Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Constructing the Categorical Imperative

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:
Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Constructing the Categorical Imperative

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This chapter deals with the principle of autonomy, which is at once the third formula of the categorical imperative (FA), a property of the will, and the supreme principle of morality in the sense of being a condition of the possibility of a categorical imperative. Its central thesis is that this principle marks the completion of the construction of the concept of the categorical imperative, which is the central project of Groundwork 2. The basic idea is that such an imperative presupposes a universal law, which is provided by FLN, something of absolute value, which is provided by FH, and a source of unconditioned authority, which the principle of autonomy locates in the will. The chapter also discusses the controversial issue of the equivalence of these formulas and the contrast between autonomy and heteronomy as two possible sources of moral principles.

Keywords: absolute value; autonomy; categorical imperative; construction; heteronomy; unconditioned authority; universal law; will

Chapter.  18530 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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