Chapter

Kant’s Three Propositions, the Supreme Principle of Morality, and the Need for 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691531.003.0006
Kant’s Three Propositions, the Supreme Principle of Morality, and the Need for Moral Philosophy

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The main concerns of this chapter are the three propositions that Kant infers from his analysis of the concept of a good will and his subsequent derivation of the principle of morality. Since Kant only specifies the last two of these propositions, there is a debate regarding the identity of the first. After examining various candidates, it is proposed is that it is: “A good will under human conditions is one whose maxims have moral content.” Starting with the assumption that a good will acts from respect for law as such, the derivation consists in the formulation of the law that an agent with a good will acts from respect for. The problem is that there appears to be a gap between the premises with which Kant starts and the law with which he ends. It is argued that there is no such gap.

Keywords: gap; good will; law; moral content; respect

Chapter.  14208 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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