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Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) [Paperback]

By Immanuel Kant (Author), Mary Gregor (Editor) & Desmond M. Clarke (Editor)
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Item description for Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) by Immanuel Kant, Mary Gregor & Desmond M. Clarke...

Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks alongside Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as one of an influential work in moral philosophy. Its aim is to search for and establish the supreme principle of morality, the categorical imperative. He argues that every human being is an end in himself or herself, never to be used as a means by others, and that moral obligation is an expression of the human capacity for autonomy or self-government. The introduction examines and explains Kant's argument.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cambridge University Press
Pages   76
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.33"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 28, 1998
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521626951  
ISBN13  9780521626958  

Availability  0 units.

More About Immanuel Kant, Mary Gregor & Desmond M. Clarke

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Allen W. Wood is a professor of philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of "Kant s Rational Theology" and "Kant s Ethical Thought" and, with Paul Guyer, general editor of the "Cambridge Edition of the Works of Kant.

Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 and died in 1804 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of California, San Diego, University of Pennsylvania.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics

Reviews - What do customers think about Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)?

One of the best books ever written.  Jan 24, 2008
If you want to read a book of significance, look no further. While it may be a difficult read it is one of the most influential and important books ever written.
A Cornerstone in Thinking about Ethics  Jul 5, 2007
There were only 9 reviews on this book . . . what can one say. . . either something brings you to this book or it does not. . . if you are reading these reviews, then buy it.

This book is one of the most important and influential works on ethics. It is dense, not an easy read, the structure is loose and troublesome at times, but it is groundbreaking and brilliant.

There are many internet resources to guide you along the reading,. so do not be intimidated. Much of future work will rest on the contributions by Kant.
great introduction, expensive version  Feb 25, 2006
This version of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals provides a clear and concise introduction. You will find it useful to understand how Kant's moral philosophy fits within his general philosophy and to get acquainted with some of the debates around his work. Although this book is rather expensive for what it is, it is useful and worth buying if you are really interested in this topic.
Cornerstone of Modern Ethical Thinking  Oct 31, 2005
'Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals' by Immanuel Kant is easily the most important work devoted exclusively to thinking about morality in the history of Philosophy, especially considering it's size.

The cornerstone of the work, and the end result of Kant's analysis is the categorical imperative which says that a moral law are only those for which you can state should be true of all people.

In one fell swoop, Kant marginalizes all thinking about relativism in morality and at the same time distinguishes moral from religious thinking.

If you pair this up with St. Paul's statements in his letter to the Romans (3:19-28) which states strongly that adherance to the law has virtually nothing to do with salvation, it should make things pretty clear to all concerned.

Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. As important as Kant's conclusion is, it is necessary but not sufficient for a complete analysis of morality.

One excuse may be that this work is really Kant's version of 'Cliff Notes' to his moral argument. His full presentation comes in the 'Critique of Practical Reason', which, however, is not often read.

Note that contrary to another review of this edition, the translator and commentator is the noted Kant scholar of 70 years ago, H. J. Paton.

To people who are not used to reading philosophy, I will not hide the fact that Kant is tough going. He may not be quite as tough as Hegel, the Existentialists, or the ancient Greeks, but he is definitely harder to understand than any modern nonfiction book I can think of.

The biggest argument against the 'Groundwork' and the categorical imperative is usually the fact that it does not rule out trivial rules, such as 'you must always eat a starch at least once a day'. This rule is physically possible for anyone living anywhere in the world, yet it is certainly not a moral law. It is not even a very good dietary law, but that's neither here nor there. A second argument is that Kant's argument seems a bit circular, when he says that the only thing which unqualifiedly good is a good will.

For anyone who has been vexed by moral questions, an honest reading of this work will at the very least give you hope that with the right amount of thought, one can make sense of moral issues.

A truly great book.
It is Imperative to read this...  Oct 7, 2005
As translator H.J. Paton states in his introduction, 'Kant's "Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals" is one of the small books which are truly great' despite the unapproachability of the title. Many rank this book alongside Aristotle's 'Ethics' and Plato's 'Republic'. Its main topic is the supremacy of morals and moral action, and Paton gives a section by section analysis of Kant's book. The purpose of this work is not to work out all of the implications and difficulties with the a priori part of ethics, but rather to set a foundation of the supreme principle of morality.

The centerpiece of the Groundwork is Kant's most famous proposition, the Categorical Imperative. While this is often equated with the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), the Categorical Imperative argues for a more universal set of moral action - for example, if one does not mind being lied to, then lying does not become a problem, according to the Golden Rule, but for Kant, this would be unacceptable as it is a violation of the rational principles of what morals are.

Kant proceeds to look at issues of law, duty, free will and the good will, and autonomy of action. Kant argues strongly for the need for philosophy to guard against whim, taste and personal desire from becoming normative agents in the way we construct the moral universe. He argue for objective principles to govern the will, and categorises these as either hypothetical or categorical. 'All imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. Hypothetical imperatives declare a possible action to be practically necessary as a means to the attainment of something else that one wills (or that one may will). A categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as objectively necessary in itself apart from its relation to a further end.'

Kant goes from this discussion to the formulation of universal law and the way in which rational agents should formulate and view this kind of law. The final section of this work introduces ideas that will be more fully developed in Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason', the second of his three-volume Critiques. He also covers some of the arguments from 'Critique of Pure Reason', but not very fully; as Paton states in his analysis, 'Kant cannot assume the elaborate arguments of the "Critique of Pure Reason" to be familiar to his readers nor can he attempt to repeat these elaborate arguments in a short treatise on ethics.' The finite, rational person must regard himself or herself both as a member of the world of experience/perception and also as a member of the world of ideas/rationality. This is the essence of the Empiricist/Rationalist split that Kant synthesises together in the first Critique.

This is not easy going - the original 'Groundwork' had 128 pages, contained here in less than 100 (allowing for type-face differences as well as translation). Paton's version has 40 pages of analysis, endnotes, an index, and a statement about the translation - it is the 40 pages of analysis, keyed to section-by-section sequence, that makes this a very useful edition. This is perhaps the best first text of Kant to read to get a sense of his style, thought, and the foundation of what has become known as his most important principle.

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