Book Report on Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals by Kant

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Book Report on Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals by Kant

Kant states (38,) "act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature". This "categorical imperative" forms the basis of his book, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals. Though at times his writing is confusing Kant lays out his logic as to what a categorical imperative is. Kant divides the book into three sections. The first explains the transition from everyday moral beliefs to the philosophy of those morals. The transition from popular moral philosophy to the metaphysics of morals is explained in Section II. Kant ends the book explaining how the metaphysics of morals is seen in everyday moral
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Kant provides two reasons to study the metaphysics of morals. First, to understand a priori morals we must investigate their course. Second, morals may be corrupted if we fail to understand and estimate them correctly. Section 1 begins with the idea that "the only thing absolutely good is a good will"(11). According to Kant acts of courage and perseverance can be negative if a dubious idea is driving them. Kant uses "Duty" as an example of good will but provides three qualifications. For an action to have moral worth it must be done from duty. He is careful to distinguish "three forms of duty; "from duty", "conforming to duty" and "as duty requires" (15). A morally good action is not based on anything or done out of want for any object or inclination. It is performed simply because it is. For example, a man rescues a cat from a tree because he knows there is a reward offered. The man performs the act for a monetary purpose. An act driven by any possible reaction can not be based on "good will". Good will is "good in itself" (12). In Section II Kant provides an in-depth explanation of what a "categorical imperative" is. He first defines an imperative as a "command that is obligatory for a will" (30). In other words it is something we ought to do. He goes on to differentiate the two kinds of imperatives, hypothetical and imperative. An action based on a hypothetical imperative is done for the result while a
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