Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Article excerpt

Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Christine M. Korsgaard (Harvard University) (introduction) Mary Gregor (University of St. Andrews) Jens Timmermann (University of St. Andrews) (trs. & eds.) New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012, 90 pp. ISBN 978-1-107-00851-9

Korsgaard asserts that, on Kant's conception, the rational order which the metaphysician looks for in the world is something which human beings impose upon the world. As rational beings we act in accordance with our representations or conceptions of laws. The laws of reason are something we human beings impose upon the world. All rational beings have the kind of autonomous wills for which the moral law is authoritative. The rational will is not well adapted to produce happiness or any end outside of itself. The categorical imperative commands that our actions should have the form of moral conduct, The authority of morality must be grounded in our autonomy. Categorical imperatives can bind us only through our autonomy. Morality is a kind of metaphysics in practice. We must take an interest in moral ideas if we are to act on them. We act in accordance with our representations or conceptions of laws. There are two ways in which we may be bound to confonn to a law: we may confonn to a law because of some interest we have that is served by such conformity, or we may regard ourselves as bound to obey a law because we endorse the law itself, considered as a law. …

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