it had a cause. So the grand questions of speculative metaphysics are off limits, but the sciences are firmly grounded in laws of the mind. Kant believed himself to be creating a compromise between the empiricists & the rationalists. The empiricists believed that knowledge is acquired thru experience alone, but the rationalists maintained that such knowledge is open to Cartesian doubt and that reason alone provides us with knowledge. Kant argues, however, that using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to illusions, while experience will be purely subjective without first being subsumed under pure reason. Kant’s thought was very influential in Germany during his lifetime, moving philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists & empiricists. The philosophers Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Schopenhauer saw themselves as correcting and expanding Kant's system, thus bringing about various forms of German Idealism. Kant continues to be a major influence on philosophy to this day, influencing both Analytic and Continental philosophy.