CHAPTER V
THE TRANSCENDENTAL METHOD

Immanuel Kant

We enter a new moral climate when we abandon the ideal of pleasure as the standard of conduct and study the method of ethics which lays the entire stress on judgment. The variations in the use of the method have been numerous; yet there is a sufficient likeness to enable us to make a single classification. We begin with the theory of Kant, because he assumes that the value of the moral act is determined strictly within the mind and depends in no respect upon the empirical character of the agent. We shall then examine the articles of the Socratic school, where judgment and behavior are united in the development of character. Finally, we shall survey the system of Spinoza, where purpose is represented as the fundamental principle of thought and action. When this study is complete, we shall have a fairly comprehensive view of the theory which regards the aim, standing at the head of the judgmental series, as the main, if not sole, depositary of moral value.

The method of Kant is called Transcendental. It is directly opposed to the empirical methods of the English thinkers, and implies that moral conduct is to be judged virtuous, not because of its salutary effects on body or condition, but solely by reason of its originating motive. His procedure follows in every respect the lines laid down in the "Critique of Pure Reason." Experience is to be examined from the standpoint of the independent activity of mind. The reflective judgment has certain determinate categories, modes of thought, by means of which the facts of conscious perception are converted into elements of knowledge. Truth is not

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