Universal Practical Philosophy and Popular Moral Philosophy

Henry E. Allison

in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199691531
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731808 | DOI:
Universal Practical Philosophy and Popular Moral Philosophy

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This chapter examines two major challenges to Kant’s project of providing the foundation for a future metaphysics of morals: the Wolffian universal practical philosophy and the popular moral philosophy associated primarily with Garve. It argues that Kant’s concern with the former was that it might be assumed that to have already offered a metaphysics of morals, thereby rendering his superfluous and that he responded by pointing out that, since it concerned with what is common to all intentional action (practice), it ignores what pertains distinctively to morality. It also argues that Kant’s main concern was with the latter, because its empiricism, eudaemonism, and eclecticism precluded both the need for and the possibility of a metaphysics of morals. It further argues that Kant’s main target was Garve’s translation of and commentary on Cicero’s De officiis.

Keywords: Cicero; De officiis; Garve; eclecticism; empiricism; eudaemonism; metaphysics of morals; popular moral philosophy; universal practical philosophy; Wolff

Chapter.  17051 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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