The Basis of Morality

By Arthur Schopenhauer; Arthur Brodrick Bullock | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
ON THE DEEIVBD FOKMS OF THE LEADING PRINCIPLE
OF THE KANTIAN ETHICS.

It is well known that Kant put the leading principle of his Ethics into another quite different shape, in which it is expressed directly; the first being indirect, indeed nothing more than an indication as to how the principle is to be sought for. Beginning at p. 63 (R., p. 55), he prepares the way for his second formula by means of very strange, ambiguous, not to say distorted,1 definitions of the conceptions End and Means, which may be much more simply and correctly denoted thus : an End is the direct motive of an act of the Will, a Means the indirect: simplex sigillum veri (simplicity is the seal of truth). Kant, however, slips through his wonderful enunciations to the statement: “Man, indeed every rational being, exists as an end in himself.” On this I must remark that “to exist as an end in oneself” is an unthinkable expression, a contradictio in adjecto.2To be an

1 To keep the play of words in “geschrobene,” “verschrobene,” we may perhaps render them : “twisted” … “mistwisted.”—(Translator.)

2 A contradiction in that which is added. A term applied to two ideas which cannot be brought into a thinkable relationship.—(Translator.)

-92-

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