How, then, ought we make moral decisions? "Metaphysics" is the study of pure concepts as they relate to moral or physical experience. The categorical imperative may also be formulated as a requirement that we must not treat other rational beings as mere means to our own purposes. Students, as well as philosophers, tend to find this argument of Kant’s rather unappealing. We can have no knowledge of things in themselves. Good moral action is based on the principle and not the aim or object of the action. We can use experience to come up with practical rules for ourselves or helpful suggestions; but it will never give us universal moral laws. The third proposition, also related to the first two, is that duties should be undertaken out of "reverence" for "the law." In the final section, Kant first attempts to draw together the lines of reasoning by discussing the harmony or freedom and morality. Kant argues that such actions have no moral worth, because they’re done from inclination. Millions of books are just a click away on BN.com and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. Rather, it is the moral motivation of a person who recognizes that the law is an imperative of reason that transcends all other concerns and interests. He also states that basing a moral framework on a particular system, religious or otherwise, simply gets in the way of pure reason because you would have to prove why one system is superior to another. After showing the weaknesses of popular morality, Kant goes on to set up his argument for the metaphysics of morality. Philosophy Major: Information and Requirements, Many States Award Merit Aid to Students Who Are Under-Prepared for College, Despite Stimulus Money, Many Colleges Across the Nation Face Troubled Times, Many Latino Students Find American Dream Out of Reach. Human beings are organized for life—to live, and to continue living. Something is moral only if it is done out of duty, Good moral action is based on the principle and not the aim or object of the action, Moral actions must be done because of one's respect for the law. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) established a metaphysics of morals based on the idea that rationality drives morality. Kant suggested a standard he called a categorical imperative (CI) based upon this rationality asserting that rational thought would inevitably lead to moral action. Dr. Sipper holds a PhD in Education, a Master's of Education, and a Bachelor's in English. He advocated for a basic understanding of how to think morally, which he called common rational moral cognition. Kant was interested in establishing a metaphysics of morality that could be used independently from natural views of morality that implied human beings were merely slaves to instinct. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} It is a principle of reason that everything we understand may be explained on the basis of prior conditions. Philosophy may be divided into three fields: physics (the study of the physical world), ethics (the study of morals), and logic (the study of logical principles). Select a subject to preview related courses: Finally, Kant deals with the motivations of people acting out of the sense world (the world we observe through our senses) and the intelligible world (the world we understand with our minds). Novum Organum by Sir Francis Bacon: Summary & Analysis, Quiz & Worksheet - The Metaphysics of Morals Synopsis, Over 83,000 lessons in all major subjects, {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}}, Who is Plato? The argument so far has established what the moral law is, but has not demonstrated why we feel we should be moral. This is a way of looking at moral action based on three propositions: In the second section, Kant takes the foundation laid in Section One and expounds upon it. For Kant, goodness only comes from following the law. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals study guide contains a biography of Immanuel Kant, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The work is divided into two main parts, the Rechtslehre and the Tugendlehre. Because it applies in all circumstances, reason's fundamental moral principle may be called the "categorical imperative." © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. How Does Tuition Reimbursement Work with Financial Aid? Nearly every action we observe can be attributed to some interest or motivation other than pure morality. Summary. The fact is that reason serves purposes that are higher than individual survival and private happiness. G.W.F. Kant also accepts it as axiomatic that humanity possesses an inalienable dignity; the goal is not only to be happy, but to be able to reflect on one’s own happiness and consider oneself worthy of it, to achieve an inner harmony. First, laws govern how things in nature work, and only the rational being can follow the “representation” of those laws (a will) (29).