Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Emmanuel Kant

570 Words Jan 30th, 2018 2 Pages
Despite acknowledging that human beings will still most likely act morally, whether or not they have a clear understanding of moral principles, Kant explains that a clearer understanding of moral principles can allow individuals to fulfill their moral obligations, and keep their motivations pure.
Kant starts off, in the preface, by stating that “Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic” (Kant 55). Physics being the study of natural philosophy, and the world of material objects; ethics, the study of moral philosophy, and on what basis human beings ought to act; and logic, the study of empirical knowledge, independent of material objects. These three fields then fall into categories of empirical or non-empirical philosophy. In the Groundwork, Kant decides to focus on pure, non-empirical ethics, which he refers to as “a metaphysic of morals” (Kant 56). In attempting to develop an a priori concept of morality based on reason, as opposed to empirical observations, Kant comes to the conclusion that “a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same” (Kant 114). This statement ties together Kant’s aim in the Groundwork, in that the supreme principle of morality is developed through the notion of freedom, as it, then, provides a basis for…