Practical Reason and Morality: A Study of Immanuel Kant's Foundations for the Metaphysics of Morals

By A. R. C. Duncan | Go to book overview

Chapter V
THE SECOND SECTION. (i) THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE

Every philosophical doctrine should be made capable of a popular exposition . . . this I willingly admit . . . except with regard to an investigation into the reach and extent of the faculty of reason itself . . . where popularity, i.e. talking to the people in their own language and way of thinking, is quite out of the question. -- IMMANUEL KANT.

Can you find any cogent prinriple of composition which the writer observed in setting down his observations in this particular order? PLATO : Phaedrus.

The analysis of the structure and the interpretation of the argument contained in Section I presented no serious difficulty, and we were therefore able to preface our discussion with a brief paragraph-analysis of the contents of the section. Section II, on the other hand, is the most difficult of the three sections to analyse accurately, although its teaching is philosophically simpler than that of Section III. The title of Section II is puzzling in itself, and is by no means either an obvious or an accurate description of the contents; the language throughout the section is unusually careless and confusing; the logical articulation is obscured by frequent and unnecessary repetition, and rendered difficult to trace out by the presence in the argument of two separate strands of thought. Following the Platonic principle that an essential preliminary to the appreciation and competent criticism of any discourse is the discovery of the objective articulation of its parts, we shall begin our discussion of this complicated section by devoting a complete chapter to the task of analysing its contents. Subsequent chapters will attempt to substantiate the outline analysis offered here. The importance of this task must be the justification for any repetition that this will involve.

This mode of procedure is rendered all the more necessary

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