Groundlaying

toward the

Metaphysics

of Morals

by

Immanuel Kant.

Second Edition.

Riga,

by Johann Friedrich Hartknoch
1786.

Groundlaying

toward the

Metaphysics

of Morals

by

Immanuel Kant.

Second Edition.

Riga,

by Johann Friedrich Hartknoch
1786.
Table of Contents
Groundlaying toward the Metaphysics of Morals · Preface · emended 1786 2nd edition


Preface.

[ The branches of philosophy: physics, ethics, logic ]

Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. This division is perfectly suitable to the nature of the thing, and there is nothing to improve about it, except perhaps only to add its principle, in order in such way partly to assure oneself of its completeness, partly to be able to determine correctly the necessary subdivisions.

[ All rational knowledge is material or formal; ethics is material ]

All rational cognition is either material and considers some object; or formal, and occupies itself merely with the form of the understanding and of reason itself and the universal rules of thinking in general, without distinction of objects. Formal philosophy is called logic, the material, however,

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Preface.

[ The branches of philosophy: physics, ethics, logic ]

Ancient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. This division is perfectly suitable to the nature of the thing. The division cannot be made better, except perhaps by adding in the principle by which the division is made. This addition would ensure the division's completeness and reveal the division's necessary subdivisions.

[ All rational knowledge is material or formal; ethics is material ]

All rational knowledge is either material and has to do with some object, or it is formal and has to do with the form of the understanding, with the form of reason itself, and with the universal rules of thinking in general, no matter what objects the knowledge might be about. Formal philosophy is called logic. Material philosophy, though,

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which has to do with determinate objects and the laws to which they are subjected, is again twofold. For these laws are either laws of nature, or of freedom. The science of the first is called physics, that of the other is ethics; the former is also named doctrine of nature, the latter doctrine of morals.

[ The empirical (practical anthropology) and rational (metaphysics of morals) parts of ethics ]

Logic can have no empirical part, i.e. one such, where the universal and necessary laws of thinking rest on grounds which were taken from experience; for otherwise it would not be logic, i.e. a canon for the understanding, or the reason, which is valid for all thinking and must be demonstrated. On the other hand, natural as well as moral philosophy can each have their empirical part, because the former must determine its laws of nature as an object of experience, the latter however for the will of the human being so far as it is affected by nature, the first to be sure as laws according to which everything happens, the

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which has to do with specific objects and the laws that govern those objects, is again twofold. This twofold division occurs because these laws are either laws of nature or laws of freedom. The science of the laws of nature is called physics or the doctrine of nature. The science of the laws of freedom is called ethics or the doctrine of morals.

[ The empirical (practical anthropology) and rational (metaphysics of morals) parts of ethics ]

Logic can have no empirical part. That is, logic can have no part which would rest the universal and necessary laws of thinking on grounds based on experience. Logic cannot have such a part because, if the grounds were based on experience, logic would not be logic. Logic would then not be a canon for the understanding or for reason, that is, would not be a collection of strict and rigorous guidelines valid for all thinking and capable of demonstration. On the other hand, natural philosophy as well as moral philosophy can each have its empirical part. Natural philosophy can have its empirical part because nature is an object of experience, and natural philosophy must specify nature's laws according to which everything occurs. Moral philosophy can have its empirical part because the will of the human being is affected by nature, and moral philosophy must specify the laws of freedom

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second as such according to which everything ought to happen, but still also with consideration of the conditions under which it often does not happen.

One can name all philosophy, so far as it is founded on grounds of experience, empirical, that however, so far as it explains its teachings only from principles a priori, pure philosophy. The latter, if it is merely formal, is called logic; if, however, it is limited to determinate objects of the understanding, then it is called metaphysics.

In such way the idea of a twofold metaphysics arises, of a metaphysics of nature and of a metaphysics of morals. Physics will thus have its empirical, but also a rational part; ethics likewise; although here the empirical part especially could be called practical anthropology, the rational, however, properly morals.

[ The need for a metaphysics of morals ]

All trades, crafts and arts have gained through the distribution of labor,

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according to which everything ought to be done; but moral philosophy must also mention the conditions under which what human beings ought to do frequently does not get done.

All philosophy, so far as it is based on grounds of experience, can be called empirical. But philosophy, so far as it presents its teachings only on the basis of a priori principles, can be called pure philosophy. But pure philosophy, if it is merely formal, is called logic. If pure philosophy is restricted to specific objects, then it is called metaphysics.

Because of these various conceptual subdivisions within philosophy, there arises the idea of a twofold metaphysics: a metaphysics of nature and a metaphysics of morals. So physics will have its empirical part, but also a rational part. Ethics, too, will have both kinds of parts. In the case of ethics, though, the empirical part especially could be called practical anthropology, while the rational part could properly be called moral.

[ The need for a metaphysics of morals ]

All trades, crafts and arts, have gained through the division of labor.

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where, that is to say, no one makes everything, but each restricts oneself to certain labor which differs noticeably from others according to its mode of treatment, in order to be able to do it in the greatest perfection and with more ease. Where the labors are not in this way differentiated and divided, where each is a Jack-of-all-trades, there the trades still lie in the greatest barbarism. But although it would for itself be an object not unworthy of consideration, to ask: whether pure philosophy in all its parts would not require its special man, and would it not be better for the whole of the learned trade, if those, who are accustomed to sell the empirical mixed with the rational according to the taste of the public in all kinds of proportions unknown even to themselves, who name themselves independent thinkers, others however, who prepare the merely rational part, hair-splitters, would be warned, not to work at two tasks at the same time, which in the way to handle them, are entirely very different, for each of which perhaps a special talent is required,

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The gain is due to the fact that in the division of labor no one makes everything. Instead, each person limits herself to certain work which, in how it needs to be handled, differs markedly from other work. This limiting makes it possible to perform the work with increasing perfection and with greater efficiency. Where labor is not distinguished and divided in this way, where everyone is a Jack-of-all-trades, trade remains woefully undeveloped. It would be worth asking the following questions. Does pure philosophy in all its parts require a person with special skills? Would the whole of the learned profession be better off if those, who promote themselves as "independent thinkers" while calling others "hair-splitters" who work only with the rational part of philosophy, were warned not to try to perform two tasks at the same time? Would it not be better if these so-called independent thinkers, who, accustomed to trying to satisfy the tastes of the public, mix the empirical with the rational in all kinds of proportions unknown even to themselves, were warned not to multi-task,

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and of which union in one person produces only bunglers: nevertheless, I here ask only, whether the nature of science does not always require separating carefully the empirical from the rational part and sending before the proper (empirical) physics a metaphysics of nature, but before practical anthropology a metaphysics of morals, which must be carefully cleansed of everything empirical, in order to know how much pure reason in both cases can achieve and from which sources it itself draws its own instruction a priori, whether the latter task is conducted by all teachers of morals (whose name is legion) or only by some who feel a calling to it.

Since my purpose here is properly directed to moral philosophy, I limit the proposed question only to this: whether one is not of the opinion that it is of the utmost necessity to work up once a pure moral philosophy which is completely cleansed of everything that

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because multi-tasking by a single person produces only a mess when each individual task demands a special talent? But, although those are worthwhile questions, I here only ask whether the nature of science demands that the empirical part always be carefully separated from the rational part. I here also only ask whether the nature of science requires a metaphysics of nature to precede a proper (empirical) physics and requires a metaphysics of morals to precede a practical anthropology. In both cases, the metaphysics must be carefully cleansed of everything empirical in order to know how much pure reason could achieve and from what sources pure reason could create its own teaching a priori. It is all the same to me whether the latter task is conducted by all moralists (whose name is legion) or only by those who feel a calling to take on the task.

Since my aim here is squarely directed at moral philosophy, I limit the above questions about metaphysics in general to this question about the metaphysics of morals in particular: whether it is of the greatest importance to work out once a pure moral philosophy which would be thoroughly cleansed of everything

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might be only empirical and belong to anthropology; for that there must be such one is clear of itself from the common idea of duty and of moral laws. Everyone must admit that a law, if it is to hold morally, i.e. as a ground of an obligation, must carry about itself absolute necessity; that the command: thou shalt not lie, holds not at all merely for humans, other rational beings having themselves, however, to pay no heed to it, and similarly for all remaining proper moral laws; that therefore the ground of the obligation here must be looked for not in the nature of the human being, or the circumstances in the world, in which it is placed, but a priori only in concepts of pure reason, and that every other prescription which is grounded on principles of mere experience, and even a prescription universal in a certain respect, so far as it is based in the least part, perhaps only as regards a motive, on empirical grounds, can to be sure be called a practical rule, never however a moral law.

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which might be empirical and belong to anthropology. For that there must be such a pure moral philosophy is evident from the common idea of duty and of moral laws. Everyone must admit the following points: that a law, if it is to be moral, if, that is, it is to be a ground of an obligation, must carry with it absolute necessity; that the command, "thou shalt not lie," holds not just for human beings, as if other rational beings were not obliged to obey it, and the same goes for all other genuine moral laws; that, therefore, the ground of obligation for moral laws must be sought, not in the nature of the human being or in the circumstances of the world in which the human being lives, but rather must be sought a priori only in concepts of pure reason; and that every other prescription based on principles of mere experience can never be called a moral law but at most only a practical rule, and even a prescription that might be universal in a certain way — perhaps only in its motive — can only be a practical rule and never a moral law if it is based in the least part on empirical grounds.

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Thus the moral laws together with their principles among all practical cognitions differ not only essentially from everything else in which there is anything empirical, but all moral philosophy rests completely on its pure part, and, applied to the human being, it borrows not the least from the knowledge of human beings (anthropology), but gives it, as a rational being, laws a priori, which of course still require a power of judgment sharpened through experience, in order partly to distinguish in which cases they have their application, partly to secure them entry into the will of the human being and vigor for their practice, since this, as itself affected with so many inclinations, is no doubt capable of the idea of a practical pure reason, but not so easily able of making it in concreto effective in its conduct of life.

A metaphysics of morals is therefore indispensably necessary, not merely from a motive of speculation, in order to investigate the source of the practical ground propositions lying a priori in our reason,

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So moral laws, together with their principles, are essentially different from all other practical knowledge in which there is something empirical. But the scope is even wider: all moral philosophy, not just moral laws and their principles, rests wholly on its pure part. Moral philosophy, when applied to human beings, borrows nothing from the knowledge of human beings (anthropology), but rather gives the human being, as a rational being, laws a priori. These laws still require a power of judgment that is sharpened through experience, partly to distinguish those cases to which the laws apply, partly to give the laws access to the will of the human being and energy for putting the laws into practice. This access to the will and energy for implementation are needed because human beings, though capable of the idea of a pure practical reason, are affected by so many inclinations that they find it difficult to make the idea concretely effective in the way they live their lives.

A metaphysics of morals is therefore indispensably necessary. It is indispensable not merely to satisfy deep-rooted curiosity about the source of the practical principles that are present a priori in our reason.

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but because morals themselves remain subject to all kinds of corruption so long as that guide and highest standard of their correct valuation is lacking. For with that which is to be morally good it is not enough that it be in conformity with the moral law, but it must also be done for the sake of it; failing which, that conformity is only very contingent and precarious because the unmoral ground will now and then to be sure produce actions conforming to law, but again and again actions contrary to law. Now, however, the moral law is in its purity and genuineness (precisely which in practical matters counts the most) to be sought nowhere else than in a pure philosophy, and therefore this (metaphysics) must precede, and without it there can be no moral philosophy at all; that which mixes these pure principles with the empirical does not even deserve the name of a philosophy (for, by this, this distinguishes itself precisely from common rational cognition, that it presents in a separated science what the latter only confusedly comprehends),

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It is also indispensable because morals themselves remain vulnerable to all kinds of corruption so long as that guiding thread and highest norm of correct moral judgment is lacking. For in the case of what is to be morally good, it is not enough that it is in conformity with the moral law, but rather it must also be done for the sake of the moral law. If it is not also done for the sake of the moral law, then that conformity is only very coincidental and precarious because, although the non-moral ground will now and then produce actions that are in conformity with the moral law, the non-moral ground will again and again produce actions that are not in conformity with the moral law. But, now, the moral law, in its purity and genuineness (which is what is most important in moral matters), is to be found no where else than in a pure philosophy. So this (metaphysics) must come first, and without it there can be no moral philosophy at all. That which mixes pure principles with empirical principles does not even deserve to be called a philosophy (for philosophy distinguishes itself from common rational knowledge by presenting as a separated science that which common rational knowledge comprehends only in a confused way).

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much less of a moral philosophy, because precisely through this confusion it even damages the purity of morals themselves and proceeds against its own end.

[ A metaphysics of morals differs from Wolff's philosophy ]

Let one nevertheless certainly not think that what is here demanded one already has in the propaedeutic of the famous Wolff before his moral philosophy, namely before what he called the universal practical philosophy, and thus here a completely new field is not at all to be broken into. Precisely because it was to be a universal practical philosophy, it has drawn into consideration not a will of any special kind, for instance one which, without any empirical motives, would be determined completely from principles a priori, and which one could call a pure will, but willing in general with all actions and conditions, which belong to it in this general sense, and by this it differs from a metaphysics of morals, just in this way as general logic differs from transcendental philosophy,

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Even less does it deserve to be called a moral philosophy because, through this confusion that it creates by mixing pure principles with empirical principles, it trashes the purity of morality itself and undermines its own ends.

[ A metaphysics of morals differs from Wolff's philosophy ]

You would be way off base to think that in the preparatory study to the famous Wolff's moral philosophy, specifically in what Wolff called universal practical philosophy, you already have what is here demanded and therefore that no new ground needs to be broken. It is just because Wolff's moral philosophy was to be a universal practical philosophy that it did not consider a will of any special kind. In particular, it did not look into the possibility of a will which would be fully motivated by a priori principles. Such a will, animated without empirical motives, could be called a pure will. Instead, Wolff considered willing in general, with all actions and conditions that belong to willing in this general sense. Because it considers willing in general, Wolff's moral philosophy differs from a metaphysics of morals, just as general logic differs from transcendental philosophy.

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of which the first explains the actions and rules of thinking in general, the latter however only the special actions and rules of pure thinking, i.e., of that, by which objects are cognized completely a priori. For the metaphysics of morals is to investigate the idea and the principles of a possible pure will and not the actions and conditions of human willing in general, which for the most part are drawn from psychology. That in the universal practical philosophy (although contrary to all authorization) moral laws and duty are also spoken of, constitutes no objection opposed to my assertion. For the authors of that science remain true to their idea of it also in this; they do not distinguish the motives which, as such, are represented completely a priori merely through reason and are properly moral from the empirical, which the understanding raises merely through comparison of experiences to universal concepts, but consider them without paying attention to the difference

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General logic presents the operations and rules of thinking in general, but transcendental philosophy merely presents the special operations and rules of pure thinking, i.e., those operations and rules by which objects are cognized completely a priori. For the metaphysics of moral is to investigate the idea and the principles of a possible pure will and not the actions and conditions of human willing in general, which for the most part are drawn from psychology. It is no objection to what I am saying that this universal practical philosophy also speaks (although without any warrant) of moral laws and duty. For the authors of that science remain true to their idea of it also in this: those authors do not distinguish the motives which, as such, are represented completely a priori merely by reason and which are genuinely moral from those motives which are empirical and which the understanding raises to universal concepts merely by comparing experiences. These authors instead, without paying attention to the different

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of their sources, only according to their greater or smaller amount (since they are all looked upon as of like kind) and in doing this make themselves their concept of obligation, which of course is anything but moral, but still so constituted, as can only be demanded in a philosophy that judges not at all over the origin of all possible practical concepts whether they occur also a priori or merely a posteriori.

[ Three reasons for this Groundlaying ]

In the intention at present to deliver someday a metaphysics of morals, I let this groundlaying take the lead. To be sure, there is properly no other foundation for it than the critique of a pure practical reason, just as for metaphysics there is no other than the already delivered critique of pure speculative reason. But, partly, the former is not of such extreme necessity as the latter because human reason in moral matters can easily be brought, even in the case of the commonest understanding, to great correctness and completeness, whereas it is in theoretical, but pure, use wholly and

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sources of motives, consider only the intensity of the motives (looking at them as all being of the same kind), and from this sole consideration they put together their concept of obligation. Their concept is, of course, anything but moral. But a concept so constructed is all that can be expected from a philosophy that makes no attempt to decide the origin of all possible practical concepts and that makes no attempt to decide whether the concepts occur a priori or merely a posteriori.

[ Three reasons for this Groundlaying ]

Having the intention to publish someday a metaphysics of morals, I prepare the way for it with this groundlaying. Without a doubt, there is properly no other foundation for a metaphysics of morals than the critique of a pure practical reason, just as for metaphysics there is no other foundation than a critique of pure speculative reason, which I have already published. But, first of all, a critique of pure practical reason is not so extremely necessary as is a critique of pure speculative reason. A critique of pure practical reason is not as necessary because in moral matters human reason, even in cases of merely average intelligence, can easily be brought to a high level of correctness and completeness. In contrast, human reason in its theoretical but pure use is through and

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entirely dialectical: partly, I require for the critique of a pure practical reason, that, if it is to be finished, its unity with the speculative must at the same time be able to be presented in a common principle, because there can, after all, in the end be only one and the same reason that must be differentiated merely in its application. I was, however, here not yet able to bring it to such a completeness without bringing in considerations of a quite different kind and confusing the reader. For that reason I have, instead of the designation of a critique of pure practical reason, helped myself to that of a groundlaying toward the metaphysics of morals.

Because, however, thirdly, a metaphysics of morals, in spite of the forbidding title, is nevertheless also capable of a great degree of popularity and suitability to the common understanding, I think it useful to separate this preparatory work of the foundation from it, in order that subtleties which are unavoidable in it

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through dialectical. In the second place, I require that a critique of pure practical reason, if it is to be complete, must at the same time be capable of presenting in a common principle practical reason's unity with speculative reason. Such a critique must be capable of presenting this unity because in the end there can be only one and the same reason which is distinguished only in its application. But in this groundlaying I was not yet able to pull off such a feat of completeness; doing so would have required that I drag in considerations of a quite different kind and confuse the reader. Because of this incompleteness, I have called this work a groundlaying toward the metaphysics of morals rather than a critique of pure practical reason.

But in the third place, because a metaphysics of morals, despite the scary title, is capable of a high degree of popularity and resonance with the thinking of ordinary folks, I find it useful to separate off this preparation of the foundation of the metaphysics of morals so that the subtleties that are unavoidable in this preparation

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in the future need not attach to more comprehensible teachings.

[ The aims of this Groundlaying ]

The present groundlaying is, however, nothing more than the search for and establishment of the highest principle of morality, which constitutes by itself a business complete in its purpose and to be separate from all other moral investigation. No doubt my assertions over this important, and up to now by far still not adequately discussed, main question would receive through application of the same principle to the whole system much light and through the adequacy, which it shows everywhere, great confirmation: but I had to give up this advantage, which would be also at bottom more self-loving than generally useful, because the ease in the use of and the apparent adequacy of a principle furnishes no completely secure proof of the correctness of it, rather rouses a certain bias not to investigate and to weigh it for itself, without any regard for the consequences, in all strictness.

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need not bog down the more comprehensible teachings of the metaphysics of morals which I will publish in the future.

[ The aims of this Groundlaying ]

The present groundlaying, however, is nothing more than the search for and establishment of the highest principle of morality. In its purpose, this task is by itself complete and to be kept separate from all other moral inquiry. There is no doubt that what I have to say about this main question, which is an important question but which has up to now been the subject of very unsatisfying discussion, would be made much clearer through the application of that highest principle to the whole system and that what I have to say would be strongly confirmed by the adequacy that the principle displays everywhere. But I had to forgo this advantage, which would have been more self-serving than generally useful anyway, because a principle's ease of use and apparent adequacy provide no sure proof at all of the correctness of the principle. Instead, a principle's ease of use and apparent adequacy awaken a certain bias against investigating and weighing the principle itself, apart from any consideration of consequences, in a strict way.

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[ The method and parts of this Groundlaying ]

I have taken my method in this writing in such a way that, I believe, it is the most fitting, if one wants to take the path from the common cognition to the determination of its highest principle analytically and again back from the examination of this principle and its sources to common cognition, in which its use is found, synthetically. The division has therefore turned out in this way:

1. First Section: Transition from the common moral rational cognition to the philosophical.

2. Second Section: Transition from the popular moral philosophy to the metaphysics of morals.

3. Third Section: Last step from the metaphysics of morals to the critique of pure practical reason.


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[ The method and parts of this Groundlaying ]

I have selected a method for this book which, I believe, will work out best if we proceed in the following way. First, we proceed analytically from common knowledge to the formulation of the highest principle. Then, second, we synthetically work our way back from the examination of this principle and its sources to common knowledge in which we find the principle applied. Using this method, the sections of the book turn out to be:

1. First Section: Transition from common moral rational knowledge to the philosophical.

2. Second Section: Transition from popular moral philosophy to the metaphysics of morals.

3. Third Section: Last step from the metaphysics of morals to the critique of pure practical reason.



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First Section.

Transition
from the common moral rational cognition
to the philosophical.
[ Only the good will is good without qualification ]

It is possible to think nothing anywhere in the world, indeed generally even out of it, which could without limitation be held to be good, except only a good will. Understanding, wit, power of judgment and whatever the talents of the mind may otherwise be called, or courage, resolution, perseverance in purpose, as qualities of temperament, are without doubt for many a purpose good and desirable; but they can also become extremely bad and harmful, if the will, which is to make use of these natural gifts and whose distinctive quality is therefore called character, is not good. With gifts of fortune it is just in this way qualified. Power, riches, honor, even health and the whole well-being and satisfaction with one's condition under

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First Section.

Transition
from common moral rational knowledge
to philosophical.
[ Only the good will is good without qualification ]

There is nothing at all in the world, or even out of it, that could possibly be thought to be good without qualification except a good will. Intelligence, humor, power of judgment, and whatever else the talents of the mind may be called, are without doubt in many respects good and desirable. Likewise, courage, decisiveness, and perseverance in pursuit of goals, as qualities of temperament, are without doubt in many respects good and desirable. But these talents of the mind and qualities of temperament can also become extremely bad and harmful, if the will that is to make use of these natural gifts, and so a will whose distinctive quality is therefore called character, is not good. It is just the same with gifts of fortune. Power, wealth, reputation, even health and the whole well-being and satisfaction with your condition, which

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the name of happiness produce courage and by this often also arrogance, where a good will is not present, which corrects their influence on the mind and with this also the whole principle of acting and makes them accord with universal ends; not to mention, that a rational impartial spectator even by the view of an uninterrupted prosperity of a being, adorned with no trait of a pure and good will, can never again have a satisfaction, and so the good will appears to constitute the unavoidable condition even of the worthiness to be happy.

Some qualities are even favorable to this good will itself and can much ease its work, have however for all that no inner unconditional worth, but always still presuppose a good will, which limits the high esteem that one after all justly carries for them and does not permit them to be held to be absolutely good. Moderation in emotional disturbances and passions, self-restraint and sober reflection are not only for many kinds of purpose good, but appear to constitute even a part of the inner worth of the person; but it lacks much that would be needed in order to declare them without limitation to be good (however unconditionally they were praised by the ancients). For without ground propositions of a good will they can become extremely bad, and the cold blood of a scoundrel makes him

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goes by the name of happiness, produce courage; but these gifts of fortune frequently also produce arrogance as a by-product when there is no good will present to check their influence on the mind, no good will present to correct the whole principle of acting, and when there is no good will present to make these gifts of fortune and principle of acting conform to universal standards. And it goes without saying that a rational and impartial spectator, at the sight of the uninterrupted prosperity of someone who has no trace of a pure and good will, can never be satisfied, and so a good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition of even the worthiness to be happy.

Some qualities are even helpful to this good will itself and can make its work easier. But these qualities still have no inner unconditional worth. Instead, the qualities always presuppose a good will which limits the esteem which we otherwise justly have for them and which does not allow them to be considered absolutely good. Moderation in volatile emotions and passions, self-control and sober reflection are not only good for many purposes, but they even appear to constitute a part of the inner worth of a person. But there is much that these qualities lack that would be needed in order to declare them to be good without qualification (however much the ancients praised them unconditionally). For, without basic principles of a good will, these qualities can become very bad, and the cold blood of a scoundrel makes her

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not only far more dangerous, but also immediately in our eyes even more abominable than he would be held to be without this.

[ The good will is good in itself ]

The good will is not through that which it effects or accomplishes, not through its suitability to the attainment of some proposed end, but only through the willing, i.e. in itself, good, and, considered for itself, without comparison of far higher value than anything which could ever be brought about through it in favor of any inclination, even if one wants, of the sum of all inclinations. Even if this will, through a special disfavor of fate, or through the scanty endowment of a stepmotherly nature, were wholly lacking the capacity to carry through its purpose; if, by its greatest effort nevertheless nothing were accomplished by it, and only the good will (of course not at all as a mere wish, but as the summoning of all means so far as they are in our power) were left over: then it would still shine for itself like a jewel, as something which has its full worth in itself. Usefulness or fruitlessness can neither add something to this worth, nor take anything away. It would, as it were, only be the setting in order to be better able to handle it in common commerce, or to call to itself the attention of those who are not yet adequate connoisseurs, not however in order

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not only far more dangerous, but also in our eyes even more immediately abominable than she would be held to be without such cold-bloodedness.

[ The good will is good in itself ]

The good will is good only through its willing, i.e., is in itself good. It is not good because of what it effects or accomplishes, nor is it good because of its suitability for achieving some proposed end. Considered in itself, the good will is, without comparison, of far higher value than anything that it could ever bring about in favor of some inclination or even in favor of the sum of all inclinations. Even if a good will wholly lacked the capacity to carry out its purposes, due to an especially unfavorable turn of fate or due to the scanty provision of a step-motherly nature, it would still shine for itself like a jewel, like something that has all its worth in itself. A good will would even shine like this if, despite its greatest efforts (not, of course, as a mere wish but rather as calling upon all means so far as they are in our power), it never could accomplish anything and remained only a good will. The good will's usefulness or fruitlessness can neither add something to that will's worth nor take anything away from that worth. Any such usefulness would, as it were, only be the setting that would make the will easier to handle in everyday activities or the setting that would attract the attention of people who do not yet know enough about the good will.

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to recommend it to connoisseurs and to determine its worth.

[ The practical function of reason is the establishment of a good will ]

There is, nevertheless, in this idea of the absolute worth of the mere will, without taking into account some utility in its valuation, something so odd, that, despite all agreement even of common reason with it, nevertheless a suspicion must arise that perhaps mere high-flying fantasy secretly lies as the ground, and that nature, in its purpose in having reason attached to our will as its governess, may be falsely understood. Hence we will put this idea from this point of view to the test.

In the natural predispositions of an organized being, i.e., a being arranged purposively for life, we assume it as a ground proposition that no organ for any end will be found in it, except what is also the most appropriate for it and the most suitable to it. Now if in a being which has reason and a will, its preservation, its well-being, in a word its happiness, were the proper end of nature, then it would have hit very badly on its arrangement for this to select the reason of the creature as the executrix of its purpose. For all actions that it has to carry out for this purpose

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Such usefulness would not recommend a good will to those people who do know about the will and such usefulness would not play a role in ascertaining the worth of the good will.

[ The practical function of reason is the establishment of a good will ]

There is, however, something very strange in the idea of the absolute worth of the mere will: in figuring the value of this will, no account is made of its usefulness. Because of this strangeness, and despite the agreement of even ordinary reason with the idea, a suspicion must nevertheless arise that perhaps mere high-flying fantasy is secretly the basis of the idea. The suspicion also arises that nature, in making reason the boss of our wills, may be misunderstood. So we will put this idea to the test from the point of view that sees reason as the commander of our wills.

In the natural makeup of an organized being, i.e., a being that is put together for living, we take it to be a basic principle that, for any organ with a specific job to do in the being, the organ will be the most appropriate for the job and the most suitable. Now if, for a being with reason and a will, its preservation, its well-being, in a nutshell, its happiness, were the end or goal of nature, then nature would have hit upon a very poor arrangement by putting reason in charge of the creature in order to achieve this end or goal. For all the actions that the creature has to carry out to achieve this end or goal of happiness

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and the whole rule of its behavior would be prescribed to it much more exactly by instinct and that end would have been able to be attained by this much more safely than it can ever be by reason, and should this as well over and above have been given to the favored creature, then it would only have had to serve it in order to meditate on the happy predisposition of its nature, to admire it, to enjoy it and to be thankful for the beneficent cause of it; not however, in order to submit its faculty of desire to that weak and deceitful guidance and to meddle in the purpose of nature; in a word, it would have ensured that reason struck out not in practical use and had the audacity, with its feeble insights, to think out for itself the plan of happiness and the means to reach it; nature would have taken over not only the choice of ends, but also even of the means and with wise foresight entrusted both only to instinct.

In fact we also find that the more a cultivated reason occupies itself with the aim of the enjoyment of life and of happiness, the further does the human being deviate from true contentment, from which arises with many and to be sure those most tested in the use of it, if they are only candid enough to admit it,

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and the whole rule of its behavior would be prescribed to the creature much more precisely by instinct. The end or goal to obtain happiness, too, could have been much more certainly attained by instinct than it ever can be by reason. If reason had anyway been given to the favored creature, then reason would only have had to serve the creature by helping the creature meditate on the fortunate makeup of its nature, admire it, enjoy it, and be thankful for it. Reason would not have served to subject the creature's powers of desiring to reason's weak and deceitful guidance and to meddle in the purposes of nature. In short, nature would have ensured that reason did not try for practical use, that is, was not used for making decisions about what to do, and would have ensured that reason, with its weak insights, did not have the audacity to think out for itself the plan for the creature's happiness and the means to carry out that plan. Nature would have taken over for itself not only the choice of the ends or goals but also of the means and with wise foresight would have entrusted both ends and means only to instinct.

In fact, we also find that the more a cultivated reason occupies itself with the aim of obtaining happiness and of enjoying life the more the human being departs from true contentment. In pursuing this aim, in many people — and indeed those most experienced in the use of reason, if they are only honest enough to admit it — 

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a certain degree of misology, i.e., hatred of reason, because they, after rough calculation of all advantage which they draw, I do not want to say from the invention of all arts of common luxury, but even from the sciences (which in the end also appear to them to be a luxury of the understanding), nevertheless find that they themselves in fact have only brought more hardship down on their heads than have gained in happiness and on that point finally rather envy than despise the more common run of human being, which is nearer to the guidance of mere natural instinct, and which does not allow its reason much influence on its doing and letting. And so far one must admit that the judgment of those who greatly moderate and even decrease below zero the boastful eulogies of advantages which reason in view of happiness and contentment of life is to supply to us is in no way peevish or ungrateful for the kindness of world government, but that the idea of another and much worthier purpose of their existence lies secretly as ground for these judgments, for which and not for happiness reason is quite properly destined, and for which therefore, as highest condition, the private purpose of the human being must largely make way.

For since reason for that purpose is not able enough so as to guide reliably the will in view of its objects

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there arises a certain degree of misology, i.e., hatred of reason. This misology arises because, after these people estimate all the advantages which they receive from not only the invention of all arts of common luxury but also even from the sciences (which appears to them at bottom also to be a luxury of the understanding), they still find that they have in fact created more trouble for themselves than they have gained in happiness. In the end, these people wind up envying rather than despising the more ordinary kind of human being who is closer to the guidance of mere natural instinct and who does not permit reason much influence on her conduct. Some people greatly moderate, or even reduce below zero, the boastful high praises of the advantages that reason is supposed to provide us in terms of happiness and satisfaction in life; we must admit that the judgment of these people is in no way bitter or unthankful for the goodness that exists in the way the world is governed. And so, instead, we must admit that these judgments secretly have as their basis the idea of a different and much worthier purpose for their existence. Reason is quite properly to be used for this worthier purpose and not for happiness. It is therefore to this worthier purpose, as the highest condition, that the private purposes of humans beings must in large part defer.

For since reason is not sufficiently able to guide the will reliably with regard to the will's objects

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and of the satisfaction of all our needs (which it in part even multiplies), an end to which an implanted natural instinct would have much more certainly led, nevertheless however reason as a practical faculty, i.e. as one that is to have influence on the will, is still alloted to us; so its true function must be not at all to produce a will good as a means to some other purpose but a will good in itself, for which purpose reason was absolutely necessary, where otherwise nature has everywhere in the distribution of its predispositions purposefully gone to work. This will may thus, to be sure, not be the sole and the complete good, but it must yet be the highest good and for all the rest, even every longing for happiness, be the condition, in which case it is entirely consistent with the wisdom of nature, if one notices that the cultivation of reason, which is required for the first and unconditional purpose, limits the attainment of the second, which always is conditioned, namely of happiness, at least in this life in many a way, indeed can even decrease it below nothing, without nature proceeding unpurposively in this, because reason, which cognizes its highest practical function in the establishment of a good will, is capable by attainment of this purpose only of a satisfaction of its own kind, namely from the fulfillment of an end which in turn only reason

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and with regard to the satisfaction of all of our needs (which reason in part even multiplies) — an end to which an implanted natural instinct would have led much more certainly — and since reason has nevertheless been given to us as a practical faculty, i.e., as a capacity that is to exercise an influence on the will, the true function of reason must be to produce, not at all a will that is good as a means to achieve some end, but rather a will good in itself. Because in all other circumstances nature has worked purposefully in distributing its capacities, reason was absolutely necessary in order to produce such a will that is good in itself. So, to be sure, this will may not be the only and the whole good, but it must still be the highest good and be the condition for all the other goods, even the condition for all longing for happiness. As such a condition, the good will is quite consistent with the wisdom of nature. You can appreciate this consistency even when you notice that the cultivation of reason, which is required for the first and unconditional end of producing a good will, in may ways limits, at least in this life, the attainment of the second and always conditional end of happiness. Indeed, the good will can even reduce happiness to something less than zero and still be consistent with the purposeful activity of nature. Even such an extreme reduction would be consistent with nature's purposes because reason, which acknowledges its highest practical function to be the production of a good will, is only capable of a satisfaction of its own kind — namely from the attainment of an end that again reason alone sets — when it produces such a good will.

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determines, even if this should be connected with many impairments which happen to the ends of inclination.

[ The concept of duty contains the concept of a good will ]

In order, however, to explicate the concept of a will to be highly esteemed in itself and good without further purpose, just as it is already present in the naturally sound understanding and needs not so much to be taught as rather only to be cleared up, this concept, which in the valuation of the whole worth of our actions always stands at the top and constitutes the condition of everything left over: we want to take up before ourselves the concept of duty, which contains that of a good will, although under certain subjective limitations and hindrances which, however, far from that they should hide it and make it unrecognizable, rather bring it out by contrast and allow it to shine forth that much more brightly.

[ Acting from duty ]

I here pass over all actions which are already recognized as contrary to duty, although they might be useful for this or that purpose; for with them the question is not at all even whether they might be done from duty, since they even conflict with this. I also set aside the actions which actually are in conformity with duty but to which human beings immediately have no inclination, which, however, they nevertheless practice because they are driven to it by another inclination. For

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Reason is even capable of this satisfaction in cases when producing such a good will is connected with many infringements on the ends of inclination.

[ The concept of duty contains the concept of a good will ]

The concept of a good will already dwells in the natural sound understanding and needs not so much to be taught as instead only to be clarified. This concept also always stands highest in the valuation of the whole worth of our actions and constitutes the condition of everything else. In order to dissect this concept of a good will, a will that is to be highly esteemed in itself and for no further purpose, we will lay bare the concept of duty, which contains the concept of a good will. Although the concept of duty contains the concept of a good will, it does so only under certain subjective limitations and restrictions. Far from hiding and disguising the concept of a good will, these subjective limitations and restrictions instead let the concept of a good will stand out by contrast and allow the concept to shine even more brightly.

[ Acting from duty ]

I here pass over all actions that are already recognized as contrary to duty, even though the actions might be useful for this or that purpose; for in the case of these actions, the question does not even arise as to whether they are done from duty, since they even conflict with duty. I also put to the side actions that are actually in accordance with duty but are also actions to which human beings have no inclination that is direct or immediate but which human beings perform because they are driven to do so by another inclination. For

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there it is easy to distinguish whether the action conforming to duty is done from duty or from self-seeking purpose. It is far more difficult to notice this difference where the action is in conformity with duty and the subject moreover has an immediate inclination to it. E.g., it is certainly in conformity with duty that the shopkeeper does not overcharge his inexperienced buyers, and, where there is much commerce, the shrewd merchant also does not do this, but holds a fixed common price for everyone, so that a child buys from him just as well as every other. One is thus honestly served; but that is not nearly enough in order on that account to believe the merchant has acted in this way from duty and ground propositions of honesty; his advantage required it; but that he moreover still should have an immediate inclination for the buyers in order, as it were, from love to give no one a preference in price over another, cannot here be assumed. Thus the action was done neither from duty, nor from immediate inclination, but merely done for a self-interested purpose.

[ Only actions from duty have a moral worth ]

On the other hand, to preserve one's life is a duty, and besides everyone has an immediate inclination for it. But, on account of this, the often anxious care, which the greatest part of human beings takes of it, still has no inner worth, and its maxim no moral content. They preserve their lives to be sure in conformity with duty,

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in these cases it is easy to tell whether the action conforming to duty is done from duty or from a self-serving purpose. It is much more difficult to notice this difference in cases where the action conforms to duty and the subject also has an immediate or direct inclination for the action. For example, a shopkeeper who does not overcharge his inexperienced customers is certainly acting in conformity with duty, and, where there are many transactions, the prudent shopkeeper does not overcharge. Instead, the prudent shopkeeper sets a fixed common price for everyone so that a child can shop at her store just as well as anyone else. So the public is honestly served. But this honest treatment of the customers is not nearly enough to be the basis for the belief that the shopkeeper acted from duty and principles of honesty. Her self-interest required it. But it cannot here be assumed that the shopkeeper also had an immediate or direct inclination to give the customers, out of love for them, so to speak, no preference of one over the other in terms of the price. So the action was done neither from duty nor from immediate or direct inclination, but instead the action was done merely for a self-interested purpose.

[ Only actions from duty have a moral worth ]

On the other hand, to preserve your life is a duty, and everyone also has an immediate inclination to do this. But, because of this inclination, the often anxious care that most of the human race has for life is an anxious care that still has no inner worth, and their maxim prescribing self-preservation has no moral content. Their action to preserve their lives definitely conforms to duty,

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but not from duty. On the other hand, if adversities and hopeless sorrow have completely taken away the taste for life; if the unhappy one, strong of soul, more angered over his fate than despondent or dejected, wishes for death and yet preserves his life without loving it, not from inclination or fear, but from duty; then his maxim has a moral content.

To be beneficent, where one can, is a duty, and besides there are many so compassionately attuned souls that they, even without another motive of vanity or of self-interest, find an inner pleasure in spreading joy around themselves, and who can take delight in the satisfaction of others, so far as it is their work. But I maintain that in such a case, action of this kind, however in conformity with duty, however kind it is, nevertheless has no true moral worth, but is on a level with other inclinations, e.g. with the inclination for honor, which, if it luckily hits on what in fact is generally good and in conformity with duty, therefore honorable, deserves praise and encouragement, but not high esteem; for the maxim lacks moral content, namely to do such actions not from inclination, but from duty. Granted, then, that the mind of that friend of the human being were clouded over by its own sorrow, which extinguishes all

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but it is not done from duty. By contrast, when adversities and hopeless sorrow have completely taken away the zest for living, when the unhappy person, strong of soul, angered over her fate more than faint-hearted or dejected, wishes for death and yet preserves her life without loving it, not from inclination or fear, but from duty, then her maxim has moral content.

To be beneficent where you can is a duty and there are also many souls so compassionately disposed that they find an inner satisfaction in spreading joy around them and can take delight in the satisfaction of others so far as it is their work. These compassionately attuned souls even experience this inner satisfaction without any motive of vanity or usefulness to themselves. But I maintain that in such cases an action of this kind, however much it may conform to duty, however kind it may be, nevertheless has no true moral worth. Instead, actions of this kind are on a par with other inclinations, for example, with the inclination to honor. This inclination to honor, when it is lucky enough to hit what is generally useful and in line with duty, and is therefore worthy of honor, deserves praise and encouragement, but not esteem. For the maxim lacks moral content, namely, to do such actions not from inclination, but rather from duty. Granted, then, that the mind of that friend of the human being were clouded by its own sorrow, which extinguishes all

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compassion for the fate of others, he still had power to benefit other sufferers, but foreign need did not move him because he is sufficiently occupied with his own, and now, since no inclination incites him further to it, he nevertheless tears himself from out of this deadly insensibility and does the action without any inclination, merely from duty, then it has for the first time its genuine moral worth. Further still: if nature had generally put little sympathy in the heart of this or that one, if he (after all an honest man) were of cold temperament and indifferent toward the sufferings of others, perhaps because he, himself equipped against his own with the special gift of patience and enduring strength, also presupposes, or even demands, the same with every other; if nature had not formed such a man (which truly would not be its worst product) properly into a friend of the human being, would he then not still in himself find a source to give himself a far higher worth than that of a good-natured temperament might be? Certainly! just there commences the worth of character that is moral and without any comparison the highest, namely that he is beneficent, not from inclination, but from duty.

To secure one's own happiness is a duty (at least indirect), for the lack of satisfaction

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compassion for the fate of others. Suppose she still had the power to benefit others who are suffering, but that strangers in need did not move her because she is sufficiently occupied with her own needs. And now she still rips — since no inclination prods her to it — herself out of this deadly insensitivity and does the action without any inclination, merely from duty. Then her action has for the first time its genuine moral worth. Suppose further still: if nature had put very little sympathy in the heart of this or that person, if she (after all an honest person) were of cold temperament and indifferent — perhaps, because she herself is equipped with the special gift of patience and enduring strength against her own suffering, she presumes or even demands the same in the case of every other person — toward the sufferings of others, if nature had not exactly formed such a person (who truly would not be nature's worst product) to be a friend of human beings, would she not still find in herself a source that would give herself a worth far higher than might be the worth of a good-natured temperament? Certainly! It is precisely here that the worth of character begins, a worth that is moral and above all comparison the highest. In particular, that worth begins in that she is beneficent, not from inclination, but from duty.

To secure your own happiness is a duty (at least an indirect duty), for the lack of satisfaction

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with one's condition in a crowd of many worries and in the midst of unsatisfied needs could easily become a great temptation to transgression of duties. But, even without looking here upon duty, all human beings have already of themselves the most powerful and most intimate inclination to happiness, because just in this idea all inclinations unite themselves into a sum. Only the prescription of happiness is for the most part so constituted that it greatly infringes some inclinations and yet the human being itself can make no determinate and secure concept of the sum of satisfaction of all under the name of happiness; hence it is not to be wondered how a single inclination, determinate in view of what it promises and of the time in which its satisfaction can be received, can outweigh a wavering idea, and the human being, e.g. a gouty one, can choose to enjoy what tastes good to him, and to suffer what he is able to, because he, according to his rough calculations, here at least has not destroyed for himself the enjoyment of the present moment through perhaps groundless expectations of a happiness that is to be put in health. But also in this case, when the general inclination to happiness does not determine his will, when health for him at least in this rough calculation was not so necessary a part, there in this way still remains here as in all other cases a law, namely to

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with your condition, in a crowd of many worries and in the middle of unsatisfied needs, could easily become a great temptation to the transgression of duties. But, even without looking at duty here, all human beings already have of themselves the most powerful and most intimate inclination for happiness, because precisely in this idea of happiness all inclinations are united into a collection. But the prescription of happiness is for the most part constituted in such a way that the prescription greatly infringes on some inclinations, and yet the human being can formulate no definite and secure concept of the collective satisfaction of all inclinations, which goes by the name of happiness. It should come as no surprise, then, how a single inclination — which specifies what it promises and the time within which its satisfaction can be felt — might be able to outweigh a wavering idea. For example, a person suffering from gout might be able to choose to eat or drink what tastes good to her and to suffer the consequences because she, according to her way of calculating the costs and benefits in this case at least, does not miss out on a present enjoyment through a perhaps groundless expectation of a happiness that is supposed to be found in health. But even in this case, if the universal inclination to happiness does not control her will, if health for her at least is not so necessary in her calculations of costs and benefits, then there remains in this case, as in all other cases, a law, namely, to promote her happiness

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promote his happiness, not from inclination, but from duty, and there has his conduct first of all the proper moral worth.

In this way we are without doubt also to understand the scriptural passages in which it is commanded to love one's neighbor, even our enemy. For love as inclination cannot be commanded, but beneficence from duty itself, though no inclination at all drives to it, indeed even quite natural and invincible disinclination opposes, is practical and not pathological love, which lies in the will and not in the propensity of feeling, in ground propositions of action and not melting compassion; the former alone, however, can be commanded.

[ The second proposition: an action from duty has its moral worth in the principle of willing ]

The second proposition is: an action from duty has its moral worth not in the purpose which is to be reached by it, but in the maxim according to which it is decided, depends thus not on the actuality of the object of the action, but merely on the principle of willing, according to which the action is done irrespective of any objects of the faculty of desire. That the purposes which we may have in actions, and their effects, as ends and incentives of the will, can give the actions no unconditional and moral worth, is clear from the foregoing. In what, therefore, can this worth lie, if it is not

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not from inclination but from duty. And then her conduct, for the first time, has genuine moral worth.

No doubt, it is also in this way that we are to understand the scriptural passages in which we are commanded to love our neighbor and even to love our enemy. For love as an inclination cannot be commanded. But beneficence from duty itself, even if no inclination at all drives us to it — indeed, even if natural and invincible disinclination stands against us — is practical and not pathological love. This practical love lies in the will and not in tendency to feeling, lies in basic principles of action and not in melting compassion. This practical love alone can be commanded.

[ The second proposition: an action from duty has its moral worth in the principle of willing ]

The second proposition is this: an action done from duty has its moral worth not in the purpose which is to be achieved by performing the action, but rather in the maxim according to which the action is decided upon. So the worth of such an action depends not on the actuality of the object of the action but only on the principle of willing according to which the action, regardless of any objects of the faculty of desire, is done. It is clear from what I have already said that the purposes which we may have in our actions, and the effects of our actions, as ends or goals and incentives of the will, can give no unconditional and moral worth to the actions. Where, then, can this worth be located, if it is not

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to be in the will, in reference to the hoped-for effect of them? It can lie nowhere else than in the principle of the will irrespective of the ends which can be effected through such action; for the will is right in the middle between its principle a priori, which is formal, and between its incentive a posteriori, which is material, as if at a crossroads, and since it must still be determined by something, it must be determined by the formal principle of willing in general, if an action is done from duty, since every material principle has been withdrawn from it.

[ The third proposition: duty is the necessity of an action out of respect for the law ]

The third proposition, as a consequence from both previous, I would express in this way: duty is the necessity of an action from respect for the law. For an object as an effect of my intended action I can, to be sure, have an inclination, but never respect, just because it is merely an effect and not activity of a will. Just in this way I cannot have respect for inclination in general, whether it be mine or that of another, I can at most in the first case approve it, in the second sometimes even love, i.e. view it as favorable to my own advantage. Only that which merely as ground, never however as effect, is connected with my will, which does not serve my inclination but outweighs it, at least completely excludes this from rough calculations of them

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to be found in the will, in the will's relation to the hoped-for effect of the actions? The worth can be located nowhere else than in the principle of the will, regardless of the ends that can be brought about by such action. For the will stands, so to speak, at a crossroads right in the middle between its principle a priori, which is formal, and between its motive a posteriori, which is material. Since the will must still be controlled by something, it must be guided by the formal principle of willing in general when an action is done from duty, because every material principle has been removed from the will.

[ The third proposition: duty is the necessity of an action out of respect for the law ]

I would express the third proposition, which is a consequence of the previous two, in this way: duty is the necessity of an action out of respect for the law. I can of course have an inclination for an object as an effect of my intended action, but I can never have respect for such an object precisely because the object is merely an effect and not the activity of a will. Likewise, I cannot have respect for inclination in general, whether it is my own inclination or someone else's. With an inclination of my own, I can at most approve of it; regarding others' inclinations, I can sometimes even love them, that is, view their inclinations as favorable to my own self-interest. But only something that is connected to my will merely as a ground, never as an effect, something that does not serve my inclination but instead outweighs it — something at least that wholly excludes inclination

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during the choice, therefore the mere law for itself, can be an object of respect and along with this a command. Now an action from duty should wholly detach from the influence of inclination and with it each object of the will, thus nothing remains over for the will, which might be able to determine it, except objectively the law and subjectively pure respect for this practical law, therefore the maxim*) of obeying such a law, even with the thwarting of all my inclinations.

[ The formula of universal law: mere conformity to law serves as the principle of a good will ]

Thus the moral worth of the action lies not in the effect which is expected from it, nor, therefore, in some principle of the action, which needs to borrow its motive from this expected effect. For all these effects (pleasantness of one's condition, indeed even promotion of the happiness of strangers) were also able to be brought into existence through other causes, and therefore there was for this no need for the will of a rational being, in which however the highest and unconditional good alone can be found. Nothing other, therefore, than the representation of the law in itself, which

*) A maxim is the subjective principle of willing; the objective principle (i.e. that one which would serve all rational beings also subjectively as a practical principle, if reason had complete power over the faculty of desire) is the practical law.

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from rough-and-ready decisions about what choices to make — and therefore only something that is the mere law itself, can be an object of respect and thus a command. Now an action from duty is to be detached completely from the influence of inclination and along with inclination from every object of the will. So nothing that could control the will remains except objectively the law and subjectively pure respect for this practical law. And so all that remains to guide the will is the maxim* of obeying such a law, even if this obedience involves dialing back all my inclinations.

[ The formula of universal law: mere conformity to law serves as the principle of a good will ]

So the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect that is expected from the action; nor, therefore, is the moral worth of an action in some principle of action which has to get its motivating ground from this expected effect. For all these effects (pleasantness of your condition, and even the promotion of the happiness of others) can also be brought about by other causes, and so the will of a rational being is not needed, even though it is only in a rational being that the highest and unconditional good can be found. So nothing but the intellectual representation of the law in itself, which of

* A maxim is the subjective principle of willing; the objective principle is the practical law. (That is, the objective principle is the practical principle that would serve all rational beings as a subjective principle, too, if reason had full control over the faculty of desire.)

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of course only occurs in a rational being, so far as it, not however the hoped-for effect, is the ground of determination of the will, can constitute the so pre-eminent good which we call moral, which is already present in the person itself who acts accordingly, and does not first need to be waited for from the effect.*)

*) One could reproach me, as if I sought behind the word respect only refuge in an obscure feeling, instead of giving to the question clear information through a concept of reason. But although respect is a feeling, so is it still not one through influence received, but a self-woven feeling received through a rational concept and therefore specifically different from all feelings of the first kind, which let themselves be reduced to inclination or fear. What I immediately cognize for myself as law, I cognize with respect, which merely means the consciousness of the subordination of my will under a law, without mediation of other influences on my sense. The immediate determination of the will through the law and the consciousness of it is called respect, so that this is looked at as an effect of the law on the subject and not as a cause of it. Respect is properly the representation of a worth that infringes on my self-love. Thus it is something which is considered neither as an object of inclination, nor of fear, although it has something analogous with both at the same time. The object of respect is therefore only the law and to be sure that one which we impose on ourselves and yet as in itself necessary. As a law we are subject to it without consulting self-love; as imposed by us on ourselves, it is still a consequence of our will and has in the first respect analogy with fear, in the second with inclination.

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course can only be found in a rational being, so far as this representation or thought, and not the expected effect of the action, is the controlling motivational ground of the will, can constitute the pre-eminent good which we call moral. This pre-eminent moral good is already present in the person who acts according to the representation of the law in itself, and this moral good does not need to wait for the expected effect of the action in order to become good.*

* You could object that by using the word "respect" I am only seeking to escape in an obscure feeling instead of bringing clarity to the question through a concept of reason. But although respect is a feeling, it is not a feeling received by influence. Instead, respect is a feeling self-woven through a rational concept. The feeling of respect, therefore, is specifically different from all feelings of the kind received by influence, which reduce to inclination or fear. What I immediately cognize or intellectually apprehend as a law for myself, I cognize with respect, which just signifies the consciousness of the subordination of my will to a law, without the mediation of other influences on my sense. The immediate or direct determination of the will by the law and the consciousness of that subordination is called respect. So respect, this awareness of the will's being guided by the law, must be thought of as an effect of the law on a person and not as a cause of the law. Respect is actually the representation of a worth that does damage to my self-love. So respect is something that is considered neither to be an object of inclination nor an object of fear, although it has something analogous to both at the same time. The object of respect is therefore only the law and indeed that law which we ourselves impose on ourselves and yet which is necessary in itself. Considered as a law, we are subject to this object of respect without consulting self-love; as self-imposed, this object is nevertheless a consequence of our will. Viewing it in the first way, as a law, the object is analogous to fear; viewing it in the second way, as self-imposed, the object is analogous to inclination.

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What kind of law though can that really be, whose representation, even without taking notice of the expected effect from it, must determine the will, so that this absolutely and without limitation can be called good? Since I have robbed the will of any impulses which could spring up for it from the following of some law, in this way nothing remains over except the universal conformity to law of actions in general, which alone is to serve the will as a principle, i.e. I ought never act other than in this way, that I can also will, my maxim should become a universal law. Here is now the mere conformity to law in general (without laying as ground some law determined for certain actions) which serves the will as a principle and must also serve it in that way if duty is not to be everywhere an empty illusion and chimerical concept; common human reason also agrees with this completely in its practical judgment and has the aforesaid principle always before its eyes.

All respect for a person is actually only respect for the law (of integrity etc.), of which that one gives us the example. Because we view enlargement of our talents also as a duty, we conceive of a person of talents also as, so to speak, the example of a law (to become like it in this through practice), and that constitutes our respect. All so-called moral interest consists simply in the respect for the law.

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But what kind of law can that really be, the representation of which — without even taking into consideration the expected effect from the action — must guide the will so that the will can be called absolutely good without qualification? Since I have robbed the will of any impulse that could arise from the will by following any law, nothing remains except the universal conformity of actions to law in general; this universal conformity is to serve the will as a principle. That is, I ought never act except in this way: that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law. Here now is the mere conformity to law in general (without making a law for specific actions a ground) that serves the will as its principle and even must serve it as its principle if duty is not to be everywhere an unfounded delusion and chimerical concept. In its judgments about what to do, ordinary human reason agrees completely with this principle and always has the principle in view.

All respect for a person is actually only respect for the law (of integrity, etc.) of which the person provides us with an example. Because we look at the development of our talents as a duty, we conceive of a person who has talents as, so to speak, an example of a law and that conception constitutes our respect. All so-called moral interest consists simply in respect for the law.

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[ An illustration: a false promise ]

The question is e.g. may I, when I am in distress, not make a promise with the intention not to keep it? I make here easily the distinction, which the meaning of the question can have, whether it is prudent, or whether it is in conformity with duty, to make a false promise. The first can without doubt often occur. To be sure, I well see that it is not enough to pull myself by means of this excuse out of a present embarrassment, but must be well weighed, whether for me out of this lie not afterwards much greater inconvenience can spring up than those are from which I now set myself free, and, since the consequences with all my supposed slyness are not so easy to predict, that a once lost trust could not for me become far more disadvantageous than all the trouble that I now intend to avoid, whether it is not more prudently handled, to proceed in this according to a universal maxim and to make it my habit to promise nothing except with the intention to keep it. But it is soon clear to me here that such a maxim still always only has anxious consequences as ground. Now, it is surely something completely different to be truthful from duty than from fear of disadvantageous consequences; since in the first case the concept of the action in itself already contains a law for me, in the second I first of all must look around elsewhere which effects for me might probably

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[ An illustration: a false promise ]

The question might be, for instance, the following. When I am in a tight spot, may I not make a promise with the intention of not keeping it? I easily make here the difference in meaning that the question can have: whether it is prudent, or whether it is in accord with duty, to make a false promise. There is no doubt that making a false promise can often be prudent. Indeed, I see very well that it is not enough that I extricate myself from a present embarrassment by means of this excuse. Instead, I must consider carefully whether from this lie far greater trouble than the trouble from which I now set myself free might not arise for me afterwards. And, since the consequences of all my supposed slyness are not so easy to predict and that a trust once lost could be far more disadvantageous to me than any evil that I now intend to avoid, I must also consider whether it might be more prudently handled to act in this matter according to a universal maxim and to make it a habit to promise nothing except with the intention of keeping the promise. But after considering these possibilities, it soon becomes clear to me that such a prudential maxim would only be based on the fear of consequences. Now it is certainly something quite different to be truthful from duty than to be truthful out of fear of disadvantageous consequences. For, in the case of being truthful from duty, the concept of the action in itself already contains a law for me. In the case of being truthful out of fear, I must first look around elsewhere for the effects on me which are likely

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be connected with it. For if I deviate from the principle of duty, then it is quite certainly bad; if I, however, desert my maxim of prudence, then that can yet sometimes be very advantageous for me, although it of course is safer to stay with it. In order however to instruct myself in view of the answer to this problem, whether a lying promise is in conformity with duty, in the shortest and yet most infallible way, I then ask myself: would I really be content that my maxim (to extricate myself from embarrassment by means of an untrue promise) should hold as a universal law (just as much for me as others), and would I really be able to say to myself: everyone may make an untrue promise when he finds himself in embarrassment from which he cannot extricate himself in another way? In this way I soon become aware that I, to be sure, can will the lie but not at all a universal law to lie; for according to such a one there would properly be no promising at all, because it would be futile to profess my will in view of my future actions to others, who would surely not believe this pretense, or, if they in an over-hasty way did believe it, would surely pay me back in like coin, and therefore my maxim, as soon as it were made into a universal law, would have to destroy itself.

What I therefore have to do, in order that my willing is morally good, for that I do not at all need far-reaching

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to be connected with the action. For, if I deviate from the principle of duty, then it is quite certainly bad. If, however, I desert my maxim of prudence, then that can sometimes be very advantageous to me, although it is of course safer to stay with the maxim of prudence. But, in order to inform myself, in the shortest and yet least deceptive way, of the answer to this problem of whether a lying promise conforms to duty, I ask myself the following. Would I be quite content that my maxim (to extricate myself from an embarrassment by means of an untruthful promise) should hold as a universal law (for me as well as for others) and would I be well able to say to myself that everyone may make an untruthful promise when she finds herself in an embarrassment from which she cannot escape in any other way? I soon become aware that I can indeed will the lie but that I definitely cannot will a universal law to lie. I cannot will a universal law to lie, for according to such a law there would actually be no promise at all. There would actually be no promise because it would be pointless to pass off my intentions regarding my future actions to others who would certainly not believe this pretence or who, if they did rashly believe it, would certainly pay me back in like coin. My maxim, therefore, as soon as it became a universal law, would have to destroy itself.

What I therefore have to do so that my willing is morally good requires no far-reaching

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sagacity. Inexperienced in view of the course of the world, incapable of preparing myself for all incidents in the world that might happen, I ask myself only: can you also will that your maxim become a universal law? If not, then it is objectionable and that, to be sure, not because of an impending disadvantage to you or even others from it, but because it cannot fit as a principle in a possible universal lawgiving; for this, however, reason forcibly obtains from me immediate respect, of which I, to be sure, now do not yet discern upon what it is grounded (which the philosopher may investigate), at least, however, still this much understand: that it is an estimation of worth which far outweighs all worth of that which is praised by inclination, and that the necessity of my actions from pure respect for the practical law is that which constitutes duty, to which every other motive must yield because it is the condition of a will good in itself, whose worth exceeds everything.

[ Common human reason uses this principle of a good will ]

In this way, then, we have reached in the moral cognition of common human reason up to its principle, which it certainly of course does not conceive in such way separated off in a universal form, but still always actually has before eyes and uses as the standard of its judgement. It would be easy to show here how

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acuteness. Inexperienced as to how the world operates, incapable of preparing myself for any events that might occur in the world, I only ask myself: can you also will that your maxim become a universal law? If the maxim cannot become a universal law, then the maxim is objectionable. It is objectionable not because it presents an impending disadvantage to you or even to others; instead, the maxim is objectionable because it cannot fit as a principle into a possible universal lawgiving. Reason compels respect from me for this universal lawgiving. I certainly do not yet see on what the respect is based (a topic which the philosopher may investigate), but I at least understand this much: respect is the estimation of a worth that outweighs all the worth of anything that inclination praises, and the necessity of my actions from pure respect for the practical law is what constitutes duty, and every motivating ground must yield to duty because duty is the condition of a will good in itself and whose worth exceeds the worth of everything else.

[ Common human reason uses this principle of a good will ]

We have, then, in the moral knowledge of common human reason, arrived at its principle. Common human reason of course does not abstractly think of this principle in such a universal form, but it does actually always have the principle before its eyes and uses the principle as the standard for its judgment. It would be easy to show here how

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it, with this compass in hand, in all occurring cases knows very well how to distinguish what is good, what bad, conformable to duty, or contrary to duty, if one, without teaching it in the least something new, only makes it, as Socrates did, attentive to its own principle, and that it thus requires no science and philosophy in order to know what one has to do so as to be honest and good, yes, and what is more, so as to be wise and virtuous. It might also well in advance have already been supposed that the knowledge of what to do, and therefore also to know, incumbent on each human being would also be the concern of each, even of the most common human being. Here one still cannot look without admiration at how the practical faculty of judgment has so great an advantage over the theoretical in common human understanding. In the latter, when common reason dares to depart from the laws of experience and the perceptions of sense, it gets into nothing but incomprehensibilities and contradictions with itself, at least into a chaos of uncertainty, obscurity and instability. In the practical, however, the power of judgment then for just the first time begins to show itself really to advantage when common understanding excludes all sensuous incentives from practical laws. It becomes then even subtle, whether it be that it quibbles with its conscience or other claims in reference to what is to be called right, or

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common human reason, with this compass in hand, very well knows in all cases that it encounters how to distinguish what is good, what is bad, what conforms to duty, or what is contrary to duty. If only we, as Socrates did, draw its attention to its own principle, common human reason can make these distinctions without our having to teach it anything new. So there is, in order to know what you have to do in order to be honest and good — or even to be wise and virtuous — no need for science and philosophy. It might even have been supposed well in advance that the knowledge that is incumbent on everyone — knowledge of what to do and therefore of what to know — would be the concern of everyone, even the concern of the most ordinary human being. It is at this point that you have to look with admiration at how the power of practical judgment has an advantage over the theoretical in ordinary human understanding. In theoretical matters, when ordinary reason dares to depart from the laws of experience and the perceptions of sense, it gets into nothing but incomprehensibilities and contradictions with itself. At the very least, when ordinary reason dares to make these departures, it gets into a chaos of uncertainty, obscurity, and instability. But in practical matters, it is just when ordinary understanding excludes all sensuous motives for practical laws that the power of judgment first begins to show itself to advantage. When ordinary understanding makes these exclusions it even becomes subtle, whether it be in quibbling with its conscience or with other claims in reference to what is to be called right or

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also wants sincerely to determine the worth of actions for its own instruction, and what is the most, it can itself have in the latter case just as good hope to hit it right as a philosopher might ever promise, yes is almost still more secure in this than even the latter, because this one has still no other principle than that one, but can easily confuse his judgment through a crowd of foreign considerations not belonging to the matter, and can make it diverge from the straight direction. Would it, accordingly, not be more advisable in moral things to rest satisfied with common rational judgment and at most only to bring in philosophy in order to present the system of morals the more completely and comprehensibly, also to present its rules more conveniently for use (but still more for disputation), not however in order even for practical purpose to divert common human understanding from its happy simplicity and to bring it through philosophy to a new way of investigation and instruction?

[ Moral philosophy is still needed to avoid dialectic ]

There is a magnificent thing about innocence, only it is also in turn very bad that it does not let itself be preserved well and is easily led astray. For this reason even wisdom — which otherwise consists perhaps more in doing and letting than in knowing — still also requires science, not in order to learn from it, but

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whether it be in wanting correctly to determine the worth of actions for its own instruction. But what is most remarkable is that, in determining the worth of actions, ordinary understanding can have just as good a hope of getting it right as a philosopher herself can ever promise. In fact, ordinary understanding is almost more secure in determining the worth of actions than the philosopher because the philosopher can have no other principle than the principle that ordinary understanding has and because the philosopher's judgment can easily be confused by a crowd of extraneous considerations not pertinent to the matter at hand and can be diverted from the right direction. Would it not, accordingly, be more advisable in moral matters to rest content with ordinary rational judgment? Would it not be more advisable to bring in philosophy at most only in order to present the system of morals more completely and more comprehensibly? Would it not be more advisable to bring in philosophy only so that it can present the system's rules in a way more convenient for their use (especially in disputation)? And would it not be less advisable, for practical purposes, to allow philosophy to drag ordinary human understanding away from its happy simplicity and to put the understanding on a new path of investigation and instruction?

[ Moral philosophy is still needed to avoid dialectic ]

Innocence is a magnificent thing, but it is also very bad in that it cannot be easily preserved and can easily be misled. Because of these deficiencies, even wisdom — which otherwise perhaps consists more in doing and letting than in knowing — still requires science, not in order to learn from science, but rather

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to gain admittance and permanence for its prescription. The human being feels in itself a powerful counterweight to all commands of duty, which reason represents to it as so worthy of high respect, in its needs and inclinations, the complete satisfaction of which it embraces under the name of happiness. Now reason commands its prescriptions unrelentingly, yet without in so doing promising something to the inclinations and therefore, as it were, with neglect and disregard of those so impulsive and yet so apparently reasonable claims (which will be neutralized by no command). Out of this arises, however, a natural dialectic, i.e., a propensity to reason speciously against those strict laws of duty and to cast into doubt their validity, at least their purity and strictness, and where possible to make them more suitable to our wishes and inclinations, i.e. to ruin them at bottom and to destroy their complete dignity, which then after all even common practical reason in the end cannot call good.

Thus in this way common human reason is driven, not through some need of speculation (which never befalls it, as long as it contents itself to be merely sound reason), but from practical grounds themselves, to go out of its circle and to take a step in the field of a practical philosophy, in order there on behalf of the source of its principle

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to gain accessibility and permanence for wisdom's prescriptions. The human being feels in itself a powerful counterweight to all commands of duty, commands which reason represents to the human being as so worthy of great respect. This counterweight is the needs and inclinations of the human being, and the whole satisfaction of its needs and inclinations is included under the name of happiness. Now reason's prescriptions are commanded without apology and without a promise of anything to the inclinations. Reason therefore commands, so to speak, dismissively and with no regard for those claims that are so impulsive and yet that appear so reasonable (and which can be willed away by no command). From this, however, a natural dialectic arises, that is, a tendency to rant about those strict laws of duty and to cast doubt on the validity — at least the purity and strictness — of those laws and, if possible, to make the laws more suitable to our wishes and inclinations. That is, a tendency arises that attempts to corrupt the laws at their foundations and to destroy their dignity. The result of this natural dialectic, then, is something that in the end even ordinary practical reason cannot call good.

Because of this destructive tendency of natural dialectic, ordinary human reason is driven to go out of its comfort zone and to take a step into the field of practical philosophy. Ordinary human reason is driven to this not by some intellectual need to theorize (a need which never afflicts it so long as it is satisfied with being merely sound reason), but instead it is driven to it for practical reasons. In the field of practical philosophy, ordinary reason hopes, regarding the source of its principle

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and its correct determination in comparison with the maxims which base themselves on needs and inclinations, to get information and clear instruction so that it escapes from the embarrassment of double-sided claims and does not run a risk, through the ambiguity in which it easily falls, of being deprived of all genuine moral ground propositions. Thus arises just as much in practical common reason, when it cultivates itself, unnoticed a dialectic, which compels it to search for help in philosophy, as happens to it in theoretical use, and the first will accordingly find rest, to be sure, just as little as the other anywhere else than in a complete critique of our reason.


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and the correct determination of its principle, in contrast with the maxims or principles that rest on need and inclination, to receive information and clear instruction. Having received these, ordinary reason can perhaps escape the embarrassment resulting from the flip-flopping claims of dialectic and perhaps not run the risk of losing all genuine moral principles in the ambiguity into which ordinary reason easily slips. So there arises unnoticed a dialectic which requires reason to seek help in philosophy. This dialectic arises just as much in practical ordinary reason, when it is cultivated, as it does in the theoretical use of reason. Both uses of reason will therefore only find peace in a complete critique of our reason.


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Second Section.

Transition
from popular moral philosophy
to the
metaphysics of morals.
[ Morality cannot be drawn from experience ]

If we have drawn our previous concept of duty from the common use of our practical reason, there is from that no way to conclude, as if we had treated it as a concept of experience. On the contrary, if we attend to the experience of the doing and letting of human beings, we encounter frequent and, as we ourselves admit, just complaints that, of the disposition to act from pure duty, one can adduce in this way not even one sure example, that, although much of that, which duty commands, may happen accordingly, nevertheless it is always still doubtful whether it actually happens from duty and hence has a moral worth. Hence in every epoch there have been philosophers who have absolutely denied the actuality of this disposition in human actions and have attributed everything to a more or less refined self-love, without yet on this account bringing the correctness of the concept of morality into doubt, rather mentioned with intimate regret the frailty and impurity of human nature, which to be sure is noble enough

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Second Section.

Transition
from popular moral philosophy
to the
metaphysics of morals.
[ Morality cannot be drawn from experience ]

Even if we have drawn our previous concept of duty from the ordinary use of our practical reason, this is no reason to conclude that we have treated the concept of duty as a concept of experience. Rather, when we pay attention to the experience of the way human beings act and fail to act, we encounter frequent and, as we ourselves admit, justified complaints that no one can provide a sure example of the disposition to act from pure duty. There are also justified complaints that even though much of what duty commands may be done according to duty, it is always still doubtful whether what is done really is done from duty and so has moral worth. Because of complaints like these, there have always been philosophers who have absolutely denied the reality of this disposition in human actions and who have attributed everything to a more or less refined self-love. These philosophers nevertheless do not call into question the correctness of the concept of morality. Rather, with heartfelt regret for the frailty and impurity of human nature, these philosophers make mention of a human nature which, though definitely noble enough

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to make itself an idea so worthy of respect into its prescription, but at the same time too weak so as to follow it, and uses reason, which was to serve it for lawgiving, only in order to provide for the interest of inclinations, whether it be singly or, at the most, in their greatest compatibility with one another.

In fact it is absolutely impossible to make out through experience with complete certainty a single case in which the maxim of an action otherwise in accordance with duty has rested solely on moral grounds and on the representation of one's duty. For it is indeed occasionally the case that we meet by the most acute self-examination nothing at all, except the moral ground of duty, which could have been mighty enough to move us to this or that good action and to such great sacrifice; from this, however, it cannot at all with certainty be concluded that actually the slightest secret impulse of self-love under the mere pretense of that idea was not the actual determining cause of the will, for on behalf of it we gladly flatter ourselves with a nobler motive falsely claimed for ourselves, in fact, however, even through the strictest examination, can never completely get behind the secret incentives, because, when the discussion is about moral worth, it does not not depend on the actions which one sees, but on those inner principles of them, which one does not see.

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to make an idea so worthy of respect into its prescription, is at the same time too weak to follow the prescription. So, instead of serving this human nature for lawgiving, reason only serves it in order to provide for the interest of inclinations, whether providing for the inclinations individually or at most for their greatest compatibility with each other.

In fact, it is absolutely impossible to find with certainty through experience a single case in which the maxim of an action that is otherwise in accord with duty has rested only on moral grounds and on the representation of a person's duty. For it is certainly sometimes the case that the most thorough self-examination does not turn up anything, except the moral ground of duty, that could have been strong enough to move us to do this or that good action and to move us to make such a great sacrifice. It cannot, however, be safely concluded from this unsuccessful self-examination that there really is no hidden impulse of self-love which, under the mere guise of that idea of duty, really was the determining cause of the will. Because of this self-love, masquerading as duty, we then gladly flatter ourselves with a nobler motive which we falsely claim for ourselves. But, in fact, we can never, even through the most strenuous examination, fully get behind the hidden incentives because, when the issue is about moral worth, what matters are not the actions that you see but rather the inner principles that you do not see.

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One can also for those, who laugh at all morality as a mere phantom of a human imagination stepping over itself through self-conceit, not do a more wished-for service than to admit to them that the concepts of duty (just as one gladly convinces oneself also out of convenience that it is the case also with all other concepts) had to be drawn only from experience; for then one prepares for them a guaranteed triumph. I am willing to admit from love of human beings that still most of our actions are in conformity with duty; if one looks, however, at their intentions and endeavors more closely, then one everywhere comes across the dear self, which always stands out, on which, and not on the strict command of duty, which would again and again demand self-denial, their purpose is based. One needs also not even to be an enemy of virtue, but only a cold-blooded observer who does not immediately take the liveliest wish for the good to be its actuality, in order (especially with increasing years and a power of judgment through experience partly grown shrewd and partly sharpened for observation) in certain moments to become doubtful, whether also actually in the world any true virtue is found. And here now nothing can protect us from the whole descent from our idea of duty and preserve grounded respect for its law in the soul, except the clear conviction that, even if there never have been actions,

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There are some people who ridicule all morality as a mere mental fantasy of a human imagination super-sized through its own boasting. You cannot do a greater service for such people than to admit to them that the concepts of duty (just as you gladly convince yourself from convenience that the same applies to all other concepts) must be drawn only from experience; for by this admission you prepare for these people a guaranteed triumph. I am willing to admit out of a love of humankind that most of our actions are in accord with duty. But if you look at people's intentions and endeavors more closely, you will bump into the dear self everywhere; it is on this dear self, which is always popping out, that their intentions are based, not on the strict command of duty. You do not need to be an enemy of virtue in order to become (especially with increasing years and a power of judgment that through experience has been made partly shrewder and partly more observant) doubtful at certain moments whether any true virtue is really to be found in the world. To become doubtful about the reality of true virtue, you only need to be a cold-blooded observer who does not immediately take the liveliest wish for the good to be the actualization of that good. And now here nothing can protect us from falling completely away from our ideas of duty and preserve in our soul a well-grounded respect for duty's laws except the clear conviction that, even if there never have been actions

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which have arisen from such pure sources, nevertheless here also the discussion is not at all about whether this or that occurs, but whether reason for itself and independently of all appearances commands what ought to occur, and therefore actions, of which the world perhaps has given up to now still no example at all, on whose feasibility even those who ground everything on experience want very much to doubt, nevertheless are by reason unyieldingly commanded, and that e.g. pure honesty in friendship can be no less required of every human being, although until now there might have been no honest friend at all, because this duty as duty in general lies before all experience in the idea of a reason determining the will through grounds a priori.

If one adds that, if one does not want to deny entirely to the concept of morality all truth and reference to some possible object, one cannot dispute that its law is of such widespread significance that it must hold not only for human beings, but for all rational beings in general, not merely under contingent conditions and with exceptions, but with absolute necessity; in this way it is clear that no experience can give occasion to infer so much as even the possibility of such apodictic laws. For with what right can we bring that,

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which arose from such pure sources, the question here is not whether this or that happens but rather whether reason by itself and independently of all appearances commands what ought to happen. Therefore, without letting up even a bit, reason still commands actions of which the world has perhaps never given an example and commands actions the feasibility of which might very much be doubted by someone who bases everything on experience. For example, pure honesty in friendship can no less be demanded of every human being, even if up to now there might never have been an honest friend, because this duty — as duty in general — lies before all experience in the idea of a reason that controls the will through a priori grounds.

Unless you want to deny entirely to the concept of morality all truth and reference to a possible object, you must allow that the law of morality is of such widespread significance that it must hold not just for human beings but for all rational beings in general, not just under contingent conditions and with exceptions, but with absolute necessity. Given this widespread significance and necessity, it is clear that no experience can provide the occasion to infer even the possibility of such absolutely necessary laws. For with what right can we

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which perhaps is valid only under the contingent conditions of humanity, as a universal prescription for every rational nature into unlimited respect, and how should laws of the determination of our will be held for laws of the determination of the will of a rational being in general and only as such also for those of ours, if they were merely empirical and took their origin not completely a priori from pure, but practical reason?

[ Morality cannot be borrowed from examples ]

One could also advise morality not more badly than if one wanted to borrow it from examples. For each example of it which is represented to me must itself previously be judged according to principles of morality, whether it is also worthy to serve as the original example, i.e. as the model, in no way, however, can it provide up to topmost the concept of it. Even the Holy One of the Gospel must first be compared with our ideal of moral perfection before one cognizes him as such; even he says of himself: why do you name me (whom you see) good, no one is good (the archetype of the good) but the one God (whom you do not see). From where however have we the concept of God as the highest good? Only from the idea, which reason sketches a priori of moral perfection and inseparably connects with the concept of a free will. Imitation has in the moral

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turn something that perhaps is only valid under the contingent conditions of humanity into a universal prescription valid for every rational nature? In addition, how should laws for the determination of our will be taken to be laws for the determination of the will of a rational being in general? And, only as laws for rational beings in general, how can they be taken to be laws for us? These questions could not be answered if moral laws were merely empirical and did not have their origin completely a priori in pure but practical reason.

[ Morality cannot be borrowed from examples ]

You also could not advise morality more badly than by wanting to derive it from examples. For each example of morality that is presented to me must itself first be judged according to principles of morality in order to see whether the example is worthy to serve as an original example, that is, as a model. In no way, however, can the example provide the concept of morality at the highest level. Even the Holy One of the Gospel must first be compared with our ideal of moral perfection before you can recognize Him as the Holy One. Even he says of himself: why do you call me (whom you see) good when no one is good (the archetype of the good) except the one God (whom you do not see)? Where, though, do we get the concept of God as the highest good? We get it only from the idea that reason sketches a priori of moral perfection and that reason inseparably connects with the concept of a free will. In moral matters, imitation has

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no place at all, and examples serve only for encouragement, i.e. they put the practicability of what the law commands beyond doubt, they make what the practical rule more generally expresses intuitive, can never, however, justify setting aside their true original that lies in reason and guiding oneself according to examples.

[ Popular moral philosophy is unreliable ]

If there is then no genuine highest ground proposition of morality which would not have to rest independently of all experience merely on pure reason, then I believe it is not necessary so much as even to ask whether it is good to present these concepts, just as they, together with the principles belonging to them, are established a priori, in general (in abstracto), provided that the cognition is to differ from the common and is to be called philosophical. But in our times this might well be necessary. For if one collected votes, whether pure rational cognition separated from everything empirical, therefore metaphysics of morals, or popular practical philosophy is preferred, then one soon guesses on which side the preponderance will fall.

This condescension to folk concepts is certainly very laudable, if the ascent to the principles of pure reason has first occurred and has been attained with complete satisfaction, and that would mean

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no place at all, and examples only serve as encouragement; that is, they put beyond doubt the practicability of the commands of the moral law. Examples make intuitive what the practical rule expresses more generally. But examples can never justify setting aside their true original which lies in reason and can never justify us in letting ourselves be guided by examples.

[ Popular moral philosophy is unreliable ]

If, then, there is no genuine highest basic principle of morality, which would not have to rest independently of all experience merely on pure reason, then I believe it would not even be necessary to ask whether it would be good to present these concepts in general (in the abstract). For these concepts, together with the principles that belong to them, are established a priori, so that presenting them in general is unnecessary provided that the knowledge of the concepts and principles is to differ from common knowledge and is to be called philosophical. But in our times this presentation might well be necessary. For if you were to take a vote as to whether pure rational knowledge apart from anything empirical — and therefore metaphysics of morals — or popular practical philosophy were preferred, you can easily guess on which side the preponderance of votes would fall.

This descent into folk concepts is certainly commendable if the ascent to the principles of pure reason has already taken place and has been attained with complete satisfaction. A successful ascent would mean

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grounding the doctrine of morals first on metaphysics, obtaining for it, however, when it is established, access afterwards through popularity. It is, however, extremely absurd to want already to accede to this in the first investigation on which all correctness of the ground propositions depends. Not only can this procedure never lay claim to the most rare merit of a true philosophical popularity, since it is no art at all to be commonly understandable if one by this relinquishes all fundamental insight; in this way it produces a loathsome mish-mash of patched-together observations and half-reasoned principles, which stale heads enjoy thoroughly, because it is after all something quite useful for the everyday tittle-tattle, where the insightful however feel confusion and, dissatisfied, yet without being able to help themselves, turn away their eyes, although philosophers, who quite well see through the deception, find little hearing when they for a short time call away from the supposed popularity in order to be allowed to be rightly popular only first of all after acquired determinate insight.

One needs only look at the attempts concerning morality in that taste thought proper; in this way, one will soon meet with the special determination of human nature (occasionally however also the idea of a rational nature in general), soon perfection, soon happiness,

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grounding the doctrine of morals first on metaphysics and later, when it is established, providing the doctrine with accessibility by popularizing it. But it is extremely silly already to want to give in to this crowd-pleasing popularizing in the first investigation on which all the correctness of the basic principles depends. Not only can this process of popularization never lay claim to the most rare merit of a true philosophical popularity since it is no art at all to be understandable by the ordinary person if you, in the process, give up all fundamental insight; the process of popularization produces a disgusting hodge-podge of mashed up observations and crack-pot principles which airheads thoroughly enjoy because it is after all something quite useful for everyday blathering. In contrast to the airheads, those people with insight feel confused and, dissatisfied, they look away, unable to help themselves. Meanwhile, philosophers see quite well through the deception, but few people pay attention when the philosophers call for a suspension of the pretended popularizing for a short time so that the philosophers may become rightly popular only after first acquiring definite insight.

You only need to look at the attempts to write about morality in that style that is thought proper. If you do, you will sometimes find the special configuration of human nature (but sometimes also the idea of a rational nature in general), now perfection, now happiness,

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here moral feeling, there fear of God, some of this, some also of that, in wonderful mixture, without its occurring to oneself to ask whether even anywhere in the knowledge of human nature (which we can still only get from experience) the principles of morality are to be sought, and, if this is not so, if the latter are to be found completely a priori, free from everything empirical, simply in pure concepts of reason and nowhere else not even in the least part, to form the plan rather to separate off completely this examination as pure practical philosophy, or (if one may use such a decried name) as metaphysics*) of morals, to bring it by itself alone to its full completeness and to put off the public, which demands popularity, until the close of this undertaking.

Such a completely isolated metaphysics of morals that is mixed with no anthropology, with

*) One can, if one wants, (just as pure mathematics is distinguished from the applied, pure logic from the applied, hence) distinguish the pure philosophy of morals (metaphysics) from the applied (namely to human nature). Through this naming one is also at once reminded that the moral principles must be grounded not on the peculiarities of human nature, but must be existing for themselves a priori, out of such, however, as for each rational nature, therefore also for the human, practical rules must be able to be derived.

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here moral feeling, there the fear of God, something of this, something of that, in a wondrous mixture. All the while, it never occurs to anyone to ask whether the principles of morality are even to be looked for anywhere in the knowledge of human nature (which we can still only get from experience). It also occurs to no one to ask whether, if the principles are not to be found in human nature — if, instead, the principles are to be found fully a priori, free from anything empirical, simply in pure rational concepts and nowhere else to even the slightest degree — it would be better to form a plan to separate off this investigation completely as pure practical philosophy or (if a name much decried may be used) as metaphysics* of morals. This separation would allow the investigation by itself alone to be brought to its full completeness and allow the public, which demands popularity, to be put off until the investigation is finished.

But a metaphysics of morals that is mixed with no anthropology, with no theology,

* You can, if you want, (just as pure mathematics is distinguished from applied mathematics, and pure logic is distinguished from applied logic, therefore) distinguish pure philosophy of morals (metaphysics) from applied (namely to human nature) philosophy of morals. By using this nomenclature, you are also reminded right away that moral principles must not be grounded on the peculiarities of human nature. Instead, moral principles must be a priori and independent. But, though not grounded on human nature, the moral principles must still be of such a kind that it remains possible to derive from them practical rules for every rational nature and therefore for human nature.

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no theology, with no physics or hyperphysics, still less with hidden qualities (which one could call hypophysical) is, however, not only an indispensable substrate of all theoretical, securely determined cognition of duties, but at the same time a desideratum of the highest importance for the actual fulfillment of their prescriptions. For the representation, pure and mixed with no foreign addition of empirical incentives, of duty and in general of moral law has on the human heart through the way of reason alone (that by this first becomes aware that it by itself can also be practical) a so much more powerful influence than all other incentives*) which one might summon from the empirical field that it in the consciousness of its dignity despises the latter and little by little can become their master; in place of that, a mixed doctrine of morals, which is put together from incentives of feelings and inclinations and at the same time from rational concepts,

*) I have a letter from the deceased excellent Sulzer, in which he asks me: what might yet be the cause why the teachings of virtue, howsoever much they have that is convincing to reason, yet accomplish so little. My answer was delayed through the preparation for it so as to give it whole. But it is not other than that the teachers themselves have not brought their concepts into purity, and since they want to make it too good, by this, that they everywhere rummage out motives for moral goodness in order to make the medicine right strong, they ruin it. For the commonest

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with no physics, or hyperphysics, still less with occult qualities (which you could call hypophysical), is not only an indispensable substrate for all securely established theoretical knowledge of duties, but it is at the same time a metaphysics desired because of its great importance for the actual fulfillment of moral prescriptions. For the representation of duty, pure and unmixed with any foreign additions of empirical stimuli, and in general the representation of the moral law, has an influence on the human heart so much more powerful than any other incentive* that you might summon up from the empirical field. The representation has this influence on the heart by way of reason alone (and it is in this way that reason first becomes aware that it can by itself also be practical). This influence is so strong that reason, conscious of its dignity, despises empirical incentives and little by little can become their master. In place of this pure metaphysics of morals, a mixed doctrine of morals, which is put together from incentives of feelings and inclinations and at the same time from rational concepts,

* I have a letter from the late excellent Sulzer. In this letter, he asks me what the cause might be that would explain why the teachings of virtue, however much they have that is convincing to reason, nevertheless accomplish so little. My answer was delayed by my preparations to make it complete. But the answer is nothing other than that the teachers of virtue themselves have not brought their concepts into purity and have, in wanting to make the medicine good and strong, looked around everywhere for motives for moral goodness, only to wind up spoiling the medicine. For the most ordinary

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must make the mind waver between motives which can be brought under no principle, which only very contingently can lead to the good, more often however also to the bad.

[ Review of methodological conclusions ]

From the foregoing it is evident: that all moral concepts have completely a priori in reason their seat and origin and this to be sure in the commonest human reason just as much as that in the highest degree speculative; that they can be abstracted from no empirical and hence merely contingent cognition; that in this purity of their origin precisely lies their dignity, so as to serve us as highest practical principles; that each time so much as one adds something empirical, so much also one subtracts from their genuine influence and the unlimited worth of actions; that it not only demands the greatest necessity in theoretical purpose, when it is merely a matter of speculation,

observation shows that, if one represents an action of integrity, how it, separated from all intention of some advantage in this or another world, even under the greatest temptations of need or of enticement, was done with steadfast soul, it leaves far behind itself and eclipses each similar action which even in the least was affected through a foreign incentive, raises the soul and arouses the wish also to be able to act in such a way. Even children of medium age feel this impression, and one should also never otherwise represent duties to them.

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must make the mind waver between motives that cannot be brought under any principle and that only coincidentally lead to the good and more often lead to the bad.

[ Review of methodological conclusions ]

The following is evident from what has been said: that all moral concepts have their seat and origin fully a priori in reason, and this is the case in the most ordinary human reason just as it is in the case of a reason that is intellectually curious to the highest degree; that moral concepts cannot be abstracted from any empirical cognition and therefore from any merely contingent cognition; that it is just in the purity of the origin of the moral concepts that their dignity to serve us as the highest practical principles lies; that, each time you add something empirical to the principles, you also subtract just as much from the genuine influence and unlimited worth of the actions done from those principles; that it is not only of the greatest necessity for theoretical purposes, when it is merely a matter of intellectual curiosity,

observation shows that, if you represent an action of integrity, showing how it, separated from any intention of any advantage in this or another world, was done with a steadfast soul even under the greatest temptation of need or of enticement and showing how it leaves far behind itself and eclipses every similar action that was affected in even the least way by a foreign incentive, then that representation of the action lifts the soul and arouses the wish to be able to act in such a way, too. Even fairly young children feel this uplifting impression, and you should never represent duties to them in any other way.

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but also is of the greatest practical importance to obtain its concepts and laws from pure reason, to expound pure and unmixed, yes to determine the extent of this whole practical or pure rational cognition, i.e. the whole faculty of pure practical reason, but in this not, as indeed speculative philosophy allows, yes even sometimes finds necessary, to make the principles dependent on the special nature of human reason, but precisely because moral laws are to hold for each rational being in general, to derive them already from the universal concept of a rational being in general and in such a way to expound all morals, which for its application to human beings requires anthropology, first independently of this as pure philosophy, i.e. as metaphysics, completely (which can well be done in this kind of quite separated cognitions), well aware that, without being in possession of this, it is futile, I do not want to say, to determine for the speculative judgment exactly the moral element of duty in everything that is in conformity with duty, but is, even in mere common and practical use, especially of moral instruction, impossible to ground morals on their genuine principles and by this to effect pure moral dispositions and to engraft minds for the highest good of the world.

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but it is also of the greatest practical importance to get practical reason's concepts and laws from pure reason, to present them pure and unmixed. Indeed, it is of the greatest practical importance to determine the extent of this whole practical or pure rational knowledge, that is, to determine the whole faculty of pure practical reason. In determining this, however, the principles are not to be made to depend on the special nature of human reason in the way that speculative philosophy does permit this dependence and sometimes even finds necessary. Instead, because moral laws are to be valid for every rational being in general, moral laws are to be derived from the universal concept of a rational being in general. By means of this derivation, all of morals, which requires anthropology for its application to human beings, is first presented completely independently of anthropology as pure philosophy, that is, presented first as metaphysics (which is quite possible in this kind of knowledge that is separated from anything empirical). Without possessing this presentation of pure philosophy, it would certainly be pointless to determine for judgments arising from intellectual curiosity what precisely the moral aspect of duty is in everything that conforms with duty. Not only would that determination be pointless, but without that metaphysical presentation it would be impossible to base morals on their genuine principles even for the merely ordinary and practical use of morals in, to give a particular example, moral instruction. As a result, without this derivation of all morals in a metaphysics of morals, it would be impossible to raise people to have pure moral dispositions and impossible to implant these dispositions in their minds for the highest good of the world.

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In order, however, to advance in this treatment not merely from common moral judgment (which here is very worthy of respect) to the philosophical, as has already happened, but from a popular philosophy, that reaches no farther than it can get through gropings by means of examples, up to metaphysics (which lets itself be further held back by nothing empirical and, since it must measure out the whole contents of rational cognition of this kind, goes in any case up to ideas, where even the examples desert us) by natural steps, we must follow and clearly present the practical faculty of reason from its universal rules of determination up to that place where the concept of duty springs up from it.

[ Reason and its influence on the will ]

Each thing in nature works according to laws. Only a rational being has the capacity to act according to the representation of laws, i.e. according to principles, or a will. Since for the derivation of actions from laws reason is required, the will is in this way nothing other than practical reason. If reason unfailingly determines the will, then the actions of such a being, which are cognized as objectively necessary, are also subjectively necessary, i.e. the will is a capacity to choose only that which reason independently of inclination

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By natural steps we have already progressed in this work from ordinary moral judgment (which is here very worthy of respect) to the philosophical. But additional natural steps are needed now in order to progress from a popular philosophy, which goes no further than it can get by groping about by means of examples, up to metaphysics (which does not let itself be held back further by anything empirical since it has to size up all the contents of rational knowledge of this kind, going in any case up to ideas, where even examples desert us). We must follow the practical rational faculty from its universal rules of determination up to the place where the concept of duty springs from that faculty and then we must clearly present that faculty.

[ Reason and its influence on the will ]

Each thing in nature works according to laws. Only a rational being has the capacity to act according to the representation of law, that is, according to principles, or has a will. Since reason is required for the derivation of actions from laws, the will is nothing other than practical reason. If reason unfailingly controls the will, then the actions of such a being that are recognized as objectively necessary are also subjectively necessary actions. That is to say, the will is a faculty to choose only what reason, independently of inclination,

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cognizes as practically necessary, i.e. as good. If, however, reason by itself alone does not determine the will sufficiently, if this is in addition subject to subjective conditions (certain incentives) which do not always agree with the objective; in a word, if the will is not in itself completely in conformity with reason (as it actually is in the case of human beings); then the actions, which are cognized objectively as necessary, are subjectively contingent, and the determination of such a will according to objective laws is necessitation; i.e. the relation of objective laws to a not thoroughly good will is represented as the determination of the will of a rational being by grounds, to be sure, of reason to which, however, this will according to its nature is not necessarily obedient.

[ Classification of Imperatives ]

The representation of an objective principle, insofar as it is necessitating for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called imperative.

All imperatives are expressed through an ought and indicate by this the relation of an objective law of reason to a will which according to its subjective constitution is not necessarily determined (a necessitation) by it. They say that to do or to omit something would be good, but

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recognizes as practically necessary, that is, recognizes as good. But if reason by itself alone does not have sufficient control over the will, if the will is still a slave to subjective conditions (such as certain incentives) that do not always agree with the objective conditions, if, in short, the will in itself is not fully in conformity with reason (as is actually the case with human beings), then the actions that are objectively recognized as necessary are subjectively contingent. The determination or directing of such a will according to objective laws is necessitation; that is, the relation of objective laws to a will that is not thoroughly good is represented as the steering of the will of a rational being that listens to reason but that, according to the nature of its will, does not necessarily follow what it hears.

[ Classification of Imperatives ]

The representation of an objective principle, insofar as it is necessitating for a will, is called a command (of reason), and the formula of the command is called an imperative.

All imperatives are expressed through an ought. Through this ought, imperatives show the relation of an objective law of reason to a will that, according to its subjective makeup, is not necessarily determined or directed by the ought (a necessitation). These imperatives say that it would be good to do or not do something, but

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they say it to a will which does not always do something just because it is represented to it that it is good to do. Practical good is, however, what by means of the representations of reason, therefore not from subjective causes, but objective, i.e. from grounds that are valid for every rational being as such, determines the will. It is distinguished from the agreeable as that which only by means of feeling from mere subjective causes that only hold for the sense of this or that one, and not as a principle of reason that holds for everyone, has influence on the will*).

*) The dependence of the faculty of desire on sensations is called inclination, and this thus indicates every time a need. The dependence of a contingently determinable will, however, on principles of reason is called an interest. This occurs, therefore, only with a dependent will, which is not of itself every time in accordance with reason; in the case of the divine will, one can think of no interest. But even the human will can take an interest in something, without on that account acting from interest. The first means the practical interest in the action, the second the pathological interest in the object of the action. The first announces only dependence of the will on principles of reason in themselves, the second on its principles for the benefit of inclination, where, that is to say, reason only assigns the practical rule, how the need of inclination might be helped. In the first case the action interests me, in the second the object of the action (so far as it is agreeable to me). We have in the first section seen: that in the case of an action from duty interest must be seen not in the object, but merely in the action itself and its principle in reason (the law).

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they say it to a will that does not always do something just because it has been told that it is a good thing to do. Practical good, however, guides the will by means of representations of reason and therefore does not guide it by subjective causes but rather by objective causes, that is, by reasons that are valid for every rational being as such. Practical good is distinguished from the pleasant. They are different in that the pleasant exercises influence on the will only by means of sensation from mere subjective causes that hold only for the senses of this or that person, and the pleasant does not exercise influence on the will as a principle of reason that holds for everyone.*

* The dependence of the faculty of desire on sensations is called inclination, and so this always indicates a need. The dependence of the will, however, on principles of reason is called an interest. This, therefore, only occurs in the case of a dependent will that of itself is not always in conformity with reason; in the case of a divine will, you cannot think of an interest. But even the human will can take an interest in something without acting from interest. The first, taking an interest, signifies a practical interest in the action. The second, acting from interest, signifies a pathological interest in the object of the action. The first shows only dependence of the will on principles of reason in themselves. The second shows a dependence of the will on principles of reason that benefit inclination; in this second case, reason only furnishes a practical rule that shows how the needs of inclination might be satisfied. In the first case, the action interests me. In the second case, the object of the action interests me (insofar as I find that object pleasant). In the first section we saw the following: that, in the case of an action from duty, none of our attention must be given to the interest in the object of the action; instead, all our attention must be focused on interest in the action itself and on the action's principle in our reason (on the law).

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A perfectly good will would thus stand just as much under objective laws (of the good), but not be able to be represented by this as necessitated to actions conforming to law, because it of itself, according to its subjective constitution, can be determined only through the representation of the good. Therefore, for the divine and generally for a holy will, no imperatives hold; the ought is here out of place because the willing is already of itself necessarily unanimous with the law. Therefore, imperatives are only formulas to express the relation of objective laws of willing in general to the subjective imperfection of the will of this or that rational being, e.g. of the human will.

[ The hypothetical imperative ]

Now, all imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. The former represent the practical necessity of a possible action as a means to attain something else that one wills (or yet is possible that one wills it). The categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as for itself, without reference to another end, as objectively necessary.

Because each practical law represents a possible action as good and on that account as necessary for a subject practically determinable through reason, in this way

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So a completely good will would stand just as much under objective laws (of the good). But such a will would not, by standing under objective laws, be able to be represented as necessitated to actions that are in conformity with law. Such a will could not be represented as necessitated because such a will of itself, according to its subjective makeup, can only be controlled by the intellectual representation of the good. No imperatives, therefore, hold for the divine will and in general for a holy will; the ought is here out of place because the willing is already of itself in necessary agreement with the law. Imperatives are, therefore, only formulas that express the relation of objective laws of willing in general to the subjective imperfection of the will of this or that rational being, for example to the subjective imperfection of the human will.

[ The hypothetical imperative ]

Now, all imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. The former, hypothetical imperatives, represent the practical necessity of a possible action as a means to get something else that you want (or that you might possibly want). The categorical imperative would be the imperative which represented an action as objectively necessary in itself, without reference to any other end.

Because each practical law represents a possible action as good and therefore, for a subject practically directed by reason, as necessary,

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all imperatives are formulas of the determination of action which is necessary according to the principle of a will good in some way. Now, if the action would be good merely as a means to something else, then the imperative is hypothetical; if it is represented as in itself good, therefore as necessary in a will in itself in conformity with reason, as its principle, then it is categorical.

The imperative thus says which action possible through me would be good, and represents the practical rule in relation to a will which for that reason does not immediately do an action because it is good, partly because the subject does not always know that it is good, partly because, even if it knew this, its maxims could still be opposed to the objective principles of a practical reason.

The hypothetical imperative thus says only that the action is good for some possible or actual purpose. In the first case, it is a problematic, in the second assertoric-practical principle. The categorical imperative, which declares the action for itself without reference to any purpose, i.e. even without any other end, as objectively necessary, holds as an apodictic (practical) principle.

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all imperatives are formulas for the specification of an action that is necessary according to the principle of a will that is good in some way. If now the action would be good merely as a means to something else, then the imperative is hypothetical. If the action is thought of as good in itself, and therefore as necessary in a will that is itself in conformity with reason, reason serving as the will's principle, then the imperative is categorical.

So the imperative says which action that is possible through me would be good. The imperative represents the practical rule in relation to a will that does not immediately do an action because the action is good. The will does not do it partly because the subject does not always know that the action would be good and partly because, even if the subject did know the action would be good, the subject's maxims could still be at odds with the objective principles of a practical reason.

So the hypothetical imperative only says that an action would be good for some possible or actual purpose. In the first case, about a possible purpose, the hypothetical imperative is a problematically practical principle. In the second case, about an actual purpose, the hypothetical imperative is an assertorically practical principle. The categorical imperative, which declares the action to be objectively necessary in itself without reference to any purpose, that is, even without any other end, holds as an absolutely necessary (practical) principle.

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One can conceive what is possible only through powers of some rational being also as a possible purpose for some will, and therefore the principles of action are, so far as this is represented as necessary in order to attain some possible purpose to be effected by it, in fact infinitely many. All sciences have some practical part which consists of problems that some end is possible for us, and of imperatives how it can be attained. These can therefore in general be called imperatives of skill. Whether the end is rational and good is here not at all the question, but only what one must do in order to attain it. The prescriptions for the doctor in order to make his man in a thorough-going way healthy, and for a poisoner certainly to kill him, are of equal worth, insofar as each one serves to effect perfectly its purpose. Because one in early youth does not know which ends may meet with us in life, parents seek above all to let their children learn right many things and provide for the skill in the use of means to all kinds of arbitrary ends, not one of which can they determine whether it perhaps actually in the future can become a purpose of their pupil, concerning which it nevertheless is still possible that it might once have it, and this care is so great that they on that point commonly neglect to form and to correct their judgment over the worth

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Something that is only possible through the powers of some rational being is something you can also think of as a possible purpose of some will. Therefore, there are in fact infinitely many principles of action, provided that the action is thought of as necessary in order to accomplish a possible purpose that the action works to bring about. All sciences have some practical part that consists of problems claiming that some end or goal is possible for us and that consists of imperatives specifying how that end or goal can be reached. These imperatives, therefore, can in general be called imperatives of skill. The question here is not at all about whether the end is rational and good, but instead about what you must do in order to reach the end. The prescriptions that the doctor uses in order to make her patient one hundred percent again are of equal worth with the prescriptions that a poisoner uses to bump off her victim insofar as each set of prescriptions serves perfectly to accomplish its purpose. Because you do not know when you are young what ends you may stumble across later in life, parents seek above all to have their children learn lots and lots of things and provide for skill in the use of means to all kinds of arbitrary ends. The parents cannot identify any of these optional ends as an end that in the future will become an actual goal of their child, but they are all still ends that it is possible that their child might one day have. The parents' concern is so great that they typically neglect to shape and to correct their children's judgments about the worth

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of the things which they themselves would perhaps like to make into ends.

There is nevertheless one end which one can presuppose in the case of all rational beings (as far as imperatives apply to them, namely as dependent beings) as actual, and thus one purpose which they not at all merely can have, but of which one can surely presuppose that they such one and all do have according to a natural necessity, and that is the purpose toward happiness. The hypothetical imperative, which represents the practical necessity of action as a means to the promotion of happiness, is assertoric. One may propose it not merely as necessary to an uncertain, merely possible purpose, but to a purpose which one safely and a priori can presuppose in the case of every human being because it belongs to its essence. Now, one can name the skill in the choice of means to one's own greatest well-being prudence*) in the narrowest sense. Therefore,

*) The word prudence is taken in a twofold sense, one time it can bear the name world prudence, in the second that of private prudence. The first is the skill of a human being to have influence on others, in order to use them for its purposes. The second is the insight to unite all these purposes for its own lasting advantage. The latter is properly the one to which even the worth of the first is traced back, and who is prudent in the first way, not however in the second, of him one could better say: he is clever and cunning, on the whole however still imprudent.

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of things that the children would perhaps like to make into ends.

There is, nevertheless, one end that you can presuppose as actual in the case of all rational beings (so far as imperatives apply to them, namely, as dependent beings). So there is a purpose that all rational beings not only merely can have but also a purpose which you can safely presuppose that all rational beings do have according to a natural necessity, and this is the purpose that all rational beings have with regard to pursuing happiness. The hypothetical imperative, which represents the practical necessity of action as a means to the advancement of happiness, is assertoric. You must not present this kind of imperative merely as necessary for an uncertain, merely possible purpose, but you must present the imperative as necessary for a purpose which you can safely and a priori presuppose in the case of every human being; and you can safely so presuppose this because the purpose belongs to the nature of any human being. Now, you can call skill in the choice of means to your own greatest well-being prudence* in the narrowest sense of the word. Therefore,

* The word "prudence" has two senses. In one sense, it goes by the name "worldly prudence." In the second sense, the word bears the name "private prudence." The first sense, worldly prudence, is the skill of a human being to have influence on others in order to use them for the human being's own purposes. The second sense, private prudence, is the insight to unite all these purposes for the human being's own lasting advantage. The latter, private prudence, is properly the one to which even the worth of the former, worldly prudence, is traced back. Whoever is prudent in the first worldly sense but not in the second private sense is someone of whom you could more appropriately say: she is clever and cunning, but, on the whole, still not prudent.

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the imperative which refers to the choice of means to one's own happiness, i.e. the prescription of prudence, is still always hypothetical; the action is commanded not absolutely, but only as a means to another purpose.

[ The categorical imperative ]

Finally, there is an imperative, which, without laying for the ground some other purpose, attainable through a certain conduct,as a condition, commands this conduct immediately. This imperative is categorical. It concerns not the matter of the action and that which is to result from it, but the form and the principle from which it itself follows, and the essential-good of it consists in the disposition, may the result be what it will. This imperative may be called that of morality.

The willing according to these three kinds of principles is also clearly distinguished by the dissimilarity of necessitation of the will. In order now to make this also noticeable, I believe that one would most suitably so name them in their order if one said: they were either rules of skill, or counsels of prudence, or commands (laws) of morality. For only the law carries about itself the concept of an unconditional and to be sure objective and therefore universally valid necessity, and commands are laws,

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the imperative which refers to the choice of means to your own happiness, that is, the prescription of prudence, is always hypothetical; the action is commanded not absolutely but only as a means to some other purpose.

[ The categorical imperative ]

Finally, there is an imperative which immediately commands certain conduct and which does not lay down as a condition for the imperative's basis some other purpose that is to be achieved by that conduct. This imperative is categorical. This imperative does not deal with the matter of action and the consequences of action. Instead, this imperative deals with the form and the principle from which the action follows, and the action's essential good consists in the disposition, whatever the consequences turn out to be. This imperative may be called the imperative of morality.

Willing according to these three kinds of principles is also clearly distinguished by the dissimilarity of the necessitation in the will. In order to make this stand out now, too, I think that you would classify these three kinds of principles most appropriately in their order if you said it in this way: the principles are either rules of skill, or counsels of prudence, or commands (laws) of morality. For only the law carries with it the concept of an unconditional necessity that is definitely objective and therefore universally valid. Furthermore, commands are laws

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which must be obeyed, i.e. obeyed even against inclination. The counseling contains to be sure necessity, which, however, can hold merely under a subjective contingent condition, whether this or that human being counts this or that in its happiness; on the other hand, the categorical imperative is limited by no condition and as absolutely, although practically, necessary can quite properly be called a command. One could name the first imperatives also technical (belonging to art), the second pragmatic*) (to well-being), the third moral (to free conduct in general, i.e. belonging to morals).

[ How hypothetical imperatives are possible ]

Now the question arises: how are all these imperatives possible? This question demands not to know how the performance of the action which the imperative commands, but merely how the necessitation of the will, which the imperative expresses in the problem, can be thought. How an imperative of skill is possible really requires no special discussion. Who wills the end, wills (so far as reason has

*) It appears to me, the proper meaning of the word pragmatic can in this way be determined most exactly. For sanctions are named pragmatic, which flow properly not from the right of states, as necessary laws, but from the provision for the general welfare. A history is composed pragmatically when it makes us prudent, i.e. teaches the world how it can take care of its advantage better than, or at least just as good as, the former ages.

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that must be obeyed, that is, must be obeyed even against inclination. Advice certainly contains necessity, but this necessity can hold only under a merely subjective contingent condition. This condition is whether this or that human being counts this or that as belonging to her happiness. In contrast, the categorical imperative is limited by no condition and, as absolutely necessary even though also practically necessary, can quite properly be called a command. You could also call the first kind of imperative technical (belonging to art), the second pragmatic* (belonging to well-being), the third moral (belonging to free conduct in general, that is, to morals).

[ How hypothetical imperatives are possible ]

The question now arises: how are all these imperatives possible? This question does not demand to know how we are to understand the performance of an action that the imperative commands. Instead, the question just demands to know how we are to understand the necessitation of the will, which the imperative expresses when it tells us what to do. How an imperative of skill is possible really requires no special discussion. Whoever wills the end, wills (to the extent that reason has

* It seems to me that the proper meaning of the word "pragmatic" can be defined most precisely in this way. For those sanctions are called pragmatic which flow, not out of the right of states as necessary laws, but which flow out of the provision for the general welfare. A history is pragmatic when it makes us prudent, that is, when it teaches the world how it can take better — or at least just as good — care of its advantage than the world did in previous eras.

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decisive influence on his actions) also the indispensably necessary means to it that are in his power. This proposition is, as concerns the willing, analytic; for in the willing of an object as my effect is already thought my causality as acting cause, i.e. the use of means, and the imperative extracts the concept of actions necessary to this end already from the concept of a willing of this end (to determine the means themselves to a proposed purpose, to this belong to be sure synthetic propositions, which, however, do not concern the ground, the Actus of the will, but to make the object actual). That, in order to divide a line according to a sure principle into two equal parts, I must make from its endpoints two intersecting arcs, mathematics teaches of course only through synthetic propositions; but that, if I know, through such action alone the intended effect can occur, I, if I fully will the effect, will also the action that is required for it, is an analytic proposition; for to represent something as an effect possible in a certain way through me and to represent myself, in view of it, acting in the same way, is one and the same.

The imperatives of prudence would, if only it were as easy to give a determinate concept of happiness, with those of skill wholly

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decisive influence over her actions) also the indispensable means that are necessary to achieve the end and that are in her power to do. This proposition is, as concerns willing, analytic; for, in the willing of an object as my effect, my causality as an acting cause, that is, the use of means, is already thought, and the imperative already extracts the concept of actions necessary to achieve this end from a willing of this end. (To be sure, synthetic propositions are needed in order to figure out the means to achieve an intended purpose, but these synthetic propositions have to do with making the object of the action actual and not with grounding the act of will.) Mathematics, of course, teaches only through synthetic propositions that, in order to divide a line in accordance with a reliable principle into two equal parts, I must make two intersecting arcs from the endpoints of the line. But if I know that an intended effect can only occur by such an action, then the following proposition is analytic: if I fully will the effect, then I also will the action that is required to achieve the effect. This proposition is analytic because thinking of something as an effect that is possible for me to bring about in a certain way is exactly the same as thinking of myself as acting in the same bringing-about way with respect to that same something.

The imperatives of prudence would, if it were only as easy to give a well-defined concept of happiness,

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and entirely agree and be just as well analytic. For it would just as well here as there be said: who wills the end, wills also (necessarily in conformity with reason) the sole means to it that are in his power. But it is a misfortune that the concept of happiness is such an indeterminate concept that, although each human being wishes to attain this, it can still never say determinately and consistently with itself, what it genuinely wishes and wills. The cause of this is: that all elements that belong to the concept of happiness are one and all empirical, i.e. must be borrowed from experience, that nevertheless for the idea of happiness an absolute whole, a maximum of well-being, in my present and every future condition is required. Now, it is impossible that the most insightful and at the same time most capable but still finite being makes for itself a determinate concept of what it here actually wills. If it wills riches, how much worry, envy and intrigue could it not in so doing bring down on its head. If it wills much cognition and insight, perhaps that could become only an eye all the more sharper in order only to show it the evil, that is for it now still hidden and yet cannot be avoided, all the more dreadfully, or to burden its eager desires, which already occupy it enough, with still more needs. If it wills a long life, who guarantees to it,

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agree completely with the imperatives of skill, and the imperatives of prudence would likewise be analytic. For the following could be said about imperatives of prudence just as well as it is said about imperatives of skill: who wills the end also wills (necessarily in accordance with reason) the sole means to the end that are in her power to do. But it is unfortunate that the concept of happiness is such an ill-defined concept that, although each human being wishes to achieve happiness, she can still never say in a definite and self-consistent way what she really wishes and wants. The cause of this wishy-washiness is this: that all the elements that belong to the concept of happiness are one and all empirical, that is, all the elements must be borrowed from experience; that, despite the empirical basis of the concept of happiness, the idea of happiness requires an absolute whole, a maximum of well-being, in my present and every future condition. Now, it is impossible that the most insightful and at the same time most capable, but still finite being, could make for itself a well-defined concept of what she here really wants. If she wants riches, how much worry, envy and intrigue might she bring down on her own head? If she wants lots of knowledge and insight, they might just make her eyes sharper so that she can see all the more dreadfully the evil that currently is hidden from her but that she cannot avoid; or they might just burden her eager desires, which already trouble her enough, with even more needs. If she wants a long life, then who can guarantee her

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that it would not be a long misery? If it wills at least health, how often still has discomfort of the body kept from excess into which unlimited health would have let fall, and so on. In short, it is not capable of determining according to some ground proposition with complete certainty what will make it truly happy because for that omniscience would be required. One can thus not act according to determinate principles in order to be happy but only according to empirical counsels, e.g. of diet, of thrift, of courtesy, of reserve and so on, of which experience teaches, that they on the average most promote the well-being. From this it follows that the imperatives of prudence, to speak exactly, cannot command at all, i.e. present actions objectively as practical-necessary, that they are to be held as counsels (consilia) rather than as commands (praecepta) of reason, that the problem: to determine surely and universally which action will promote the happiness of a rational being is completely insoluble, and therefore no imperative in view of it is possible which in the strict sense would command doing what makes us happy, because happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination, which merely rests on empirical grounds from which one futilely expects that they should determine an action by which the totality of an

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that it will not be a long misery? If she at least wants health, how often has discomfort of the body kept her from excess into which unlimited health would have let her fall, and so on? In short, she is not able to figure out with complete certainty according to any basic principle what will make her truly happy, for figuring this out would require omniscience. So you cannot act according to well-defined principles so as to be happy. You can only act according to empirical counsels, for example, counsels to diet, to be thrifty, to be courteous, to be reserved and so on. Experience teaches us that these counsels on the average do most to promote our well-being. From these considerations about happiness, the following can be concluded: that the imperatives of prudence, strictly speaking, do not command at all, that is, the imperatives of prudence cannot present actions objectively as practically necessary; that the imperatives of prudence are to be held to be counsels (consilia) rather than to be commands (praecepta) of reason; that the problem of determining reliably and universally which action will promote the happiness of a rational being is completely insoluble; that, therefore, no imperative with a view to happiness is possible which in the strict sense would command you to do what will make you happy, and such an imperative is not possible because happiness is not an ideal of reason but instead an ideal of imagination. This imagination rests merely on empirical grounds, and it is pointless for you to expect that these empirical grounds should specify an action by which a totality of an

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in fact infinite series of consequences would be attained. This imperative of prudence would nevertheless be, if one assumes the means to happiness could be certainly assigned, an analytic-practical proposition; for it is distinguished from the imperative of skill only in this, that with the latter the end is merely possible, with the former, however, given; since both, however, merely command the means to that, of which one presumes that one willed it as an end: in this way the imperative, which commands the willing of the means for him who wills the end, is in both cases analytic. Thus there is, in view of the possibility of such an imperative, also no difficulty.

[ How categorical imperatives are possible ]

On the other hand, how the imperative of morality is possible is without doubt the only question in need of a solution, since it is not at all hypothetical and therefore the objective-represented necessity can be based on no presupposition, as with the hypothetical imperatives. Only it is always in this not to be let out of account, that it is through no example, therefore empirically, to be made out whether there is at all any imperative of such kind, but to be apprehensive that all that appear categorical might yet be in a hidden way hypothetical. E.g. when it is bid: you ought promise nothing fraudulently; and one assumes that the necessity of this omission is not at all merely giving counsel for

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in fact infinite series of consequences would be attained. This imperative of prudence would, nevertheless, if you assume that the means to happiness could be accurately specified, be an analytic practical proposition. For the imperative of prudence is distinguished from the imperative of skill only in this: in the case of the latter, the imperative of skill, the end is merely possible, while in the case of the former, the imperative of prudence, the end is given as actual. But, since both kinds of imperative merely command the means to something that you assume someone wants as an end, the imperative, which commands the willing of the means for someone who wants the end, is in both cases analytic. So there is also no difficulty with regard to the possibility of such an imperative of prudence.

[ How categorical imperatives are possible ]

On the other hand, the question of how the imperative of morality is possible is without doubt the only question in need of a solution. For the imperative of morality is not hypothetical at all and so the objectively represented necessity can be based on no presupposition, as in the case of the hypothetical imperatives. But when thinking about the imperative of morality it should always be kept in mind that whether there is any such imperative of morality is a claim that can be established by no example and that therefore cannot be established empirically. Instead of looking to examples, it should also always be kept in mind that care must be taken with anything that appears categorical because it might yet be hypothetical in a hidden way. For example, when it is said that you should not make deceitful promises, and you assume that the necessity of complying with this is definitely not merely advice to avoid

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avoidance of some other evil, so that it nearly bids: you ought not promise falsely, so that you do not, if it comes to light, destroy your credit; but an action of this kind must for itself be considered as bad, the imperative of prohibition is thus categorical: in this way one can still in no example prove with certainty that the will is determined here without another incentive, merely through the law, although it appears so; for it is always possible that secretly fear of disgrace, perhaps also obscure apprehension of other dangers, might have influence on the will. Who can prove the nonexistence of a cause through experience, since this teaches nothing further than that we do not perceive the former? In such a case, however, the so-called moral imperative, which as such appears categorical and unconditional, would in fact only be a pragmatic prescription which makes us attentive to our advantage and merely teaches us to take care of this.

We will thus have to investigate the possibility of a categorical imperative completely a priori, since here the advantage does not come in useful for us that its actuality is given in experience and therefore that the possibility would be necessary not for the establishment, but merely for the explanation. So much is nevertheless provisionally to be seen: that the categorical imperative alone

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some other evil, what is said might in a hidden way be saying that you should not make lying promises so that you do not, when your deceitful behavior becomes public knowledge, ruin your reputation. An action of this kind, which appears to be based on a categorical imperative but might actually be based on a hypothetical imperative in hiding, must be considered to be bad in itself, and so the imperative prohibiting the action is categorical. So in no example can you prove with certainty that the will is controlled only by the law and not by any other incentive, even though it might appear as if only the law is controlling the will; for it is always possible that fear of embarrassment, perhaps also vague worries about other dangers, might secretly have an influence on the will. Who can prove through experience the nonexistence of a cause since experience teaches nothing further than that we do not perceive the cause? If there were such secret influences on the will, the so-called moral imperative, which, as moral, appears categorical and unconditional, would in fact only be a pragmatic prescription that makes us attentive to our advantage and merely teaches us to take care of this advantage.

So we will have to investigate the possibility of a categorical imperative completely a priori since we do not here have the advantage that the actuality of the categorical imperative is given in experience. If we had that advantage, we would need the possibility of the categorical imperative not to establish it but merely to explain it. Though we lack that advantage, this much is provisionally evident: that the categorical imperative alone

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reads as a practical law; the remaining can one and all undoubtedly be called principles of the will, but not laws: because what is necessary to do merely for the attainment of an arbitrary purpose can in itself be considered as contingent, and we can be released from the prescription any time if we give up the purpose; on the contrary, the unconditional command leaves to the will no discretion in view of the opposite, therefore alone carries with it that necessity which we demand of the law.

Secondly, with this categorical imperative or law of morality, the ground of the difficulty (to look into its possibility) is also very great. It is a synthetic-practical proposition*) a priori, and since to look into the possibility of propositions of this kind has so much difficulty in theoretical cognition, it can be readily gathered that in the practical it will not have less.

*) I connect with the will, without a presupposed condition from any inclination, the deed a priori, therefore necessarily (although only objectively, i.e. under the idea of a reason that had complete power over all subjective motives). This is therefore a practical proposition which analytically derives the willing of an action not from another, already presupposed (for we have no such perfect will), but connects with the concept of the will as of a rational being immediately, as something that is not contained in it.

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reads as a practical law; all other imperatives can indeed be called principles of the will, but they cannot be called laws. The categorical imperative alone is a practical law, while all other imperatives are only principles of the will, because whatever is necessary to do in order merely to attain an arbitrary end is something that can itself be considered as contingent, and we can be free of the prescription if we give up the purpose; on the other hand, the unconditional command leaves the will no wiggle room with regard to the opposite, and therefore the unconditional command alone carries with it the necessity which we demand of the law.

Secondly, in the case of this categorical imperative or law of morality, the reason for the difficulty (of looking into the possibility of such an imperative or law) is also very great. A categorical imperative is a synthetic practical proposition* a priori, and, since to look into the possibility of propositions of this kind is so difficult in theoretical knowledge, it is easy to see that it will be no less difficult to look into the possibility of synthetic propositions a priori in practical knowledge.

* Without presupposing a condition from any inclination, I connect a priori a deed with the will. Because the connection is a priori, the connection is also necessary (although only objectively necessary, that is, the connection would hold up only under the idea of a reason that had full control over all subjective motives). So this is a practical proposition which does not derive the willing of an action analytically from another already presupposed willing of an action (for we have no such perfect will). Instead, the practical proposition immediately connects the willing of an action with the concept of the will of a rational being, the willing of the action being something that is not contained in the concept of the will of the rational being.

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[ The formula of universal law ]

With this problem we want first inquire whether not perhaps the mere concept of a categorical imperative also supplies its formula which contains the proposition which alone can be a categorical imperative; for how such an absolute command is possible, even when we also know how it reads, will still demand special and difficult effort, which we, however, postpone to the last section.

If I conceive a hypothetical imperative in general, then I do not know in advance what it will contain: until the condition is given to me. If I conceive, however, a categorical imperative, then I know at once what it contains. For since the imperative contains besides the law only the necessity of the maxim*) to be in conformity with this law, the law, however, contains no condition to which it was limited, in this way nothing but the universality of a law in general remains over to which the maxim of the action is to be in conformance,

*) A maxim is the subjective principle of acting and must be distinguished from the objective principle, namely the practical law. The former contains the practical rule which reason in conformity with the conditions of the subject (often its ignorance or also its inclinations) determines, and is thus the ground proposition according to which the subject acts; the law, however, is the objective principle valid for every rational being and the ground proposition according to which it ought to act, i.e. an imperative.

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[ The formula of universal law ]

In tackling this problem of the possibility of a categorical imperative, we want first to see whether the mere concept of a categorical imperative might also provide the formula of a categorical imperative, the formula containing the proposition which alone can be a categorical imperative; for how such an absolute command is possible, even if we also know how the command reads, will still require special and difficult effort, which we, however, put off until the last section.

If I think of a hypothetical imperative in general, then I do not know in advance what the imperative will contain until the imperative's condition is given. If, however, I think of a categorical imperative, then I know at once what the imperative contains. For, since the imperative contains, besides the law, only the necessity of the maxim* to be in conformity with this law, and the law contains no condition to which was limited, nothing remains except the universality of law in general to which the maxim of the action is to conform,

* A maxim is the subjective principle of acting and must be distinguished from the objective principle, namely from the practical law. The former, a maxim or subjective principle, contains the practical rule which reason specifies in accordance with the conditions of the subject (often the subject's ignorance or also the subject's inclinations). So a maxim is the basic principle according to which the subject acts. The law, however, is the objective principle; it is valid for every rational being and is the basic principle according to which every rational being ought to act. That is, the objective principle, the practical law, is an imperative.

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and which conformity alone the imperative properly represents as necessary.

The categorical imperative is thus only a single and indeed this: act only according to that maxim, through which you at the same time can will, that it becomes a universal law.

If now from this single imperative all imperatives of duty can be derived as from their principle, then we will, even though we leave it undecided whether in general what one calls duty is not an empty concept, still at least be able to announce what we think by this and what this concept wants to say.

[ The formula of universal law of nature ]

Because the universality of the law, according to which effects occur, constitutes what properly is called nature in the most general sense (according to the form), i.e. the existence of things, as far as it is determined according to universal laws, in this way the universal imperative of duty could also read thus: act in this way, as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature.

[ Four examples ]

Now we want to enumerate some duties according to the usual division of them into duties to

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and it is this conformance alone which the imperative properly represents as necessary.

So there is only one categorical imperative and it is just this: act only according to that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.

Now, if all imperatives of duty can be derived, as from their principle, from this one imperative, then, even though we leave it unsettled whether or not in general what we call duty is an baseless concept, we will still at least be able to indicate what we think by the concept of duty and what this concept means.

[ The formula of universal law of nature ]

Because the universality of the law according to which effects occur constitutes what is properly called nature in the most general sense (according to nature's form), that is, the existence of things so far as the existence is determined according to universal laws, the universal imperative of duty could also be expressed like this: so act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature.

[ Four examples ]

Now we will list some duties according to the usual division of duties into duties

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ourselves and to other human beings, into perfect and imperfect duties.*)

1) One, who, through a series of misfortunes that has grown up to hopelessness, feels a boredom with life, is still so far in possession of his reason that he can ask himself whether it is also not at all contrary to the duty to himself to take his life. Now he tests: whether the maxim of his action can indeed become a universal law of nature. His maxim, however, is: from self-love I make it my principle, when life by its longer duration threatens more misfortune than it promises pleasantness, to shorten it. There is only still the question whether this principle of self-love can become a universal law of nature. Then one, however, soon sees that a nature, whose law it were, through the same feeling the function of which it is

*) One must here note well that I wholly reserve to myself the division of duties for a future metaphysics of morals, this here thus stands forth only as arbitrary (so as to order my examples). Moreover, I understand here under a perfect duty that one which permits no exception to the advantage of inclination, and there I have not merely outer, but also inner perfect duties, which runs counter to the word-use accepted in the schools; I, however, am here not minded to answer for, because it is all the same to my purpose whether one concedes it to me or not.

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to oneself and to other human beings, and into perfect and imperfect duties*.

1) A person, who is disgusted with life because of a series of misfortunes that has grown into hopelessness, is still sufficiently in possession of her reason that she is able to ask herself whether it is not wholly contrary to duty to oneself for her to commit suicide. Now she tests whether her maxim of her action could indeed be a universal law of nature. But her maxim is: from self-love, I make it my principle to shorten my life when continuing to live threatens more misery than pleasantness. All that remains is the question whether this principle of self-love could be a universal law of nature. But you then soon see that a nature whose law it was, through the same feeling that is

* You must here be sure to note that I reserve the division of duties for a future metaphysics of morals. So this division only stands here as arbitrary (in order to order my examples). Moreover, by a perfect duty, I here understand a duty that allows of no exception that is to the advantage of inclination, and regarding such duties I have not merely outer but also inner perfect duties. This way of understanding perfect duty runs counter to the terminology used in the schools, but I do not intend to defend it here because for my purpose it is all the same whether you do or do not concede it to me.

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to urge on towards the promotion of life, to destroy life itself, would contradict itself and would thus not endure as nature, and therefore that maxim can impossibly occur as a universal law of nature and consequently wholly conflicts with the highest principle of all duty.

2) Another sees himself forced by need to borrow money. He well knows that he will not be able to repay, sees also, however, that nothing will be lent to him if he does not firmly promise to repay it at a determinate time. He desires to make such a promise; still, however, he has enough conscience to ask himself: is it not impermissible and contrary to duty to help myself out of need in such a way? Assuming he still resolves to do it, then his maxim of the action would read in this way: when I believe myself to be in need of money, then I will borrow money and promise to repay it, although I know it will never happen. Now, this principle of self-love or of one's own advantage is perhaps quite consistent with my whole future well-being, but now the question is: whether it is right. I thus change the unreasonable expectation of self-love into a universal law and arrange the question in this way: how would it then stand, if my maxim became a universal law. Then I now see at once that it can never hold as a universal law of nature and accord with itself, but

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to urge on the blossoming of life, to destroy life would contradict itself and would not endure as a nature. So that maxim could not possibly exist as a universal law of nature and consequently would wholly conflict with the highest principle of all duty.

2) Another person sees herself forced by need to borrow money. She very well knows that she will not be able to repay the money, but she also sees that nothing will be lent to her if she does not firmly promise to pay the money back at a specific time. She feels like making the promise; but she still has enough of a conscience to ask herself: is it not impermissible and contrary to duty to get out of difficulty in this way? Assuming that she still resolves to make the promise, then her maxim of action would read like this: when I believe myself to be in need of money, I will borrow money and promise to repay it even though I know that the money will never be repaid. Now, this principle of self-love or of one's own advantage is perhaps quite compatible with my whole future well-being, but the question now is whether the principle is right. So I change the unreasonable demand of self-love into a universal law and put the question like so: how would things then stand if my maxim were to become a universal law? Putting it this way, I now see at once that the maxim could never hold as a universal law of nature and be compatible with itself, but

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must necessarily contradict itself. For the universality of a law, that each, accordingly as he believes to be in need, can promise what occurs to him with the intention not to keep it, would make the promise and the end, which one may have with it, itself impossible, since no one would believe that something is promised to him, but would laugh at every such utterance as idle pretense.

3) A third finds in himself a talent which by means of some cultivation could make him into a human being useful for all kinds of purpose. He sees himself, however, in comfortable circumstances and prefers rather to indulge in pleasure than to trouble himself with enlargement and improvement of his fortunate natural predispositions. Still, however, he asks: whether, besides the agreement which his maxim of neglecting his natural gifts in itself has with his tendency to amusement, it also agrees with that which one calls duty. Then he henceforth sees that undoubtedly a nature according to such a universal law can indeed always endure, although the human being (in this way like the South Sea inhabitants) lets his talent rust and were resolved to devote his life merely to idleness, amusement, procreation, in a word to enjoyment; but he can impossibly will, that this become a universal law of nature or as one such be laid in us by natural instinct.

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must necessarily contradict itself. For the universality of a law, that everyone, accordingly as she believes herself to be in need, can promise whatever she pleases with the intention of not keeping the promise, would make the promise itself, and perhaps the end to be achieved by making the promise, impossible. The promise would be impossible because no one would believe that anything was promised to her; instead, such utterances of promising would be ridiculed as idle pretense.

3) A third person finds in herself a talent which by means of some cultivation could make her a human being useful for all kinds of purposes. But she sees herself in comfortable circumstances and prefers to indulge in pleasure rather than to strive to enlarge and improve her fortunate natural predispositions. But still she asks whether, besides agreeing in itself with her tendency to amusement, her maxim of neglecting her natural gifts also agrees with what is called duty. Upon asking this, she now sees for sure that a nature could always endure according to such a natural law even if the human being (like the South Sea Islanders) let her talents rust and was intent on devoting her life merely to idleness, amusement, casual sex — in a word, to enjoyment. But she cannot possibly will that this law become a universal law of nature or that such a natural law be put in us by natural instinct.

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For as a rational being he necessarily wills that all capacities in him be developed, because they are after all serviceable to him and given to him for all kinds of possible purposes.

Yet a fourth, for whom it goes well while he sees that others have to fight with great hardships (whom he could also well help), thinks: what does it concern me? may yet each one be so happy, as heaven wills it, or he can make himself, I will take nothing from him, indeed not even envy; only to his well-being or his assistance in need I have no desire to contribute anything! Now, of course, if such a way of thinking became a universal law of nature, the human race could quite well subsist and without doubt even better than when everyone babbles about compassion and benevolence, also exerts oneself occasionally to practice them, on the other hand, however, also, where he only can, cheats, sells the right of the human being, or otherwise violates it. But, although it is possible that according to that maxim a universal law of nature could indeed subsist; in this way, it is nevertheless impossible to will that such a principle hold everywhere as a law of nature. For a will, which resolved this, would conflict with itself, since many cases can yet occur where he needs the love and compassion of others, and where he, through such a law of nature sprung from his own will,

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For as a rational being she necessarily wills that all capacities in her be developed because they, after all, are given to her and serve her for all kinds of purposes.

Yet a fourth, for whom things are going well, meanwhile sees that other people (whom she could also easily help) have to struggle with great difficulties. She thinks: what's that to me? May each person just be as happy as heaven allows or as happy as she can make herself. I will not take anything from her or even envy her. But I do not feel like contributing anything to her well-being or to come to her assistance in times of need! Now, of course, if such a way of thinking became a universal law of nature, the human race could quite well endure. Indeed, it could endure even better than it does when everyone blathers on nonstop about compassion and kindness and even occasionally tries to put these into practice but, on the other hand, also tries to cheat, sell the right of the human being, or otherwise violate that right. But, although it is possible that a universal law of nature could quite well endure according to that maxim, it is nevertheless impossible to will that such a principle hold everywhere as a universal law of nature. For a will that resolved to will according to that maxim would conflict with itself. Such a will would conflict with itself because many cases can arise in which a person needs the love and compassion of others and in which the person, through such a natural law that sprung from the person's own will,

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would rob himself of all hope of the assistance for which he longs.

[ Willing and thinking maxims ]

These, then, are some of the many actual duties, or at least held by us as such, whose separation from the one principle cited above clearly strikes the eyes. One must be able to will that a maxim of our action become a universal law: this is the canon of moral judgment of it in general. Some actions are so constituted that their maxim without contradiction cannot even be thought as a universal law of nature; far from it, that one can still will it should become one such. With others undoubtedly that inner impossibility is not to be found, but it is still impossible to will that their maxim be raised to the universality of a law of nature, because such a will would contradict itself. One easily sees: that the first conflicts with the strict or narrower (unremitting) duty, the second only with the wider (meritorious) duty, and so all duties, as concerns the kind of obligation (not the object of their action), have through these examples in their dependence on the one principle been set forth completely.

[ Exceptions ]

If we now pay attention to ourselves during each transgression of a duty, then we find that we

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would rob herself of all hope for the assistance that she wants.

[ Willing and thinking maxims ]

These, then, are some of the many actual — or that we at least take to be actual — duties whose spinning off from the one principle cited above is clear. You must be able to will that a maxim of your action become a universal law; this is the canon for morally judging action in general. Some actions are constituted in such a way that their maxim cannot without contradiction even be thought as a universal law of nature. Even more implausible is that you could will that the maxim of such actions should become such a universal law of nature. In the case of other actions, that inner impossibility is definitely not present, but to will that the actions' maxim be elevated to the universality of a law of nature is still impossible because such a will would contradict itself. You can easily see that the first kind of actions, having maxims that are unthinkable as universal laws, conflict with strict or narrower (never slackening) duty and that the second kind of actions, having maxims that are unwillable as universal laws, conflict with wide (meritorious) duty. Consequently, you can also easily see that these examples thoroughly present all duties, as far as the kind of obligation (not the object of the dutiful action) is concerned, as dependent on the one principle.

[ Exceptions ]

If we now pay attention to ourselves whenever we transgress a duty, we find that we

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actually do not will that our maxim should become a universal law, for that is for us impossible, but the opposite of it should instead generally remain a law; only we ourselves take the liberty to make for ourselves or (even only for this time) to the advantage of our inclination an exception to it. Consequently, if we weighed everything from one and the same point of view, namely of reason, then we would find a contradiction in our own will, namely, that a certain principle be objectively necessary as a universal law and yet subjectively not hold universally, but should permit exceptions. Since we, however, one time consider our action from the point of view of a will wholly in conformity with reason, then, however, also just the same action from the point of view of a will affected by inclination, in this way no contradiction is actually here, to be sure, however, an opposition of inclination against the prescription of reason (antagonismus), by which the universality of the principle (universalitas) is changed into a mere generality (generalitas), and by this means the practical principle of reason is to meet with the maxim halfway. Now, although this cannot be justified in our own impartially employed judgment, in this way it yet shows that we actually acknowledge the validity of the categorical imperative and permit ourselves (with all respect for it) only a few,

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actually do not will that our maxim should become a universal law, for that is impossible for us. Instead, the opposite of the maxim should rather remain a law generally. We only take the liberty for ourselves, or (even only for this one time) to the advantage of our inclination, to make an exception to the law. Consequently, if we were to weigh everything from one and the same point of view, namely that of reason, then we would encounter a contradiction in our own will. The contradiction would be that a certain principle should be objectively necessary as a universal law and yet subjectively should not hold universally but should permit exceptions. But since we at one time consider our action from the point of view of a will wholly in accord with reason, but then also consider the very same action from the point of view of a will affected by inclination, there is actually no contradiction here. Though there is no contradiction, there is an opposition of inclination to the prescription of reason (antagonismus). Through this opposition, the universality of the principle (universalitas) is changed into a mere generality (generalitas). By means of this transformation, the practical principle of reason is to meet the maxim half way. Now, although this resolution of the opposition cannot be justified by our own judgment when our judgment is used impartially, the resolution still proves that we actually do acknowledge the validity of the categorical imperative and that we (with all respect for the imperative) only permit ourselves a few,

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as it seems to us, inconsiderable and wrung-from-us exceptions.

[ An a priori proof is still required ]

We have this much thus at least shown, that, if duty is a concept which is to contain meaning and actual lawgiving for our actions, this can be expressed only in categorical imperatives, in no way, however, in hypothetical; we have also, which is already much, clearly and determinately for every use exhibited the content of the categorical imperative, which would have to contain the principle of all duty (if there were such a thing at all). Still, however, we are not so far, a priori to prove, that the same imperative actually occurs, that there is a practical law which absolutely and without any incentives commands for itself, and that the following of this law is duty.

With the aim of arriving at this, it is of the utmost importance to let this serve oneself as a warning, that one, of course, not let it get into one's head to want to derive the reality of this principle from the special quality of human nature. For duty is to be practical-unconditional necessity of action; it must thus hold for all rational beings (to which only an imperative can apply at all) and only for this reason also be for all human wills a law. What, on the other hand, is derived from the

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as it seems to us, exceptions that are minor and forced from us.

[ An a priori proof is still required ]

So we have at least shown as much as the following. We have shown that if duty is a concept that is to contain meaning and actual lawgiving for our actions, then this duty can only be expressed in categorical imperatives and can in no way be expressed in hypothetical imperatives. We have also clearly and distinctly set forth for every use, which is already to have done a great deal, the content of the categorical imperative, which must contain the principle of all duty (if there were to be such a principle at all). But, still, we are not so far along as to prove a priori that there actually is an imperative of this kind, that there is a practical law which commands absolutely and by itself without any incentives, and that following this law is duty.

With the aim of obtaining this a priori proof, it is of the utmost importance to be warned against your wanting to derive the reality of this principle from the special quality of human nature. For duty is to be the practical-unconditional necessity of action. So duty must hold for all rational beings (and only to such beings can an imperative apply at all) and only for this reason can duty be a law for all human wills. Whatever, on the other hand,

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special natural predisposition of humanity, what from certain feelings and propensities, indeed even where possible from a special tendency, which were peculiar to human reason and had not to hold necessarily for the will of every rational being, that can, to be sure, yield a maxim for us, but not a law, a subjective principle, according to which we may act, have propensity and inclination, but not an objective principle, according to which we were directed to act, even if all our propensity, inclination and natural tendency were to the contrary, what is more, that it all the more proves the sublimity and inner dignity of the command in a duty, the fewer the subjective causes for it, the more they are against it, without yet for that reason weakening even in the least the necessitation through the law and taking anything away from its validity.

Here we now see philosophy put in fact on a precarious standpoint which is to be firm, even though it is neither in heaven nor on the earth suspended from something or supported by it. Here it should prove its purity as self-holder of its laws, not as herald of those which an implanted sense or who knows what tutelary nature whispers to it, which all together, they may always be better than nothing at all, yet can never yield ground propositions which reason dictates and which must throughout have completely a priori their source and with this at the same time their commanding authority:

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is derived from the special natural predispositions of the human being is something that can provide a maxim for us. Whatever is derived from certain feelings and propensities is something that can provide a maxim for us. Indeed, whatever is derived, where possible, from a special tendency peculiar to human reason and not necessarily valid for the will of every rational being is something that can definitely provide a maxim for us, but it is not something that can provide a law for us. All these predispositions, feelings, and tendencies can provide a subjective principle according to which we may act and may have a propensity and inclination to act, but they cannot provide an objective principle according to which we are directed to act even if all our propensity, inclination and natural makeup were against it. What is more, the fewer the subjective causes of a command and the more the subjective causes against it, the more the sublimity and inner dignity of the command in a duty is shown. This highlighting of sublimity and dignity occurs without these subjective causes weakening even in the least the necessity of the law or taking anything away from the validity of the law.

Here we now see philosophy put in fact in a precarious position. This position is to be firm even though it is neither suspended from anything in heaven nor supported by anything on earth. This is where philosophy is to prove her purity as caretaker of her own laws, not as the spokeswoman of what an implanted sense whispers to philosophy or as the spokeswoman of who knows what whispering tutelary nature. Though this whispering sense and whispering nature might always be better than nothing at all, they can still never provide basic principles which reason dictates and which must throughout have their origin fully a priori and, along with this a priori origin, at the same time have their commanding authority.

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to expect nothing from the inclination of the human being, but everything from the supreme power of the law and the respect owed to it, or otherwise to condemn the human being to self-contempt and inner abhorrence.

Thus everything which is empirical, is, as an addition to the principle of morality, not only wholly unsuitable to it, but even highly disadvantageous to the purity of morals, in which the proper worth, raised above all price, of an absolutely good will consists just in this, that the principle of the action be free from all influences of contingent grounds, which only experience can provide. Against this carelessness or even base way of thinking, in search of the principle among empirical motives and laws, one can issue neither too much nor too frequently warnings, since the human reason in its weariness gladly rests on this pillow and in the dream of sweet illusions (which permit it after all to embrace a cloud instead of Juno) substitutes for morality a bastard patched up from limbs of quite different ancestry, which looks like everything which one wants to see in it, only not like virtue for one who has beheld it once in its true form.*)

*) To behold virtue in its proper form is nothing other than to exhibit morality stripped of all admixture of the sensuous

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These a priori basic principles expect nothing from the inclination of the human being. Instead, they expect everything from the supreme power of the law and from the respect owed to the law. If their expectation is not met, then the human being is condemned to self-contempt and inner abhorrence.

So everything that is empirical is not only wholly unsuitable as an addition to the principle of morality, but everything empirical is highly damaging to the purity of morals themselves. In this purity of morals is found the proper worth, raised above all price, of an absolutely good will. This purity of morals consists just in this: that the principle of action is free from all influences of contingent grounds which can only be provided by experience. You also cannot too frequently issue too many warnings against this carelessness and even base way of thinking which searches for the principle of morality among empirical motives and laws. These warnings cannot be too many or too frequent because human reason, in its weariness, gladly rests on this pillow of empirical mush, and, in a dream of sweet illusions (which, after all, allows reason to embrace a cloud instead of Juno), substitutes for morality a bastard patched up from limbs of completely different ancestry. This patched up bastard, masquerading as morality, looks like everything that you want to see in it, except like virtue for those who have once beheld virtue in her true form*.

* To behold virtue in her proper form is nothing other than to exhibit morality stripped of all admixture of sensuous

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Thus the question is this: is it a necessary law for all rational beings to judge their actions always according to such maxims of which they themselves can will that they should serve as universal laws? If there is one such, then it must (completely a priori) be connected already with the concept of the will of a rational being in general. In order, however, to discover this connection, one must, however much one resists, take a step out, namely into metaphysics, although in a region of it which is different from that of speculative philosophy, namely into the metaphysics of morals. In a practical philosophy, where it is not our concern to assume grounds of that which happens, but laws of that which ought to happen, although it never happens, i.e. objective-practical laws: there we have no need to undertake investigation of the grounds why something pleases or displeases, how the enjoyment of mere sensation is different from taste, and whether the latter is different from a universal satisfaction of reason; upon what feeling of pleasure and displeasure rests, and how from here eager desires and inclinations, from these, however, through cooperation of reason, maxims

and all spurious adornment of reward or of self-love. How much it then eclipses everything else which appears enticing to the inclinations can each easily become aware of by means of the least effort of one's reason which is not wholly ruined for all abstraction.

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So the question is this: is it a necessary law for all rational beings that they judge their actions always according to maxims that they themselves can will as maxims that should serve as universal laws? If there is such a necessary law, then it must (completely a priori) already be connected with the concept of the will of a rational being in general. But in order to discover this connection, you must, even though you would rather not, take a step out into metaphysics. In particular, you must take a step out into the metaphysics of morals, which covers an area of metaphysics that is different from the area covered by speculative philosophy. In a practical philosophy, it is not our concern to assume grounds for what happens but rather laws for what ought to happen even if it never does happen; that is, in a practical philosophy our concern is with objective-practical laws. In a practical philosophy, we have no need to undertake an investigation into the reasons why something pleases or displeases us, how the enjoyment of mere sensation differs from taste, and whether taste is different from a universal satisfaction of reason. We have no need to investigate what the feeling of pleasure and displeasure rests on, and how from this feeling eager desires and inclinations arise, and then how, through the cooperation of reason, from these desires and inclinations maxims

and all fake decorations of reward or of self-love. By means of the slightest exercise of one's reason, as long as that reason has not been completely ruined for all abstraction, everyone can easily become aware of how much virtue then eclipses everything else that appears enticing to inclinations.

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arise; for all that belongs to an empirical doctrine of the soul, which would constitute the second part of the doctrine of nature, if one considers it as philosophy of nature, as far as it is grounded on empirical laws. Here, however, the discussion is of objective-practical laws, therefore of the relation of a will to itself, so far as it determines itself merely through reason, where then everything, which has reference to the empirical, of itself falls away; because, if reason by itself alone determines conduct (the possibility of which we just now want to investigate), it must do this necessarily a priori.

[ Objective and relative ends ]

The will is thought as a capacity to determine itself to action according to the representation of certain laws. And such a capacity can only be found in rational beings. Now, that which serves the will as the objective ground of its self-determination is the end, and this, if it is given through mere reason, must hold equally for all rational beings. What, on the other hand, contains merely the ground of the possibility of an action whose effect is an end is called the means. The subjective ground of desire is the incentive, the objective ground of willing the motive; thus the difference between subjective ends, which rest on incentives, and objective, which depend on motives, which

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arise. For all that belongs to an empirical doctrine of the soul, which would make up the second part of the doctrine of nature if you consider it as philosophy of nature as far as it is grounded on empirical laws. Here, however, we are talking about objective-practical laws and are therefore talking about the relation of a will to itself so far as the will controls itself merely through reason. When this happens, when the will controls itself merely through reason, everything that has reference to the empirical falls away by itself. Everything that is empirical falls away because if reason by itself alone controls behavior (and the possibility of this kind of control is exactly what we now want to investigate) then reason must necessarily execute this control in an a priori way.

[ Objective and relative ends ]

The will is thought as a capacity to direct itself to act according to the representation of certain laws. And such a capacity can only be found in rational beings. An end is what serves the will as an objective ground of the will's self-direction. This end or goal, if it is given only by reason, must hold equally for all rational beings. On the other hand, a means is what contains merely the ground of possibility of an action that has an end as its effect. The subjective ground of desiring is an incentive; the objective ground of willing is a motive; thus the difference between subjective ends, which rest on incentives, and objective ends, which depend on motives that

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hold for each rational being. Practical principles are formal, if they abstract from all subjective ends; they are, however, material, if they lay down these, therefore certain incentives, as the ground. The ends that a rational being arbitrarily proposes as effects of its action (material ends) are one and all only relative; for only merely their relation to a particularly constituted faculty of desire of the subject gives them the worth, which can therefore provide no valid and necessary universal principles, i.e. practical laws, for all rational beings or for every willing. Hence all these relative ends are only the ground of hypothetical imperatives.

[ The formula of humanity ]

Granted, however, there were something, whose existence in itself has an absolute worth, which as an end in itself could be a ground of determinate laws, then in it and only in it alone would the ground of a possible categorical imperative, i.e. a practical law, lie.

Now I say: the human being and in general every rational being exists as an end in itself, not merely as a means to the arbitrary use for this or that will, but must in all its actions, directed not only to itself but also to other rational beings,

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hold for every rational being. Practical principles are formal if they abstract from all subjective ends. But practical principles are material if they make subjective ends, and therefore certain incentives, their basis. The ends that a rational being arbitrarily aims at as effects of her action (material ends) are one and all only relative. For only the ends' mere relation to a particularly fashioned faculty of desire of the subject gives the ends their worth. This worth can therefore provide no valid and necessary universal principles, that is, practical laws, for all rational beings or for every case of willing. All these relative ends are therefore only the ground of hypothetical imperatives.

[ The formula of humanity ]

Suppose, however, that there were something whose existence in itself has an absolute worth, something which as an end in itself could be a ground of well-defined laws. If that were supposed, then the ground of a possible categorical imperative, that is, the ground of a practical law, would lie in that something and only in that something.

Now I say: the human being and in general every rational being exists as an end in itself, not merely as a means for the optional use of this or that will. Instead, the human being must in all its actions, whether the actions are directed at the human being performing the action or are directed at other rational beings,

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always be considered at the same time as an end. All objects of inclinations have only a conditional worth; for if the inclinations and the needs based on them were not, then their object would be without worth. The inclinations themselves, however, as sources of need, are so far from having an absolute worth so as to be wished for themselves that, on the contrary, to be completely free of them must be the universal wish of each rational being. Thus the worth of all objects to be obtained by our action is always conditional. The beings whose existence rests indeed not on our will, but on nature, have nevertheless, if they are beings without reason, only a relative worth as means and are therefore called things, on the other hand, rational beings are named persons because their nature already marks them out as ends in themselves, i.e. as something that may not be used merely as means, therefore so far limits all choice (and is an object of respect). These are thus not merely subjective ends whose existence as effect of our action has a worth for us; but objective ends, i.e. things whose existence in itself is an end and, to be sure, one such in place of which no other end can be put for which they should stand to serve merely as means, because without this nothing at all of absolute worth would be found anywhere; if, however, all

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always be considered at the same time as an end. All objects of inclinations have only a conditional worth; for, if the inclinations and needs grounded on them did not exist, then their object would be without worth. But inclinations themselves, as sources of need, are very far from having an absolute worth so that they would be wished for in themselves. Instead, it must be the universal wish of every rational being to be completely free of inclinations. So the worth of any objects to be attained through our action is always conditional. The beings whose existence rests not, to be sure, on our will but on nature still have, if they are beings without reason, only a relative worth as means and are therefore called things. On the other hand, rational beings are called persons because their nature already marks them out as ends in themselves, that is, as something that may not be used merely as a means, and therefore their nature as persons limits any choice about how to act (and is an object of respect). So persons are not merely subjective ends whose existence as an effect of our action has a worth for us. Instead, persons are objective ends, that is, things whose existence in itself is an end. In particular, their existence in itself is an end that cannot be replaced by some other end in such a way that their existence is to serve the substituted end merely as a means. Another end cannot be put in place of their existence as an end because, if the substitution could occur, no absolute worth at all would be found anywhere; but if all

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worth were conditional, therefore contingent, then for reason no highest practical principle could be found anywhere.

If, then, there is thus to be a highest practical principle and in view of the human will a categorical imperative, then it must be one such that, from the representation of that which necessarily for everyone is an end because it is an end in itself, constitutes an objective principle of the will, therefore can serve as the universal practical law. The ground of this principle is: rational nature exists as an end in itself. In this way the human being necessarily conceives its own existence; so far is it thus a subjective principle of human actions. In this way, however, also every other rational being conceives its existence owing to just the same rational ground which also holds for me *); hence it is at the same time an objective principle from which as a highest practical ground all laws of the will must be able to be derived. The practical imperative will thus be the following: Act in this way, that you use humanity in your own person, as well as in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never

*) This proposition I set forth here as a postulate. In the last section one will find the grounds for this.

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worth were conditional and therefore contingent, then no highest practical principle for reason could be found anywhere.

So if there is to be a highest practical principle and, with regard to the human will, a categorical imperative, then it must be a principle that, from the thought or representation of what is necessarily an end for everyone because it is an end in itself, constitutes an objective principle of the will and so can serve as a universal practical law. The ground of this principle is: rational nature exists as an end in itself. The human being necessarily conceives of her own existence in this way. Limited to the individual in this way, the principle is thus a subjective principle of human actions. But every other rational being also conceives of its existence in this way on the very same rational ground that also holds for me*. Hence, the principle is at the same time an objective principle from which, as a highest practical ground, all laws of the will must be able to be derived. So the practical imperative will be the following: act in such a way that you treat humanity, in your own person, as well as in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never

* Here I set this proposition out as a postulate. In the last section you will find the reasons for the proposition.

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merely as a means. We will see whether this can be achieved.

[ Four Examples ]

So as to stay with the previous examples, in this way will

Firstly, in accordance with the concept of necessary duty toward oneself, that one, who has suicide in mind, ask himself whether his action can subsist together with the idea of humanity as an end in itself. If he, in order to escape from a troublesome situation, destroys himself, then he makes use of a person merely as a means for the preservation of a tolerable situation till the end of life. The human being, however, is not a thing, therefore not something that can be used merely as means, but must in all its actions always be considered as an end in itself. Thus I can dispose of nothing concerning the human being in my own person, to maim him, to corrupt, or to kill. (The more precise determination of this ground proposition for the avoidance of all misunderstanding, e.g. of the amputation of limbs in order to preserve myself, of the danger to which I expose my life in order to preserve my life, etc., I must here pass by; it belongs to morals proper.)

Secondly, what concerns the necessary or obliged duty to others, so will he, who has it in mind to make a lying promise to others, at once see that he wills to make use of another human being

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merely as a means. We want to see if this principle can be worked out.

[ Four Examples ]

If we stay with the previous examples, then we will have the following.

Firstly, as regards the concept of necessary duty toward oneself, a person who has suicide in mind will ask herself whether her action can be compatible with the idea of humanity as an end in itself. If she, in order to escape from a troublesome situation, destroys herself, then she makes use of a person merely as a means for maintaining a tolerable situation until the end of life. But the human being is not a thing and therefore is not something that can be used merely as a means. Instead, the human being must in all her actions always be considered as an end in herself. So I can dispose of nothing about the human being in my person, cannot maim her, corrupt her, or kill her. (Although it would help to avoid any misunderstanding, I have to forego a more precise specification of this basic principle, for example, of how the principle would apply to the amputation of limbs in order to save myself, how it would apply to cases in which I expose my life to danger in order to preserve my life, and so on; this more precise specification of the principle belongs to morals proper.)

Secondly, as concerns the necessary or owed duty to others, someone who intends to make a lying promise to others will see at once that she wants to make use of another human being

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merely as a means, without that the latter at the same time contains the end in itself. For he, whom I will to use through such a promise for my purposes, can impossibly agree in my way of proceeding against him and thus himself contain the end of this action. This conflict with the principle of other human beings more clearly catches the eye when one draws near examples of attacks on freedom and property of others. For then it is clear that the transgressor of the rights of human beings is disposed to make use of the person of others merely as a means, without taking into consideration that they as rational beings ought always at the same time to be valued as ends, i.e. only as such, who must be able to contain the end of just the same action also in themselves*).

Thirdly, in view of contingent (meritorious) duty to oneself, it's not enough that the

*) Let one not think that here the trivial: what you do not want done to you etc. can serve as a rule of conduct or principle. For it is, although with various limitations, only derived from that one; it can be no universal law, for it does not contain the ground of duties to oneself, not of duties of love to others (for many would gladly agree that others ought not benefit him if only he might be excused from showing them kindness), finally not of duties owed to one another; for the criminal would from this ground argue against his punishing judges, and so on.

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merely as a means, without the other person at the same time having the same the end. For the person whom I want to use for my purposes by making such a promise cannot possibly agree with my way of proceeding against her, and she cannot therefore contain in herself the end of my action. This conflict with the principle of duty owed to other human beings more clearly catches the eye when you bring in examples of attacks on the freedom and property of others. For then it is evident that the transgressor of the rights of human beings intends to make use of the person of others merely as a means and intends to do this without taking into consideration that the others, as rational beings, ought always to be valued at the same time as ends, that is, ought always to be valued as beings who must also be able to have in themselves the end of the very same action*.

Thirdly, with regard to the contingent (meritorious) duty to oneself, it's not enough that the

* You should not think that here the trivial: what you do not want done to you etc. can serve as a rule of thumb for conduct or as a guiding principle. For this trivial saying is, although with various limitations, only derived from the principle of duty owed to others; it cannot be a universal law, for it does not contain the ground of duties to oneself, does not contain the ground of duties of love to others (for many a person would gladly agree that others should not do anything to benefit her if only she may be excused from showing them any kindness). And, finally, this trivial saying does not contain the ground of duties owed to one another; for the criminal would use this deficiency to argue against the judges who are punishing her, and so on.

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action not conflict with humanity in our person as an end in itself, it must also harmonize with it. Now, in humanity there are predispositions to greater perfection, which belong to the end of nature in view of humanity in our subject; to neglect these would be at most possibly compatible with the preservation of humanity as an end in itself, but not with the furtherance of this end.

Fourthly, in reference to meritorious duty to others, the natural end that all human beings have is their own happiness. Now, humanity would no doubt be able to subsist, if no one contributes anything to the happiness of others, in doing so, however, intentionally withdraws nothing from it; but this is still only a negative and not positive agreement with humanity as end in itself, if everyone did not also strive to further the ends of others, so far as he can. For the subject, which is an end in itself, ends of it must, if that representation is to have full effect in me, also, so far as possible, be my ends.

[ The formula of autonomy ]

This principle of humanity and of each rational nature in general, as an end in itself, (which is the highest limiting condition of the

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action not conflict with the humanity in our person as an end in itself; the action must also harmonize with that humanity in our person. Now, in humanity there are predispositions to greater perfection that belong to the end of nature with regard to humanity in our subject. To neglect these predispositions would be, at most, probably compatible with the preservation of humanity as an end in itself, but neglecting them would not be compatible with the promotion of this end.

Fourthly, with regard to meritorious duty to others, the natural end that all human beings have is their own happiness. Now, humanity would no doubt endure if no one contributed anything to the happiness of others but also, in so doing, intentionally withdrew nothing from that happiness. But, if everyone does not also try, as far as she can, to promote the ends of others, then this neutrality is still only a negative and not positive harmonization with humanity as an end in itself. For the ends of a subject which is an end in itself must, as far as possible, also be my ends, if that thought of an end in itself is to have full effect in me.

[ The formula of autonomy ]

This principle of humanity and of each rational nature in general as an end in itself (which is the highest limiting condition on the freedom

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freedom of the actions of each human being) is not borrowed from experience, firstly, on account of its universality, since it applies to all rational beings in general, about which to determine something no experience suffices; secondly, because in it humanity is represented not as an end of human beings (subjectively), i.e. as an object which one of oneself actually makes an end, but as an objective end which, whatever ends we may have, as law is to constitute the highest limiting condition of all subjective ends, and therefore must arise from pure reason. That is to say, the ground of all practical lawgiving lies objectively in the rule and in the form of universality which makes it capable of being (according to the first principle) a law (possibly law of nature), subjectively, however, in the end; the subject of all ends, however, is each rational being as an end in itself (according to the second principle): from this follows now the third practical principle of the will, as highest condition of the harmony of it with universal practical reason, the idea of the will of each rational being as a will giving universal law.

All maxims are rejected according to this principle, which are not consistent with the will's own universal lawgiving. The will is thus not only subject to the law,

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of action of every human being) is not borrowed from experience. First, because of the principle's universality, applying as it does to all rational beings in general, and since no experience is sufficient to say anything definite about all rational beings in general, the principle is not borrowed from experience. Secondly, the principle also is not borrowed from experience because, in the principle, humanity is not represented or thought of as an end of human beings (subjectively); that is, humanity is not represented as an object which you by yourself actually make into an end; instead, humanity is represented as an objective end which, whatever ends we might happen to have, as a law is to constitute the highest limiting condition of all subjective ends. Therefore, the principle must arise from pure reason. In particular, the ground of all practical lawgiving resides objectively in the rule and in the form of universality. This universality (according to the first principle) makes the rule capable of being a law (possibly a natural law). Subjectively, however, the ground of practical lawgiving resides in the end. The subject of all ends, however, is each rational being as an end in itself (according to the second principle). From this the third practical principle of the will, as the highest condition of the harmony of the will with universal practical reason, now follows: the idea of the will of every rational being as a will giving universal law.

According to this third practical principle of the will, all maxims which are not consistent with the will's own universal lawgiving are rejected. So the will is not only subject to the law,

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but so subject, that it also must be seen as self-lawgiving and for just that reason subject first of all to the law (of which it can consider itself as author).

[ The exclusion of interest ]

The imperatives according to the previous way of representation, namely, of a conformity to law of actions, generally similar to a natural order, or of the universal prerogative of the end of rational beings in themselves, excluded undoubtedly from their commanding authority all admixture of any interest as incentive just by this: that they were represented as categorical; they were, however, only assumed as categorical, because one had to assume such-like, if one wanted to explain the concept of duty. That there are, however, practical propositions that command categorically could for itself not be proved, just as little as it also not yet anywhere here in this section can be done; but one thing could still have been done, namely: that the renunciation of all interest in willing from duty, as the specific distinguishing mark of the categorical from hypothetical imperative, would be jointly indicated in the imperative itself through some determination which it contains, and this is done in the present third formula of the principle, namely, in the idea of the will of each rational being as a will giving universal law.

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but the will is subject to the law in such a way that the will must also be seen as giving law to itself; and, just because the will does give law to itself, the will must be seen as first of all subject to the law (of which the will itself can consider itself the author).

[ The exclusion of interest ]

Up to now, imperatives have been modelled according to two different ways of thinking of the imperatives. One way of thinking of imperatives is to represent them as expressing a conformity of actions to law, that conformity being generally similar to a natural order. A second way represents imperatives as expressing the universal priority of the end of rational beings. Both of these ways of representing imperatives definitely excluded from the imperatives' commanding authority all admixture of any interest as an incentive. All interest was excluded precisely because the imperatives were represented as categorical; they, however, were only assumed to be categorical because you had to assume that they were categorical if you wanted to explain the concept of duty. That there are, however, practical propositions that command categorically could not itself be proved. No more than before, that there are such propositions can also not yet be proved anywhere here in this section. But one thing could still have been done, namely: that in cases of willing from duty, the renunciation of any interest — that renunciation being the specific mark distinguishing categorical imperatives from hypothetical imperatives — would be jointly indicated in the imperative itself by some specific feature that the imperative contains. This joint indication of renunciation of interest and distinction between types of imperative occurs in the present third formula of the principle, namely, in the idea of the will of each rational being as a will giving universal law.

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For if we think one such, then, although a will which stands under laws may still be bound by means of an interest to this law, nevertheless a will, which is itself at highest lawgiving, can depend impossibly so far on any interest; for such a dependent will would itself require still another law, which limits the interest of its self-love to the condition of a validity for universal law.

Thus the principle of each human will, as a will giving universal law through all its maxims*), if it otherwise had with it only its correctness, would be quite well suited for the categorical imperative by this, that it, just for the sake of the idea of universal lawgiving, is grounded on no interest and thus among all possible imperatives can alone be unconditional; or still better, in that we convert the proposition, if there is a categorical imperative (i.e. a law for every will of a rational being), then it can only command to do everything from the maxim of its will as one such that at the same time could have itself as giving law universally

*) I can here be excused from citing examples for the illustration of this principle, for those, that at first illustrated the categorical imperative and its formula, can here all serve to just the same end.

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For if we think of such a will, then, although a will that stands under laws may still be connected to this law by an interest, it is impossible for a will which itself is highest in lawgiving to be dependent to such an extent on any interest; for such a dependent will would itself require still another law that would limit the interest of the will's self-love to the condition of the interest's validity as universal law.

So the principle of every human will as a will giving universal law through all its maxims* would be quite well-suited to be a categorical imperative, if the principle were quite correct in other ways. The principle would be well-suited to be a categorical imperative because the principle, just for the sake of the idea of universal lawgiving, rests on no interest and therefore alone among all possible imperatives can be unconditional. The reason for the well-suitedness of the principle can be stated even better if we turn the proposition around: if there is a categorical imperative (that is, a law for the will of every rational being), then the imperative can only command that the rational being always act from the maxim of the being's will regarded as a will that at the same time could have itself as giving universal law

* I can here be excused from citing examples to illustrate this principle, for those examples first used in this way to illustrate the categorical imperative and its formula can all serve just the same purpose here.

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as an object; for then only is the practical principle and the imperative, which it obeys, unconditional, because it can have no interest at all as ground.

[ Heteronomy ]

It is now no wonder, when we look back on all previous efforts that have ever been undertaken in order to discover the principle of morality, why they in every case had to fail. One saw the human being through its duty bound to laws, but it occurred to no one that it is subject only to its own and nevertheless universal lawgiving, and that it is only bound to act in conformity with its own will, though, according to the natural end, universally lawgiving. For if one conceived of it only as subject to a law (whichever it is): then this had to carry with itself some interest as attraction or constraint, because it arose not as law from its will, but the latter was necessitated in conformity to law by something else to act in a certain way. Through this wholly necessary consequence, however, all labor to find a highest ground of duty was irretrievably lost. For one never got duty, but necessity of action from a certain interest. This might now be one's own or another's interest. But then the imperative had each time to turn out conditioned

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as an object. For only then is the practical principle and the imperative which the will obeys unconditioned because the imperative can have no interest at all as a ground.

[ Heteronomy ]

It is now not surprising, when we look back on all previous efforts that have ever been undertaken to discover the principle of morality, why they had to fail in every case. You saw the human being bound by its duty to laws, but it never occurred to anyone that the human being is subject only to its own, but still universal, lawgiving and that the human being is only obligated to act according to its own will which, according to nature's end, however, is universally lawgiving. For, if you conceived of the human being only as subject to a law (whichever law it might be), then this law had to carry with itself some interest as an attraction or constraint. The law had to have this attracting or constraining interest because the law did not arise from the human being's will as a law; instead, the human being's will was necessitated to act in a certain way in conformity to law by something else. But by this entirely necessary consequence, all labor expended in trying to find a highest ground of duty was irretrievably lost. For you never got duty; instead, you only got necessity of action from a certain interest. Now, this interest might be your own or another's. But in either case the imperative always had to turn out conditioned

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and was not able at all to be fit as the moral command. Thus I want to name this ground proposition the principle of the autonomy of the will, in opposition to every other that I on this account class with heteronomy.

[ The formula of the empire of ends ]

The concept of any rational being which must consider itself through all maxims of its will as giving universal law, in order from this point of view to judge itself and its actions, leads to a very fruitful concept hanging on it, namely, that of an empire of ends.

I understand, however, under an empire the systematic union of different rational beings through common laws. Now, because laws determine ends as regards their universal validity, in this way will, if one abstracts from the personal differences of rational beings, also from all content of their private ends, be able to be thought a whole of all ends (not only of rational beings as ends in themselves, but also of individual ends which each one may set itself) in systematic bond, i.e. an empire of ends, which in accordance with the above principles is possible.

For rational beings all stand under the law that each of them is to treat itself and all others

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and could not at all be suited to be the moral command. So I want to call this basic principle the principle of the autonomy of the will, in opposition to every other principle which I therefore count as heteronomy.

[ The formula of the empire of ends ]

The concept of any rational being which must consider itself as giving universal law through all of the maxims of its will, in order to judge itself and its action from this point of view, leads to a very fruitful concept. This latter, very fruitful concept hangs on the former concept of any rational being and is the concept of an empire of ends.

But, by an empire, I understand the systematic union of different rational beings through a common law. Now, because laws determine ends according to the laws' universal validity, an empire of ends can be thought which is possible according to the above principles. But the thought of this empire of ends becomes possible in this way only if you also abstract from the personal differences of rational beings and from all content of their private ends. If you abstract in this way, then the thought of a whole of all ends (not only a whole of rational beings as ends in themselves but also of individual ends which each rational being may set for herself) in a systematic bond is possible.

For rational beings all stand under the law that each rational being is to treat itself and all other rational beings

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never merely as a means, but always at the same time as an end in itself. Through this, however, arises a systematic union of rational beings through common objective laws, i.e. an empire, which, because these laws have just the reference of these beings to each other as ends and means as the purpose, can be called an empire of ends (admittedly only an ideal).

A rational being, however, belongs as a member to the empire of ends, if it is, to be sure, universally lawgiving in it but also is itself subject to these laws. It belongs to it as head, if it as lawgiving is subject to no will of another.

The rational being must consider itself always as lawgiving in an empire of ends possible through freedom of the will, whether it now be as a member, or as head. It can keep the seat of the latter, however, not merely through the maxims of its will, but only then, when it is a completely independent being without need and limitation of its capacity adequate to the will.

Morality thus consists in the reference of all action to the lawgiving by which alone an empire of ends is possible. This lawgiving must, however,

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never merely as a means, but instead always at the same time as an end in itself. But from this law, and from the treatment the law prescribes, there arises a systematic union of rational beings through common objective laws. That is, an empire arises which, because these laws have as their aim just the relation of these beings to each other as ends and means, can be called an empire of ends (which is, admittedly, only an ideal).

A rational being, however, belongs to an empire of ends as a member, if the rational being is, of course, universally lawgiving in the empire but also is itself subject to these laws. A rational being belongs to an empire of ends as head, if the rational being as lawgiving is subject to the will of no other.

The rational being must always consider itself as lawgiving in an empire of ends possible through freedom of the will, whether it be as member or as head. A rational being cannot keep the seat of the latter, the head's seat, merely by the maxims of its will; instead, a rational being can keep the seat only when the rational being is a completely independent being without need and without limitation to its power that is adequate to its will.

So morality consists in the relation of all action to the lawgiving through which alone an empire of ends is possible. This lawgiving must, however,

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be found in each rational being itself and be able to arise from its will, whose principle therefore is: to do no action according to another maxim, except such that it also can be consistent with it, that it is a universal law, and thus only such that the will through its maxim can consider itself at the same time as universally lawgiving. If now the maxims are with this objective principle of rational beings, as universally lawgiving, not through their nature already necessarily in agreement, then the necessity of action according to that principle is called practical necessitation, i.e. duty. Duty belongs not to the head in the empire of ends, does, however, to each member and undoubtedly to all in equal measure.

The practical necessity to act according to this principle, i.e. the duty, rests not at all on feelings, impulses and inclinations, but merely on the relation of rational beings to one another, in which the will of a rational being must be considered always at the same time as lawgiving, because it otherwise could not think them as an end in themselves. Reason thus refers each maxim of the will as universally lawgiving to each other will and also to each action toward oneself and this, to be sure, not for the sake of any other practical motive or future advantage, but from the idea of the

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be found in every rational being itself and must be able to arise from the rational being's will. The principle of the rational being's will is thus this: to do no action according to any maxim unless the maxim could be a universal law and thus to do an action only if the will could through its maxim consider itself at the same time as giving universal law. Now, if the maxims are not by their nature already necessarily in agreement with this objective principle of rational beings as giving universal law, then the necessity of action according to that principle is called practical necessitation, that is, duty. Duty does not apply to the head in the empire of ends, but duty surely does apply to each member and, to be sure, to each member in equal measure.

The practical necessity of acting according to this principle, that is, the duty, does not rest at all on feelings, impulses and inclinations. Instead, the practical necessity of acting according to this principle rests merely on the relation of rational beings to each other. In this relation, the will of a rational being must always at the same time be considered as giving law because otherwise the rational being could not think other rational beings as ends in themselves. So reason refers every maxim of the will as giving universal law to every other will and also to every action towards oneself. Reason definitely does not make these references to other wills and to self-directed actions for the sake of any other practical motive or for the sake of future advantage. Instead, reason makes these references from the idea of the

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dignity of a rational being who obeys no law other than that which it at the same time itself gives.

[ Price and dignity ]

In the empire of ends everything has either a price, or a dignity. What has a price, in its place can also something else as equivalent be placed; what, on the other hand, is raised above all price, and therefore allows no equivalent, that has a dignity.

What refers to general human inclinations and needs has a market price; that which, even without presupposing a need, conforms to a certain taste, i.e. to a delight in the mere purposeless play of our powers of mind, a fancy price; that, however, which constitutes the condition under which alone something can be an end in itself has not merely a relative worth, i.e. a price, but an inner worth, i.e. dignity.

Now, morality is the condition under which alone a rational being can be an end in itself, because only through it is it possible to be a lawgiving member in the empire of ends. Thus morality and humanity, as far as it is capable of it, is that which alone has dignity. Skill and diligence in work have a market price; wit,

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dignity of a rational being who obeys no law except a law that the rational being itself gives at the same time.

[ Price and dignity ]

In the empire of ends everything has either a price or a dignity. What has a price is something in the place of which something else, as an equivalent, can also be placed. What, on the other hand, is elevated above all price, that has a dignity.

What refers to general human inclinations and needs has a market price. That which, even without presupposing a need, accords with a certain taste, that is, accords with a delight in the mere purposeless play of our powers of mind, has a fancy price. That, however, which constitutes the condition under which alone something can be an end in itself has not merely a relative worth, that is, a price, but instead has an inner worth, that is, dignity.

Now, morality is the condition under which alone a rational being can be an end in itself. Morality is the only condition because only through morality is it possible to be a lawgiving member in the empire of ends. So morality, and humanity insofar as it is capable of morality, is that which alone has dignity. Skill and diligence in work have a market price; wit,

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lively imagination and humor, a fancy price; on the other hand, fidelity in promising, benevolence from ground propositions (not from instinct) have an inner worth. Nature as well as art contain nothing which they, in deficiency of them, could put in their place; for their worth consists not in the effects that arise from them, in the advantage and profit which they provide, but in the dispositions, i.e. the maxims of the will, that are ready to reveal themselves in this way in actions, even though success did not favor them. These actions also need no recommendation from any subjective disposition or taste, to look at them with immediate favor and delight, no immediate propensity or feeling for the same: they present the will, which practices them, as an object of an immediate respect, for which nothing but reason is required in order to impose them on the will, not to coax from it, which latter were in the case of duties anyhow a contradiction. This estimation thus shows the worth of such a way of thinking as dignity and puts it above all price infinitely far off, with which it can not at all be brought into account and comparison, without as it were assaulting its holiness.

And what is it now, then, which justifies the morally good disposition or virtue to make such high claims?

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lively imagination and humor have a fancy price. In contrast, sincerity in promising, kindness from basic principles (not from instinct), have an inner worth. Nature as well as art contain nothing which they, lacking sincerity and kindness, could put in place of sincerity and kindness; for the worth of sincerity and kindness consists not in the effects which arise from them, not from the advantage and profit which they provide. Instead, the worth of sincerity and kindness consists in the dispositions, that is, in the maxims of the will, that are ready to reveal themselves in this way in actions even if success does not favor them. These actions also require no recommendation from any subjective disposition or taste in order to be regarded with immediate favor and delight; they require no immediate tendency or feeling in order to be regarded in such a way. These actions of sincerity and kindness present the will that practices them as an object of an immediate respect. For this presentation of the will as a respected object, nothing but reason is required in order to impose the actions on the will. To coax the actions from the will, which in the case of duties would anyhow be a contradiction, is not required for the presentation of the will as a respected object. This valuation thus shows the worth of such a way of thinking as dignity and puts dignity infinitely far above all price. Dignity cannot be brought into calculation or comparison with price at all without, so to speak, assaulting dignity's holiness.

And now, then, what is it that justifies the morally good disposition or virtue in making such lofty claims?

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It is nothing less than the share that it affords the rational being in universal lawgiving and makes it by this fit to be a member in a possible empire of ends to which it through its own nature was already determined as an end in itself and just for that reason as lawgiving in the empire of ends, in view of all natural laws as free, only obeying those alone that it itself gives and according to which its maxims can belong to a universal lawgiving (to which it at the same time subjects itself). For nothing has a worth other than that which the law determines for it. The lawgiving itself, however, which determines all worth, must just for that reason have a dignity, i.e. unconditional, incomparable worth, for which the word respect alone furnishes the proper expression of the estimation which a rational being has to assign with regard to it. Autonomy is thus the ground of the dignity of the human and every rational nature.

[ Review of the formulas ]

The three ways cited above to represent the principle of morality, however, are at bottom only so many formulas of just the same law, of which the one of itself unites in itself the other two. Meanwhile, a difference is yet in them that, to be sure, is subjective rather than objective-practical, namely, so as to bring an idea of reason nearer to intuition (according to a certain analogy)

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What justifies it is nothing less than the share that the disposition provides to the rational being in universal lawgiving. By providing this share in universal lawgiving, the disposition makes the rational being fit to be a member in a possible empire of ends. The rational being was already destined by its own nature as an end in itself and therefore as a lawgiver in an empire of ends to be fit to be such a member and to be free with regard to all natural laws, obeying only those laws that the rational being itself gives and only those laws according to which the rational being's maxims can belong in a universal lawgiving (to which the rational being at the same time subjects itself). For nothing has a worth except that worth which the law determines for it. But lawgiving itself, which determines all worth, must for just that reason have a dignity, that is, have unconditional, incomparable worth. Only the word 'respect' provides the appropriate expression of the valuation that a rational being must assign to dignity. Autonomy is therefore the ground of the dignity of human nature and of all rational nature.

[ Review of the formulas ]

The three ways above, however, of representing the principle of morality are at bottom only so many formulas of the very same law, in which one by itself unites the other two in itself. Meanwhile, there is still a difference in them that is definitely subjectively practical rather than objectively practical, namely, so as to bring an idea of reason closer to intuition (according to a certain analogy)

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and by this to feeling. All maxims have namely

1) a form, which consists in universality, and here the formula of the moral imperative is expressed thus: that the maxims must in this way be selected, as if they were to hold as universal laws of nature;

2) a matter, namely an end, and here the formula says: that the rational being, as an end according to its nature, therefore as an end in itself, must serve for every maxim as the limiting condition of all merely relative and optional ends;

3) a complete determination of all maxims through that formula, namely: that all maxims from individual lawgiving ought to harmonize to a possible empire of ends, as to an empire of nature*). The progression occurs here as through the categories of the unity of the form of the will (of its universality), of the plurality of the matter (of the objects, i.e. of the ends) and of the allness or totality of the system of them. One does better, however, if one in moral judgment always

*) Teleology considers nature as an empire of ends, morals a possible empire of ends as an empire of nature. There the empire of ends is a theoretical idea in explanation of that which exists. Here it is a practical idea, in order to bring into existence that which does not exist, but through our doing and letting can become actual, and, to be sure, in conformity with just this idea.

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and, by bringing the idea closer to intuition, bringing the idea closer to feeling. All maxims have, namely

1) a form, which consists in universality, and here the formula of the moral imperative is expressed in this way: that maxims must so be chosen as if they were to hold as universal laws of nature;

2) a matter, namely an end, and here the formula says: that the rational being, as an end according to its nature, therefore as an end in itself, must serve for every maxim as the limiting condition of all merely relative and optional ends;

3) a complete determination of all maxims through that formula, namely: that all maxims as individual lawgiving ought to harmonize with a possible empire of ends, as with an empire of nature*. The progression happens here as through the categories of unity of the form of the will (of the universality of the will), of plurality of the matter (of the objects, that is, of the ends), and of allness or totality of the system of ends. But you do better if in moral judgment you always

* Teleology considers nature as an empire of ends. Morals considers a possible empire of ends as an empire of nature. In the former, teleological, consideration, the empire of ends is a theoretical idea that explains what exists. In the latter, moral, consideration, the empire of ends is a practical idea for bringing into existence what does not exist but which can, in accordance of course with precisely this practical idea, become actual through our conduct.

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proceeds according to the strict method and lays the universal formula of the categorical imperative as the ground: act according to the maxim which at the same time can make itself into a universal law. If one wants, however, to provide at the same time entry for the moral law: then it is very useful to lead one and just the same action through the named three concepts and in so doing, so far as it is possible, to bring it nearer to intuition.

[ Overall review ]

We can now here end from where we in the beginning started, namely, from the concept of an unconditionally good will. The will is absolutely good, which cannot be bad, therefore whose maxim, if it is made into a universal law, can never conflict with itself. This principle is thus also its highest law: act always according to that maxim whose universality as law you at the same time can will; this is the sole condition under which a will can never be in conflict with itself, and such an imperative is categorical. Because the validity of the will as a universal law for possible actions has analogy with the universal connection of the existence of things according to universal laws, which is the formal aspect of nature in general, so can the categorical imperative also in this way be expressed: Act according to maxims which can at the same time have themselves as universal laws of nature as the object.

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proceed according to the strict method and make the universal formula of the categorical imperative the ground of judgment: act according to the maxim which can make itself at the same time into a universal law. If, however, you want at the same time to make the moral law more accessible, then it is very useful to lead one and the same action through the three named concepts of unity of form, plurality of matter, and allness of the system of ends and, by doing this, bring the three concepts, as far as possible, closer to intuition.

[ Overall review ]

We can now end where we began, namely, with the concept of an unconditionally good will. That will is absolutely good which cannot be bad and therefore whose maxim, if the maxim is made into a universal law, can never conflict with itself. So this principle is also the will's highest law: act always according to that maxim whose universality as law you can at the same time will; this is the sole condition under which a will can never be in conflict with itself, and such an imperative is categorical. Because the validity of the will, as a universal law for possible actions, is analogous to the universal connection of the existence of things according to universal laws, which is what is formal in nature in general, the categorical imperative can also be expressed in this way: Act according to maxims which can have themselves, as universal laws of nature, at the same time as an object.

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Thus in this way the formula of an absolutely good will is constituted.

Rational nature excludes itself from the rest by this, that it sets itself an end. This would be the matter of any good will. Since, however, in the idea of a will absolutely good without limiting condition (of the attainment of this or of that end) complete abstraction must be made from every end to be effected (as it would only make each will relatively good), in this way will the end here have to be thought not as one to be effected, but self-standing end, therefore only negatively, i.e. the never acted against, which therefore must never be valued merely as a means, but always at the same time as an end in each willing. This can now be nothing other than the subject of all possible ends itself, because this at the same time is the subject of a possible absolutely good will; for this can without contradiction be subordinated to no other object. The principle: act in reference to any rational being (to yourself and others) in this way, that it holds in your maxim at the same time as an end in itself, is accordingly at bottom one and the same with the ground proposition: act according to a maxim, which contains its own universal validity for each rational being at the same time in itself. For that I ought to limit my maxim in the use

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That, then, is the makeup of the formula of an absolutely good will.

Rational nature distinguishes itself from the others by setting an end for itself. This end would be the matter of any good will. Since, however, in the idea of an absolutely good will without a limiting condition (of the attainment of this or that end) complete abstraction must be made from any end to be produced (as this kind of end would make every will only relatively good), the end here must be thought not as one to be produced but rather as a self-sufficient end. So the end here must be thought only negatively, that is, as something never acted against, and therefore as something which must never be valued merely as a means but which must instead always at the same time in every act of willing be valued as an end. This end can be nothing other than the subject of all possible ends itself because this subject at the same time is the subject of a possible absolutely good will; for this will can, without contradiction, be subordinated to no other object. The principle: act in reference to each rational being (to yourself and others) in such a way that the rational being is considered in your maxim at the same time as an end in itself, is accordingly at bottom one and the same as the basic principle: act according to a maxim that contains in itself at the same time its own universal validity for every rational being. For, saying that I ought to limit my maxim, in the use

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of the means to each end to the condition of its universal validity as a law for each subject, says just so much, as the subject of ends, i.e. the rational being itself, must never merely as a means, but as highest limiting condition in the use of all means, i.e. always at the same time as an end, be laid as the ground of all maxims of actions.

Now follows from this incontestably: that each rational being as an end in itself must be able to look at itself, with reference to all laws to which it may ever be subjected, at the same time as universal lawgiving, because just this fitness of its maxims to the universal lawgiving marks it out as an end in itself, also that this its dignity (prerogative) before all mere natural beings brings with it, to have to take its maxims always from the point of view of itself, at the same time, however, also of every other rational being as lawgiving (who for this reason are also called persons). Now, in such way a world of rational beings (mundus intelligibilis) as an empire of ends is possible and undoubtedly through the individual lawgiving of all persons as members. Accordingly, any rational being must in this way act, as if it were through its maxims always a lawgiving member in the universal empire of ends. The formal principle of these maxims is:

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of means to every end, to the condition of the maxim's universal validity as a law for every subject, is the same as saying that the subject of ends must be made the ground of all maxims of actions. That is, it is the same as saying that the rational being itself must never be treated as a mere means but instead must be treated as the highest limiting condition in the use of all means, that is, must always be treated at the same time as an end.

From what has been said above, these points now follow incontestably. First, each rational being, as an end in itself, must, with reference to all laws to which the rational being may ever be subject, be able to look at itself at the same time as giving universal law. The rational being must be able to look at itself in this way because it is just this fitness of the rational being's maxims for universal lawgiving that mark out the rational being as an end in itself. Second, the dignity of the rational being (its prerogative) before all merely natural beings brings with it that the rational being's maxims must always be taken from the point of view of the rational being itself and also at the same time from the point of view of each other rational being as a lawgiving being (for which reason the other rational beings are also called persons). Now, in this way a world of rational beings (mundus intelligibilis) as an empire of ends is possible, and indeed possible through the individual lawgiving of all persons as members. Accordingly, each rational being must act in such a way as if the rational being, through its maxims, always were a lawgiving member in the universal empire of ends. The formal principle of these maxims is:

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act in this way, as if your maxim at the same time were to serve as the universal law (of all rational beings). An empire of ends is thus only possible according to the analogy with an empire of nature, the former, however, only according to maxims, i.e. rules imposed on oneself, the latter only according to laws of externally necessitated efficient causes. Despite this, one still gives also to the whole of nature, although it is looked at as a machine, nevertheless, so far as it has reference to rational beings as its ends, from this ground the name of an empire of nature. Such an empire of ends would now through maxims, whose rule the categorical imperative prescribes to all rational beings, really come to pass, if they would be universally followed. But, although the rational being cannot count on it, that, even if it itself strictly followed this maxim, for that reason every other would be faithful precisely to it, also that the empire of nature and its purposive order harmonize with it, as a fitting member, toward an empire of ends possible through it itself, i.e. will favor its expectation of happiness; so remains still that law: act according to maxims of a member giving universal law to a merely possible empire of ends, in its full force because it is categorically commanding. And in this lies precisely the paradox: that merely the dignity of humanity, as

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act in such a way as if your maxim at the same time were to serve as the universal law (of all rational beings). So an empire of ends is only possible according to the analogy with an empire of nature. But, in thinking by means of this analogy, it must be kept in mind that the former, the empire of ends, operates only according to maxims, that is, to self-imposed rules, and that the latter, the empire of nature, operates only according to laws of externally necessitated efficient causes. Despite this difference in operation, we still call the whole of nature an empire of nature; we still give the whole of nature this name, even though the whole of nature is seen as a machine, insofar as the whole of nature has reference to rational beings as its ends. Now, such an empire of ends would actually come into existence through maxims whose rule the categorical imperative prescribes to all rational beings, if the maxims were universally followed. The following are things that the rational being cannot count on happening: first, that, even if the rational being itself were to follow this maxim to the letter, every other rational being would therefore faithfully follow the same maxim; second, that the empire of nature and its purposive order will harmonize with the rational being as with a fitting member of an empire of ends possible through the rational being itself — that is, that the empire of nature will favor the rational being's expectation of happiness. But, although the rational being cannot count on these things, that law still remains: act according to maxims of a member giving universal law to a merely possible empire of ends. That law remains in full force because it commands categorically. And it is just in this that the paradox lies: first, that merely the dignity of the human being, as rational

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rational nature without any other end or advantage to be attained by this, therefore the respect for a mere idea should nevertheless serve as the unrelenting prescription of the will, and that just in this independence of the maxim from all such incentives its sublimity consists and the worthiness of any rational subject to be a lawgiving member in the empire of ends; for otherwise it would have to be represented only as subject to the natural law of its needs. Even if the natural empire as well as the empire of ends were thought as united under one head, and by this the latter remain no longer merely an idea, but receive true reality, in this way would by this undoubtedly that one gain the increase of a powerful incentive, never, however, augmentation of its inner worth; for, despite this, even this sole absolute lawgiver would have still always to be so represented, how it judged the worth of rational beings only according to their disinterested conduct, prescribed to themselves merely from that idea itself. The essence of things does not alter through their outer relations, and what, without thinking of the latter, alone constitutes the absolute worth of the human being, accordingly must it also, by whomsoever it is, even by the highest being, be judged. Morality is thus the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will, that is, to the possible universal

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nature without any other end or advantage to be attained by this dignity, therefore with respect for a mere idea, is nevertheless to serve as the constant prescription of the will; and second, that it is just in this independence of the maxim from all such incentives that the sublimity of the maxim consists and in which the worthiness of any rational subject to be a lawgiving member in the empire of ends consists. For without this independence the rational subject would have to be thought of as subject only to the natural laws of its needs. Even if the natural empire as well as the empire of ends were thought as united under one head and through this unification the latter, the empire of ends, no longer remained a mere idea but instead received true reality, the idea would definitely gain a strong incentive, but through this unification the idea would never receive an increase in its inner worth. For, if this unification under one head did occur, even this sole unlimited lawgiver would still always have to be thought of as judging the worth of the rational being only according to the rational beings' disinterested conduct that the rational beings prescribe for themselves merely from that idea of an empire of ends. The essence of things does not change through their outer relations, and, without thinking of these outer relations, what alone constitutes the absolute worth of the human being has to be that according to which the human being must also be judged, no matter who the judge may be — even if the judge is the highest being. So morality is the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will, that is, to the possible universal

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lawgiving through its maxims. The action that can subsist with the autonomy of the will is permissible; that not harmonious with it, is impermissible. The will whose maxims necessarily harmonize with the laws of autonomy is a holy, absolutely good will. The dependence of a not absolutely good will on the principle of autonomy (moral necessitation) is obligation. This can thus not be pulled on a holy being. The objective necessity of an action from obligation is called duty.

One can from the recent foregoing now easily explain it, how it comes to pass: that, although we conceive under the concept of duty a subjection under the law, we imagine by this nevertheless at the same time a certain sublimity and dignity in that person who fulfills all its duties. For, to be sure, no sublimity is in it so far as it is subject to the moral law, but rather so far as it is in view of just it at the same time lawgiving and only for that reason subordinate to it. We have also shown above how neither fear, nor inclination, but merely respect for the law is that incentive which can give to the action a moral worth. Our own will, so far as it would act only under the condition of a universal lawgiving possible through its maxims,

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lawgiving through the will's maxims. An action that is compatible with the autonomy of the will is permitted. An action that is not compatible with the autonomy of the will is impermissible. The will whose maxims necessarily harmonize with the laws of autonomy is a holy, absolutely good will. The dependence of a will that is not absolutely good on the principle of autonomy (moral necessitation) is obligation. So obligation cannot apply to a holy being. The objective necessity of an action from obligation is called duty.

You can now easily explain from what has just been said how it comes about: that, although under the concept of duty we think a subjection under the law, in thinking this we still at the same time imagine a certain sublimity and dignity in that person who fulfills all of her duties. For there is definitely no sublimity in the person insofar as the person is subject to the moral law. More plausibly, however, there is sublimity in the person insofar as the person, with regard to the very same moral law, at the same time is lawgiving and only because of that lawgiving is subject to that law. We have also shown above how neither fear nor inclination but, instead, how only respect for the law is that incentive which can give an action a moral worth. Our own will, so far as it would act only under the condition of a universal lawgiving possible through the will's maxims,

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this will possible to us in the idea, is the proper object of respect, and the dignity of humanity consists just in this capability, universal lawgiving, although with the condition to be itself subject at the same time precisely to this lawgiving.

The autonomy of the will
as
highest principle of morality.
[ The autonomy of the will ]

Autonomy of the will is the characteristic of the will by which it is to itself (independently of any characteristic of the objects of willing) a law. The principle of autonomy is thus: not otherwise to choose than in this way, that the maxims of one's choice are comprehended jointly in the same willing at the same time as universal law. That this practical rule is an imperative, i.e. the will of each rational being is necessarily bound to it as a condition, cannot be proven through mere analysis of the concepts present in it, because it is a synthetic proposition; one would have to go out beyond the cognition of objects and to a critique of the subject, i.e. of pure practical reason, for this synthetic proposition, which commands apodictically, must be able to be cognized completely a priori, this business, however, does not belong in the present

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is the proper object of respect. This will is possible for us in the idea of an empire of ends; and the dignity of the human being consists just in this capability to give universal law, although on the condition of being itself at the same time subject to just this lawgiving.

The autonomy of the will
as
highest principle of morality.
[ The autonomy of the will ]

Autonomy of the will is the characteristic of the will by which the will is a law to itself (independently of any characteristic of the objects of willing). So the principle of autonomy is: not to choose otherwise than in such a way that the maxims of your choice are included as universal law at the same time in the same act of will. That this practical rule is an imperative, that is, that the will of every rational being is necessarily bound to the rule as a condition, cannot be proven by mere analysis of the concepts present in the principle because the principle is a synthetic proposition. To prove that this practical rule is an imperative, you would have to go out beyond the knowledge of objects and to a critique of the subject, that is, a critique of pure practical reason; and you would have to undertake such a critique because this synthetic proposition, which commands with absolute necessity, must be able to be known completely a priori. This task of a critique, however, does not belong in the present

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section. But that the aforesaid principle of autonomy is the exclusive principle of morals lets itself through mere analysis of concepts of morality very well be proved. For by this is found that its principle must be a categorical imperative, this, however, commands nothing more or less than just this autonomy.

The heteronomy of the will
as the source of all spurious principles
of morality.
[ The heteronomy of the will ]

If the will anywhere else than in the suitability of its maxims to its own universal lawgiving, hence, if it, in that it goes out beyond itself, seeks the law that is to determine it in the character of any of its objects, then heteronomy results each time. The will gives then not itself, but the object through its relation to the will gives it the law. This relation, whether it rests now on inclination or on representations of reason, lets only hypothetical imperatives become possible: I ought do something just because I will something else. On the other hand, the moral, hence categorical imperative, says: I ought act thus or so, even if I willed nothing else. E.g. the former says: I ought not lie, if I will to remain with honor; the latter,

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section. But that the aforesaid principle of autonomy is the sole principle of morals can quite well be shown by mere analysis of the concepts of morality. For by carrying out such an analysis, we find that the principle of morality must be a categorical imperative and that this imperative commands nothing more nor less than just this autonomy.

The heteronomy of the will
as the source of all spurious principles
of morality.
[ The heteronomy of the will ]

If the will seeks what is to guide it in anything else than in the suitability of the will's maxims to the will's own universal lawing, then heteronomy always results. If, that is, the will, in going out beyond itself, seeks the law that is to guide the will in the character of any of the will's objects, then heteronomy always results. In cases of heteronomy, the will does not give itself the law; but, instead, the object through its relation to the will gives the law to the will. This relation, whether it rests now on inclination or on representations of reason, only allows hypothetical imperatives to be possible: I ought to do something just because I want something else. In contrast, the moral imperative, and therefore the categorical imperative, says: I ought to act thus and so even if I wanted nothing else. For example, the former, hypothetical imperative, says: I ought not lie, if I want to retain my honorable reputation; but the latter,

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however: I ought not lie, even if it brings upon me not the least shame. The latter must therefore abstract from any object so far that this has no influence at all on the will, so that practical reason (will) not merely administers foreign interest, but merely proves its own commanding authority as highest lawgiving. In this way I ought e.g. seek to promote others' happiness, not as if its existence were anything of consequence to me (whether it be through immediate inclination, or some satisfaction indirectly through reason), but merely because the maxim which excludes it cannot be comprehended in one and the same willing, as universal law.

Division
of all possible principles of morality
from the
assumed ground concept
of heteronomy.
[ Taxonomy of all heteronomous principles ]

Human reason has here, as everywhere in its pure use, so long as it lacks a critique, previously tried all possible incorrect ways before it succeeds in hitting upon the only true one.

All principles, which one might take from this point of view, are either empirical or

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moral or categorical imperative, says: I ought not lie even if it brought upon me not the least shame. So the latter, categorical imperative, must abstract from all objects to such an extent that the objects would have no influence at all on the will, so that practical reason (will) would not merely administer alien interest but instead would merely prove its own commanding authority as highest lawgiving. So I ought, for example, to seek to promote the happiness of others, not as if the existence of that happiness were any of my concern (whether it be through immediate inclination or some satisfaction provided indirectly through reason); instead, I ought to promote the existence of that happiness just because the maxim that excludes that happiness cannot be included in one and the same willing as a universal law.

Division
of all possible principles of morality
from the
assumed basic concept
of heteronomy.
[ Taxonomy of all heteronomous principles ]

Human reason has here, as everywhere in human reason's pure use so long as human reason lacks a critique, previously tried all possible incorrect ways before human reason succeeds in hitting upon the one correct way.

All principles that you might take from the point of view of human reason are either empirical or

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rational. The first, from the principle of happiness, are built on physical or moral feeling, the second, from the principle of perfection, either on the rational concept of it as a possible effect, or on the concept of a self-standing perfection (the will of God) as determining cause of our will.

[ Empirical heteronomous principles: happiness and feeling ]

Empirical principles are not at all fit to be the ground of moral laws. For the universality with which they are to hold for all rational beings without difference, the unconditional practical necessity that is imposed on them by this, falls away, if the ground of them is taken from the special constitution of human nature or the contingent circumstances in which it is placed. Yet the principle of individual happiness is most of all objectionable, not merely because it is false, and experience contradicts the pretense, as if well-being always adjusts itself according to good conduct, also not merely because it contributes nothing at all to the grounding of morality, since it is wholly something else to make a happy than a good human being, and make this prudent and sharp-sighted for its advantage than make it virtuous: but because it puts incentives underneath morality that rather undermine it and destroy its whole sublimity, since they put the motives

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rational. The first, from the principle of happiness, are built on physical or moral feeling. The second, from the principle of perfection, are built either on the rational concept of perfection as a possible effect or on the concept of a self-sufficient perfection (the will of God) as a controlling cause of our will.

[ Empirical heteronomous principles: happiness and feeling ]

Empirical principles are not at all fit to be the ground of moral laws. For the universality with which the laws are to hold for all rational beings without difference — the unconditional practical necessity that is imposed on rational beings by this universality of moral laws — falls away if the ground of the laws is taken from the particular arrangement of human nature or from the contingent circumstances in which that nature is placed. But the principle of personal happiness is most objectionable, not merely because it is false, and because experience contradicts the pretense that well-being always adjusts itself according to good conduct, and also not merely because the principle contributes nothing at all to the grounding of morality since it is something quite different to make a happy human being than to make a good human being and something quite different to make a human being prudent and alert to what might be to her advantage than to make her virtuous. To be sure, those flaws make the principle of personal happiness objectionable, but it is most objectionable because it puts incentives underneath morality, and these incentives, rather than supporting morality, instead undermine it and destroy its entire sublimity.

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to virtue with those to vice in one class and only teach better calculation, the specific difference of both, however, wholly and entirely obliterate; on the other hand, moral feeling, this supposed special sense*), (however shallow the appeal to it is, since those, who cannot think even in that which merely depends on universal law, believe to help themselves out through feeling, however little feelings, that are in terms of rank by nature infinitely different from each other, furnish a uniform standard of good and bad, also one can through one's feeling for others not at all validly judge) nevertheless remains closer to morality and its dignity in that it shows to virtue the honor of ascribing the satisfaction and the esteem for her immediately to her, and does not say to her as it were in her face, that it is not her beauty, but only advantage, that attaches us to her.

[ Rational heteronomous principles: ontological and theological perfection ]

Among the rational or reason-grounds of morality is yet the ontological concept of

*) I class the principle of moral feeling with that of happiness because any empirical interest, through the agreeableness that something only affords, it may well happen immediately and without view to advantages or in regard to them, promises a contribution to well-being. Likewise one must class the principle of compassion for others' happiness, with Hutcheson, with the same moral sense assumed by him.

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The incentives undermine morality because they put motives to virtue in the same class with motives to vice and because the incentives only teach us to calculate better what is to our personal advantage or disadvantage, thus thoroughly obliterating the specific difference between virtue and vice. On the other hand, moral feeling, this supposed special sense*, (however shallow the appeal to this sense is, in that those who cannot think even about what depends merely on universal law believe they can help themselves out through feeling, feelings, which according to their ranking by nature are infinitely different from each other, provide just as little a uniform standard of good and bad; you also cannot judge at all validly through your feeling for others), nevertheless remains closer to morality and its dignity for the following reasons. First, moral feeling remains closer because moral feeling does virtue the honor of ascribing immediately to virtue the delight and high esteem that we have for virtue. Second, moral feeling remains closer to morality and its dignity because moral feeling does not say to virtue, as if to her face, that it is not her beauty but instead only the advantage to us that ties us to her.

[ Rational heteronomous principles: ontological and theological perfection ]

Among the rational grounds of morality or grounds based on reason, there is still the ontological concept of

* I classify the principle of moral feeling with the principle of happiness because any empirical interest promises a contribution to well-being through the agreeableness that something offers us, whether this agreeableness is immediate and without a view to advantages or whether the agreeableness occurs with regard to those advantages. Likewise, you must classify, with Hutcheson, the principle of compassion for the happiness of others with the same moral sense that he assumed.

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perfection (however empty, however indeterminate, therefore useless it is, in order to discover in the immense field of possible reality the greatest sum appropriate for us, however much it, in order specifically to distinguish the reality, of which here the discussion is, from every other, has an unavoidable propensity to turn in the circle, and cannot avoid secretly to presume the morality which it is to explain) nevertheless better than the theological concept, to derive it from a divine, all-perfect will, not merely because we do not, after all, intuit its perfection, but can only derive it from our concepts, among which that of morality is the foremost, but because, if we do not do this (as it then, if it happened, would be a coarse circle in the explanation), the concept still remaining to us of its will from the qualities of eager desire for glory and dominion, combined with the fearful representations of power and of vengefulness, would have to make the foundation for a system of morals which would be directly set against morality.

If I, however, had to choose between the concept of the moral sense and that of perfection in general (both of which at least do not infringe on morality, although they are not at all suitable for the purpose of supporting it as foundations): then I would decide for the latter,

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perfection. (This concept is exceedingly unfounded, indeterminate, and therefore useless for discovering in the immense field of possible reality the greatest sum appropriate for us. The concept also has an unavoidable tendency, in specifically distinguishing reality, which is here under discussion, from every other, to turn around in a circle and cannot avoid secretly presuming the morality that the concept is to explain.) Despite the drawbacks of this concept of perfection, it is still better than the theological concept, still better than deriving morality from a divine all-perfect will. The concept of perfection is better not merely because we cannot of course see the divine will's perfection but instead can only derive that perfection from our concepts, chief among our concepts being that of morality. Rather, the concept of perfection is also better because, if we do not do this derivation (which, if we did do it, would amount to a crude circle in the explanation), the concept left to us of the divine will would have to be made the foundation for a system of morals; but that concept left to us would be made up of the attributes of eager desire for glory and dominion, combined with terrible thoughts of power and of thirst for vengeance, and a concept made up of such attributes would pit the concept directly against morality.

But if I had to choose between the concept of moral sense and that of perfection in general (both of which at least do no harm to morality, although they are not at all suited to support morality as its foundations), then I would decide for the latter.

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because it, since it at least pulls the decision of the question away from sensibility and to the court of pure reason, although it also here decides nothing, nevertheless preserves unfalsified the indeterminate idea (of a will good in itself) for closer determination.

[ The inadequacy of heteronomy in general ]

For the rest, I believe to be able to be excused from a lengthy refutation of all these doctrines. It is so easy, it is even by those, whose office demands it, to declare themselves nevertheless for one of these theories (because listeners do not really want to put up with postponement of judgment), even presumably so well seen, that by this only superfluous labor would take place. What, however, interests us here more is to know: that these principles set up everywhere nothing but heteronomy of the will as the first ground of morality and for that very reason must necessarily fail to do their end.

Everywhere, where an object of the will must be laid as ground in order to prescribe to this the rule that determines it, there the rule is nothing but heteronomy; the imperative is conditional, namely: if or because one wills this object, one ought act thus or so; hence it can never morally, i.e. categorically, command. Whether now the object by means of inclination, as with the principle of one's own happiness,

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I would choose the concept of perfection because the concept of perfection, since it at least transfers the decision of the question from sensibility to the court of pure reason, although here the concept also decides nothing, nevertheless preserves unfalsified the vague idea (of a will good in itself) for more precise specification.

[ The inadequacy of heteronomy in general ]

Regarding the remaining rational grounds for morality, I believe I can be excused from a lengthy refutation of all these doctrines. It is so easy to refute these doctrines that even those whose job requires that they declare themselves for one of these theories (because listeners will not put up with a postponement of judgment) presumably see through the theories, so that refuting the theories here would only be superfluous labor. What interests us more, however, is to know the following: that these principles everywhere set up nothing but heteronomy of the will as the first ground of morality, and that for just this reason these principles must necessarily fail in their purpose.

In all cases in which an object of the will must be made the basis of action in order to prescribe to the will the rule that is to guide the will, the rule is nothing but heteronomy; the imperative is conditional, namely: if or because you want this object, you ought to act in such and such a way. Therefore, the imperative can never command morally, that is, categorically. Whether the object controls the will by means of inclination, as with the principle of your own happiness,

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or by means of reason directed to objects of our possible willing in general, in the principle of perfection, determines the will, in this way the will never determines itself immediately through the representation of the action, but only through the incentive which the anticipated effect of the action has on the will; I ought do something, for this reason, because I will something else, and here must still another law in my subject be laid as ground, according to which I necessarily will this other, which law in turn requires an imperative that limits this maxim. For, because the impulse, which the representation of an object possible through our powers is to exercise according to the natural constitution of the subject on its will, belongs to the nature of the subject, whether it is of sensibility (of inclination and of taste) or of understanding and of reason, which according to the special arrangement of their nature exercise themselves with delight on an object, in this way nature strictly speaking gives the law, which, as one such must not only be cognized and proved through experience, therefore is in itself contingent and for apodictic practical rule, of such kind the moral must be, becomes by this unfit, but it is always only heteronomy of the will, the will gives not to itself, but a foreign impulse gives the law to it by means of a

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or controls the will by means of reason directed to objects of our possible willing in general, in the principle of perfection, the will never controls itself immediately by the thought of an action. Instead, the will controls itself only by the incentive which the anticipated effect of the action has on the will; I ought do something just because I want something else, and here yet another law must be put in my subject as a ground according to which I necessarily will this other thing that I want, and this other law again requires an imperative which would limit this maxim. The reason for this lack of direct self-control by the will is the following: the thought of an object that we can bring about through our own powers is to exert an impulse on the subject's will; this exertion occurs according to the natural constitution of the subject; so the impulse belongs to the nature of the subject; whether the impulse belongs to the nature of the subject's sensibility (of inclination and taste) or to the nature of the subject's understanding and reason, these features of the subject, according to the special arrangement of their nature, allow the subject to take delight in an object. In this way, it is, properly speaking, nature that would give the law. This law, as one given by nature, must be recognized and proved through experience, and so is contingent in itself. Because of this contingency, this law given by nature becomes unfit to be an absolutely necessary practical rule, which is the kind of practical rule that the moral rule must be. Not only is this law given by nature contingent and so unfit to be a moral law, but this law given by nature is always only heteronomy of the will; the will does not give the law to itself, but rather an alien impulse gives the law to the will by means of a

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nature of the subject attuned to the receptivity of it.

[ Review and Preview: what has been proved and what is still to be proved ]

The absolutely good will, whose principle must be a categorical imperative, will therefore, undetermined in view of all objects, contain merely the form of willing in general and undoubtedly as autonomy, i.e. the suitability of the maxim of any good will to make itself into universal law, is itself the sole law that the will of any rational being imposes on itself, without putting any incentive and interest of it underneath as ground.

How such a synthetic practical proposition a priori is possible and why it is necessary, is a problem whose solution lies no longer within the boundaries of the metaphysics of morals, also we have its truth here not maintained, much less presumed to have a proof of it in our power. We showed only through development of the once generally in vogue going concept of morality: that an autonomy of the will attaches to it in an unavoidable way, or rather lies as ground. Who, therefore, holds morality to be something, and not to be a chimerical idea without truth, must at the same time admit its above-cited principle. This

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nature of the subject that is disposed to receive the law.

[ Review and Preview: what has been proved and what is still to be proved ]

So the absolutely good will, whose principle must be a categorical imperative and whose choices are not controlled by any objects, will contain merely the form of willing in general. Indeed, the absolutely good will contains this form of willing in general as autonomy. That is to say, the suitability of the maxim of any good will to make itself into a universal law is itself the sole law that the will of any rational being imposes on itself, and the rational being imposes this law on itself without making any incentive or interest of the maxim the basis of the law.

How such a synthetic practical proposition a priori is possible and why the proposition is necessary, is a problem whose solution no longer lies within the boundaries of the metaphysics of morals. We have also not asserted the proposition's truth, much less pretending to have within our power a proof of the truth of the proposition. We only showed by analyzing the generally accepted concept of morality that an autonomy of the will, in an unavoidable way, attaches to the will or, rather, is the ground of the will. So, whoever takes morality to be something and not to be a wildly fanciful idea without truth must at the same time admit morality's principle of autonomy that was cited above. So this

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section was, therefore, just in this way, like the first, merely analytic. That now morality is no phantom, which then follows if the categorical imperative and with it the autonomy of the will is true and as a principle a priori absolutely necessary, requires a possible synthetic use of pure practical reason, which we, however, may not venture upon without sending on before a critique of this rational faculty itself, of which we in the last section have to present the leading features sufficient for our purpose.


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section was merely analytic, just like the first section. Now, that morality is not a phantom, which follows if the categorical imperative and with it the autonomy of the will is true and is absolutely necessary as a principle a priori, requires a possible synthetic use of pure practical reason. But we may not venture on this use of pure practical reason without first giving a critique of this rational faculty itself. Sufficient for our purpose, we have to present the main features of such a critique in the last section.


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Third Section.

Transition
from the
metaphysics of morals to the critique
of pure practical reason.

The concept of freedom
is the
key to the explanation of the autonomy
of the will.
[ Concepts of freedom: positive and negative ]

The will is a kind of causality of living beings, so far as they are rational, and freedom would be that quality of this causality, since it can be effective independently of foreign causes determining it; just as natural necessity the quality of the causality of all reasonless beings to be determined to activity through the influence of foreign causes.

The above-cited explanation of freedom is negative and, therefore, in order to look into its essence, unfruitful; but there flows out of it a positive concept of it, which is so much more comprehensive and more fruitful. Since the concept of a causality carries with it that of laws, according to which through something which we name cause, something

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Third Section.

Transition
from the
metaphysics of morals to the critique
of pure practical reason.

The concept of freedom
is the
key to the explanation of the autonomy
of the will.
[ Concepts of freedom: positive and negative ]

The will is a kind of causality that living beings have insofar as they are rational. Freedom would be that property of this causality by which the causality can be effective independently of alien causes controlling the will as a causality. Similarly, natural necessity is the property of causality of all non-rational beings to be directed to activity by the influence of alien causes.

The above explanation of freedom is negative and is therefore unfruitful for seeing into the essence of freedom. But out of this negative explanation there flows a positive concept of freedom which is so much richer and more fruitful. The concept of a causality carries with it the concept of laws according to which, by something that we call a cause, something

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else, namely the effect, must be posited: in this way is freedom, although it is not a quality of the will according to natural laws, for that reason still not entirely lawless, but must rather be a causality according to immutable laws, but of special kind; for otherwise a free will would be an impossibility. Natural necessity was a heteronomy of efficient causes; for each effect was possible only according to the law that something else determined the efficient cause to causality; what really, then, can the freedom of the will be other than autonomy, i.e. the quality of the will to be itself a law? The proposition, however: the will is in all actions itself a law, signifies only the principle to act according to no other maxim except which can have itself also as a universal law as object. This is, however, just the formula of the categorical imperative and the principle of morality: thus is a free will and a will under moral laws one and the same.

If, therefore, freedom of the will is presupposed, then morality follows together with its principle from that through mere analysis of its concept. Nevertheless, the latter is still always a synthetic proposition: an absolutely good will is that one whose maxim can always contain itself, considered as universal law, in itself,

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else, namely the effect, must be assumed as a fact. Because the concepts of causality and law are related in this way, although freedom is not a property of the will according to natural laws, freedom is still not entirely lawless. Instead of operating according to natural laws, freedom must rather be a causality according to unchanging laws, but unchanging laws of a special kind; for a free will would be an impossibility if it did not operate according to some kind of law. Natural necessity was a heteronomy of efficient causes; for each effect was possible only according to the law that something else determined the efficient cause to become causally active. What, then, can freedom of the will possibly be other than autonomy, that is, the property of the will to be a law to itself? But the proposition that the will is in all actions itself a law signifies only the principle to act according to no other maxim except one that can also have itself as a universal law as an object. This principle, however, is just the formula of the categorical imperative and the principle of morality. So a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same.

If, therefore, freedom of the will is presupposed, then morality together with morality's principle follow from that presupposition merely by analysis of the presupposition's concept. Nevertheless, the latter, morality's principle, is still always a synthetic proposition: an absolutely good will is a will whose maxim always can contain itself, considered as a universal law, in itself,

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for through analysis of the concept of an absolutely good will can that quality of the maxim not be found. Such synthetic propositions, however, are only possible by this, that both cognitions are joined to each other through the connection with a third in which they are reciprocally to be found. The positive concept of freedom provides this third, which cannot be, as with the physical causes, the nature of the world of sense (in which concept the concepts of something as cause in relation to something else as effect come together). What this third is, to which freedom directs us, and of which we have a priori an idea, lets itself here right now not yet be shown, and to make comprehensible the deduction of the concept of freedom from pure practical reason, with it also the possibility of a categorical imperative, but requires still some preparation.

Freedom
must as quality of the will
of all rational beings
be presupposed.
[ The presupposition of freedom ]

It is not enough that we ascribe to our will, it be from what ground, freedom, if we do not have sufficient ground to attribute the very same also to all rational beings.

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for through analysis of the concept of an absolutely good will that property of the maxim (i.e., the maxim's property to be able to contain itself as a universal law) cannot be found. Such synthetic propositions, however, are only possible by this: that both cognitions are bound to each other through the connection with a third in which both cognitions are to be found. The positive concept of freedom provides this third cognition. Unlike in cases dealing with physical causes, in this case this third cognition cannot be the nature of the world of sense (in which concept the concept of something as a cause in relation to something else as an effect come together). We cannot yet show here right now what this third cognition is to which freedom points us and of which we have an a priori idea. We also cannot yet make the deduction of the concept of freedom from pure practical reason comprehensible and, along with this deduction, cannot yet make the possibility of a categorical imperative comprehensible. Still further preparation is required in order to identify the third cognition and in order to make the deduction and possibility comprehensible.

Freedom
must as a property of the will
of all rational beings
be presupposed.
[ The presupposition of freedom ]

It is not enough that we ascribe, for whatever reason, freedom to our will. We also need to have sufficient reason to attribute the very same freedom of the will to all rational beings.

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For since morality serves as law for us merely as for rational beings, in this way must it hold also for all rational beings, and since it must be derived only from the quality of freedom, in this way must also freedom as a quality of the will of all rational beings be proved, and it is not enough to demonstrate it from certain supposed experiences of human nature (although this also is absolutely impossible and it can be demonstrated only a priori), but one must prove it as belonging to the activity of rational beings in general endowed with a will. I say now: Any being, that can act not otherwise than under the idea of freedom, is just for that reason, in practical regard, actually free, i.e. all laws that are inseparably joined with freedom hold for it, just in this way, as if its will also in itself, and validly in theoretical philosophy, would be declared as free*). Now I maintain: that we, to each

*) This way, to assume, as sufficient to our purpose, freedom only as laid down by rational beings in their actions merely in the idea as ground, I suggest for this reason so that I may not make myself bound to prove freedom also in its theoretical respect. For, even if this latter is left undecided, then still the same laws hold for a being that can act not otherwise than under the idea of its own freedom that would bind a being that really were free. We can thus liberate ourselves here from the load that weighs down the theory.

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For, since morality serves as a law for us only because we are rational beings, morality must also hold for all rational beings; and, since morality must be derived merely from the property of freedom, freedom must also be proved as a property of the will of all rational beings. In addition, it is not enough to demonstrate freedom from certain alleged experiences of human nature (although this is also absolutely impossible and freedom can only be demonstrated a priori); instead, you must prove freedom as belonging to the activity of rational beings in general endowed with a will. I say now: any being that cannot act other than under the idea of freedom, is, just for that reason, in a practical respect, actually free. That is to say, all laws that are inseparably bound up with freedom are laws that hold for such a being just as if the being's will also in itself and in theoretical philosophy would be validly declared to be free.* Now I maintain: that we

* I suggest that to assume this way of only taking the mere idea of freedom to be the basis for the actions of rational beings is sufficient for our purpose. I suggest this so that I may not also be bound to prove freedom in its theoretical aspect. For, even if this theoretical aspect of proving freedom is left undecided, the same laws that hold for a being that cannot act except under the idea of the being's own freedom are laws that still would hold for a being that was actually free. So we can here free ourselves from the burden that presses on the theory.

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rational being that has a will, must necessarily lend also the idea of freedom under which it alone acts. For in such a being we conceive a reason that is practical, i.e. has causality in view of its objects. Now, one cannot possibly conceive a reason that, with its own consciousness in view of its judgments, would receive direction from elsewhere, for then the subject would not to its reason, but to an impulse, ascribe the determination of the power of judgment. It must look at itself as authoress of its principles independently of foreign influences, consequently, it must be looked at by itself as practical reason, or as a will of a rational being, as free; i.e. its will can only under the idea of freedom be a will of its own and must therefore in practical respect be attributed to all rational beings.

Of the interest,
which to the ideas of morality
attaches.
[ A vicious circle? ]

We have at last traced the determinate concept of morality back to the idea of freedom; this, however, we were not able even to prove as something actual in ourselves and in human nature; we saw only that we must presuppose it if we

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must also necessarily lend to each rational being that has a will the idea of freedom under which alone the being can act. For in such a being we conceive of a reason that is practical, that is, has a causality with respect to its objects. Now, you cannot possibly conceive of a reason that, with its own consciousness with regard to its judgments, receives direction from elsewhere, for then the subject would ascribe the control of the power of judgment not to the subject's reason but instead to an impulse in the subject. Reason must view itself as the authoress of its principles, independently of alien influences. Consequently, reason, as practical reason or as the will of a rational being, must be viewed by itself as free. That is to say, the will of a rational being can only be a will of its own under the idea of freedom and so such a will must, for practical purposes, be attributed to all rational beings.

Of the interest,
which to the ideas of morality
attaches.
[ A vicious circle? ]

We have at last traced the specific concept of morality back to the idea of freedom. We were not able, however, to prove this idea of freedom to be something actual, not even in ourselves and in human nature. We only saw that we must presuppose the idea if we

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ourselves want to conceive a being as rational and endowed with consciousness of its causality in view of actions, i.e. with a will, and in this way we find that we must from just the same ground attribute to each being endowed with reason and will this quality of determining itself to action under the idea of its freedom.

There flowed, however, from the presupposition of these ideas also the consciousness of a law to act: that the subjective ground propositions of actions, i.e. maxims, must always be taken so that they also hold objectively, i.e. universally as ground propositions, and therefore can serve for our own universal lawgiving. Why, however, should I then subject myself to this principle and, to be sure, as a rational being in general, therefore also by this all other beings endowed with reason? I will admit that no interest impels me to this, for that would give no categorical imperative; but I must still necessarily take an interest in this and look into how it comes about; for this ought is properly a willing that holds under the condition for each rational being, if reason with it were practical without hindrance; for beings, who, as we, are still affected through sensibility as incentives of different kind, with whom what reason for itself alone would do does not always happen,

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want to conceive of a being as rational and with consciousness of its causality with regard to actions, that is, as endowed with a will. And so we find that we must, for the very same reason, attribute this property, namely, the property of directing itself to action under the idea of its freedom, to each being endowed with reason and a will.

But from the presupposition of these ideas there also flowed the consciousness of a law of acting: that the subjective basic principles of actions, that is, maxims, must always be taken in such a way that they also hold objectively, that is, hold universally as basic principles, and therefore can serve for our own universal lawgiving. But why then ought I subject myself to this principle and indeed, as a rational being in general, subject therefore also all other rational beings endowed with a will to this principle? I am willing to admit that no interest impels me to this subjection; for that would give rise to no categorical imperative. But I must still necessarily take an interest in this subjection and look into how it comes about; for this ought is actually a want that holds for each rational being under the condition that in the case of each being reason would be practical without hindrances. For beings such as ourselves, who are still affected by sensibility, as incentives of a different kind, and for whom what reason for itself alone would do does not always happen,

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that necessity of action is called only an ought, and the subjective necessity is distinguished from the objective.

It appears, therefore, as if in the idea of freedom we strictly speaking only presupposed the moral law, namely the principle of the autonomy of the will itself, and could not prove for itself its reality and objective necessity, and there we would have gained to be sure still always something quite considerable by this, that we at least had determined the genuine principle more accurately than indeed otherwise would occur, but in view of its validity and of the practical necessity to subject ourselves to it, we would have come farther for nothing; for we could give no satisfactory answer to him who asked us, why then the universal validity of our maxim, as a law, must be the limiting condition of our actions, and on what we ground the worth which we attribute to this way of acting which is to be so great that there can be no higher interest anywhere, and how it comes to pass that the human being believes to feel by this alone its personal worth against which that of an agreeable or disagreeable condition is to hold for nothing.

Of course we very well find that we can take an interest in a personal characteristic that

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that necessity of action is only called an ought and the subjective necessity is distinguished from the objective necessity.

So it appears as if we actually only presupposed the moral law, namely, the principle of autonomy of the will itself, in the idea of freedom and could not prove for itself the reality and objective necessity of the moral law. If that is indeed all that we have done, then we would still have gained something quite considerable in the process; we would at least have specified the genuine moral principle moral precisely than otherwise would have been done. But with regard to the validity of the moral principle and the practical necessity of subjecting ourselves to that principle, we would have gotten no farther along; for we could give no satisfactory answer to someone who asked the following questions. Why, then, must the universal validity of our maxim, as a law, be the limiting condition of our actions? On what do we base the worth that we attribute to this way of acting, a worth which is to be so great that there can be no higher interest anywhere? And how does it come to pass that the human being believes that she feels her personal worth to reside only in this subjection to moral law, a worth against which the worth of a pleasant or unpleasant condition is held to be nothing?

We surely do find that we can take an interest in a personal characteristic which

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carries with itself no interest at all of the condition, if only the former makes us capable of partaking of the latter, in case reason should effect its distribution, i.e. that the mere worthiness to be happy, even without the motive of partaking of this happiness, can interest for itself: but this judgment is in fact only the effect of the already presupposed importance of moral laws (when we separate ourselves through the idea of freedom from all empirical interest); but we can not yet discern in this way that we ought to separate ourselves from this, i.e. consider ourselves as free in acting, and in this way nevertheless take ourselves to be subject to certain laws, in order to find a worth merely in our person, which can compensate us for all loss of that which provides a worth to our condition, and how this is possible, therefore from where the moral law binds.

There appears here, one must freely admit it, a kind of circle, from which, as it seems, there is no coming out. We assume ourselves in the order of efficient causes as free in order to think ourselves in the order of ends under moral laws, and we think ourselves afterwards as subject to these laws because we have attributed to ourselves the freedom of the will; for freedom and individual lawgiving of the will are both

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carries with itself no interest in any condition, if only the former characteristic makes us capable of sharing in the latter condition in case reason were to bring about the distribution of the condition. That is to say, the mere worthiness to be happy, even without the motive of sharing in this happiness, can itself be of interest to us. But this judgment of worthiness is in fact only the effect of the already presupposed importance of moral laws (when we separate ourselves from all empirical interest through the idea of freedom). But in this way we cannot yet see into the following: that we ought to separate ourselves from this empirical interest, that is, ought to consider ourselves to be free in acting and so ought nevertheless to hold ourselves to be subject to certain laws in order to find a worth merely in our person, a worth that can compensate us for the loss of everything that gives worth to our condition; how this separation is possible; and so from what source or on what basis the moral law binds us.

You must freely admit that there appears to be a circle here from which it seems there is no recovery. We take ourselves to be free in the order of efficient causes in order to think ourselves in the order of ends under moral laws, and we afterwards think ourselves as subject to these laws because we have attributed freedom of the will to ourselves, for freedom and individual lawgiving of the will are both

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autonomy, therefore reciprocal concepts, of which, however, just for that reason, one cannot be used in order to explain the other and to specify the ground of it, but at most only in order for logical purpose to bring different appearing representations of precisely the same object to a single concept (like different fractions of equal value to the littlest expression).

[ Escaping from the vicious circle: the two standpoints ]

One recourse, however, remains over to us still, namely to search: whether we, when we think ourselves through freedom as a priori efficient causes, do not take in a different standpoint than when we represent ourselves according to our actions as effects that we see before our eyes.

It is a remark which to post quite certainly no subtle reflection is required, but of which one can assume that indeed the commonest understanding, although according to its way through an obscure distinction of power of judgment that it names feeling, may make it: that all representations that come to us without our choice (like those of sense) give the objects to us to cognize exactly so as they affect us, while what they may be in themselves remains unknown to us, and therefore that, as concerns representations of this kind, we can by this, even with the most strenuous

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autonomy, and so they are reciprocal concepts. But, precisely because they are reciprocal concepts, one of them cannot be used to explain the other and to specify the ground of the other. At most, one concept can only be used for logical purposes to reduce different appearing representations of the very same object to a single concept (as different fractions of equal value are reduced to the simplest expression).

[ Escaping from the vicious circle: the two standpoints ]

But one way out of the circle still remains open to us, namely, to try to find: whether we, when we think ourselves through freedom as a priori efficient causes, do not take a different standpoint than we do when we represent ourselves according to our actions as effects that we see before our eyes.

No subtle reflection at all is required to post the following remark; indeed, you can assume that even the most common understanding may make the remark, although such an understanding makes the remark in its own way through an obscure distinction of the power of judgment which it calls feeling. The remark is this: all ideas that we receive involuntarily (like those ideas we receive through the sense organs) give us no knowledge of objects except as the objects affect us; what the objects may be in themselves remains unknown to us. So, as far as this involuntary kind of ideas is concerned, we can, even with the most strenuous

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attentiveness and distinctness that the understanding may ever add, still merely arrive at the cognition of appearances, never of things in themselves. As soon as this distinction (possibly merely through the noticed difference between the representations that are given to us from somewhere else, and with which we are passive, from those that we bring forth only from ourselves and with which we prove our activity) is once made, then it follows of itself that one must admit and assume behind the appearances yet still something else which is not appearance, namely the things in themselves, although we resign of ourselves, that, since they can never become known to us, but always only as they affect us, we cannot step nearer to them and can never know what they are in themselves. This must provide a, although crude, distinction of a world of sense from the world of understanding, of which the first according to difference of sensibility in various observers of the world also can be very different, meanwhile the second, which underlies it as ground, always remains the same. Even itself and, to be sure, according to the knowledge that the human being has through inner sensation of itself, it may not presume to cognize how it is in itself. For since it after all does not as it were procure itself and gets its concept not a priori but empirically, in this way it is natural that it can also draw in information of itself through the inner sense and

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attentiveness and clarity that the understanding may ever add, still only arrive at knowledge of appearances, never at knowledge of the things in themselves. As soon as this distinction (perhaps merely through the noticed difference between the ideas that are given to us from somewhere else and with which we are passive and the ideas that we produce only from ourselves and with which we prove our activity) is made once, then it follows of itself that you must admit and assume that behind the appearances there is after all still something else that is not appearance, namely, the things in themselves. Although we admit and assume the existence of these things in themselves, we resign ourselves to the fact that, since they can never become known to us in themselves but always only by how they affect us, we cannot get closer to them and can never know what they are in themselves. This must provide a distinction, although crude, between a world of sense and the world of understanding. The first, the world of sense, according to difference of sensibility in various observers, can also be very diverse. Meanwhile, the second, the world of understanding, which is the basis for the world of sense, always remains the same. Even the human being herself cannot presume to know, by the knowledge she has of herself through inner sensation, what she is in herself. For since she after all does not, so to speak, create herself, and she gets her concept of herself not a priori but instead empirically, it is natural that she also gets information about herself through the inner sense and

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consequently only through the appearance of its nature and the way in which its consciousness is affected, meanwhile it nevertheless in a necessary way must assume beyond this characteristic, put together from nothing but appearances, of its own subject still something else underlying as ground, namely its I, such as it may in itself be constituted, and must thus class itself in view of the mere perception and receptivity of sensations with the world of sense, in view of that, however, which in it may be pure activity (of that which arrives in consciousness not at all by affecting the senses, but immediately), class itself with the intellectual world which it, however, knows no further.

The reflective human being must draw a conclusion of this kind from all things that may appear to it; presumably it is also to be found in the most common understanding, which, as is known, is very inclined to expect behind the objects of the senses still always something invisible, something active for itself, but again by this ruins it, that it soon makes this invisible itself again sensible, i.e. wants to make into an object of intuition, and thus becomes by this not by a degree wiser.

Now the human being actually finds in itself a capacity by which it distinguishes itself from all other things, even from

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consequently only through the appearance of her nature and through the way in which her consciousness is affected. Meanwhile, she must still necessarily assume that beyond this constitution, put together from nothing but appearances, of her own subject there is something else that is the basis of her constitution. This basis of her natural makeup or constitution is her I or ego, in whatever way it may be constituted in itself. So, with regard to the mere perception and receptivity of sensations she must count herself as belonging to the world of sense; but, with regard to what may be pure activity in her (to what arrives in consciousness not by affecting the senses but instead to what arrives in consciousness immediately), she must count herself as belonging to the world of the intellect. She knows nothing further, however, about this latter, intellectual world.

A reflective human being must draw a conclusion of this kind from all things that may appear to her. Presumably, this conclusion is also to be found in the most common understanding which, as is well-known, is always very inclined to expect something invisible and active in itself behind the objects of the senses. But the common understanding again corrupts this invisible something by wanting to make the invisible something into a sensuous thing again, that is, by wanting to make the invisible something into an object of intuition. And so, by trying to make something invisible into something sensuous, the common understanding does not become even a little bit wiser.

Now, the human being actually finds in herself a capacity by which she distinguishes herself from all other things, and even from

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itself, so far as it is affected by objects, and that is reason. This, as pure self-activity, is even in this raised still above the understanding: that, although this is also self-activity and does not, like sense, contain merely representations that only arise when one is affected by things (therefore passive), it can nevertheless produce from its activity no other concepts than those that in this way serve merely to bring sensuous representations under rules and to unite them by this in a consciousness, without which use of sensibility it would think nothing at all, while on the other hand, reason under the name of ideas shows such a pure spontaneity that it goes out by this far beyond anything that sensibility can only deliver to it, and proves in this its most eminent occupations, to distinguish the world of sense and the world of understanding from each other, by this, however, to prescribe to the understanding itself its boundaries.

For this reason a rational being must look at itself as an intelligence (thus not on behalf of its lower powers), not as belonging to the world of sense, but to the world of understanding; therefore, it has two standpoints from which it can consider itself and can cognize laws of the use of its powers, consequently of all its actions, once, so far as it belongs to the world of sense,

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herself so far as she is affected by objects; and this capacity is reason. This reason, as pure self-activity, is even in this self-activity still raised above the understanding in this way: that reason in self-activity is higher because, although the understanding is also self-activity and does not, as sense does, merely contain ideas that only arise when you are affected by things (and are therefore passive), the understanding nevertheless can produce from its activity no concepts other than those that serve merely to bring sensuous representations under rules and that, by bringing the representations under these rules, unite the representations in a single consciousness; without this use of sensibility, the understanding would think nothing at all. On the other hand, reason, under the name of ideas, shows such a pure spontaneity that the human being, by this spontaneity, goes out far beyond anything that sensibility only can provide to the human being and showcases reason's foremost occupations by distinguishing the world of sense from the world of understanding; in making this distinction, however, reason marks out the boundaries for the understanding itself.

Because of this distinction that reason makes, a rational being, as an intelligence (so not from the perspective of the rational being's lower powers), must look at itself as belonging not to the world of sense but instead as belonging to the world of the understanding. So the rational being has two standpoints from which it can consider itself and can recognize laws for the use of its powers and, consequently, can recognize laws governing all of its actions. First, as far as the rational being belongs to the world of sense,

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under natural laws (heteronomy), secondly, as belonging to the intelligible world, under laws that are independent of nature, not empirical, but are grounded merely in reason.

As a rational being, therefore as belonging to the intelligible world, the human being can think the causality of its own will never otherwise than under the idea of freedom; for independence from the determinate causes of the world of sense (of such kind reason must always attribute to itself) is freedom. Now, with the idea of freedom the concept of autonomy is inseparably connected, with this, however, the universal principle of morality, which underlies in the idea all actions of rational beings as ground just in this way as natural law all appearances.

Now is the suspicion that we above made astir removed, as if a hidden circle were contained in our inference from freedom to autonomy and from this to the moral law, namely, that perhaps we laid the idea of freedom as ground only for the sake of the moral law in order to infer this afterwards from freedom in turn, therefore of that could provide no ground at all, but only as begging of a principle that friendly souls will probably gladly allow to us, which we, however, could

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the rational being can consider itself as under laws of nature (heteronomy). Secondly, as belonging to the intelligible world, the rational being can consider itself as under laws that are independent of nature and are not empirical; instead, these independent and non-empirical laws are grounded only in reason.

As a rational being, and therefore as a being belonging to the intelligible world, the human being can never think of the causality of its own will except as under the idea of freedom; for independence from the determinate causes of the world of sense (which is the kind of independence that reason must always attribute to itself) is freedom. Now, with the idea of freedom the concept of autonomy is inseparably connected, but the concept of autonomy is inseparably connected with the universal principle of morality; and the principle of morality underlies in the idea as a ground all actions of rational beings just as natural law, as an idea and ground, underlies all appearances.

The suspicion that we stirred up earlier has now been removed. The suspicion was that a hidden circle might have been contained in our inference from freedom to autonomy and then from autonomy to the moral law. In particular, the circle might have been that we perhaps made the idea of freedom a ground only for the sake of the moral law in order afterwards in turn to conclude the moral law from freedom. So, because of this hidden circle, we could provide no ground at all for the moral law; instead, we could only provide the moral law as a begging of a principle that friendly souls will probably gladly grant us, but which we

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never set up as a provable proposition. For now we see that when we think ourselves as free, in this way we transfer ourselves as members into the world of understanding and cognize the autonomy of the will together with its consequence, morality; if we, however, think ourselves as obligated, in this way we consider ourselves as belonging to the world of sense and yet at the same time to the world of understanding.

How is a categorical imperative
possible?
[ How is a categorical imperative possible? ]

The rational being classes itself as intelligence with the world of understanding, and only as an efficient cause belonging to this does it name its causality a will. From the other side, it is conscious of itself, however, also as a piece of the world of sense, in which its actions as mere appearances of that causality are found, but of which possibility from this, which we do not know, cannot be looked into, but in which place those actions as determined through other appearances, namely eager desires and inclinations, must be looked into as belonging to the world of sense. As a mere member of the world of understanding, all my actions would thus be in perfect conformity with the principle of autonomy of the pure will; as a mere piece of the world of sense, they would have to be taken as wholly in conformity with the natural law of eager desires and inclinations, therefore with the heteronomy of

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never could set up as a provable proposition. For we now see that, when we think ourselves as free, we transport ourselves as members into the world of understanding and recognize the autonomy of the will together with its consequence, morality. But when we think ourselves as obligated, then we consider ourselves as belonging to the world of sense and yet at the same time as belonging to the world of understanding.

How is a categorical imperative
possible?
[ How is a categorical imperative possible? ]

The rational being, as an intelligence, counts itself as belonging to the world of understanding, and the rational being, merely as an efficient cause belonging to this world of understanding, calls its causality a will. But from a different point of view, the rational being is also conscious of itself as a piece of the world of sense in which the rational being's actions, as mere appearances of that causality, are found. But we cannot comprehend the possibility of these actions as effects of that causality with which we have no acquaintance; instead, in place of that comprehension, we must understand those actions as determined by other appearances, namely, by eager desires and inclinations, and as belonging to the world of sense. So, as only a member of the world of understanding, all my actions would be in perfect conformity with the principle of autonomy of the pure will; as only a piece of the world of sense, my actions would have to be taken as in complete conformity with the natural law of eager desires and inclinations, and therefore with the heteronomy of

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nature. (The first would rest on the highest principle of morality, the second of happiness.) But because the world of understanding contains the ground of the world of sense, therefore also of its laws, thus is in view of my will (which wholly belongs to the world of understanding) immediately lawgiving, and thus must also be thought as such, in this way I will cognize myself as subject as an intelligence, although on the other side as a being belonging to the world of sense, nevertheless to the law of the first, i.e. of reason, which contains in the idea of freedom the law of it, and thus to autonomy of the will, consequently must look at the laws of the world of understanding as imperatives for me and the actions in conformity with this principle as duties.

And in this way categorical imperatives are possible, by this, that the idea of freedom makes me into a member of an intelligible world in which, if I were only such, all my actions would always be in conformity with the autonomy of the will, but since I intuit myself at the same time as a member of the world of sense, ought to be in conformity with, which categorical ought represents a synthetic proposition a priori, by this, that to my will affected by sensuous eager desires still is added the idea of just the same will, but pure, belonging to the world of understanding, and for itself practical,

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nature. (The first actions, those of the world of understanding, would rest on the highest principle of morality; the second actions, those in the world of sense, would rest on the principle of happiness.) But the world of understanding contains the ground of the world of sense and therefore also the ground of the laws of the world of sense; thus, the world of understanding is immediately lawgiving with respect to my will (which belongs entirely to the world of understanding); so the world of understanding must also be thought as lawgiving; for these reasons, I will have to recognize that, although from another point of view I am a being belonging to the world of sense, I am nevertheless subject as an intelligence to the law of the first world, the world of understanding, that is, of reason. Reason contains the law of the world of understanding in reason's idea of freedom and so I will also have to recognize that I am subject as an intelligence to the autonomy of the will. Consequently, I will have to look at the laws of the world of understanding as imperatives for me and have to look at the actions that are in conformity with this principle as duties.

And it is in this way that categorical imperatives are possible. They are possible because the idea of freedom turns me into a member of an intelligible world by which, if I were only such a member, all my actions would always be in conformity with the autonomy of the will. But, since I at the same time intuit myself as a member of the world of sense, my actions ought always to conform with the autonomy of the will. This categorical ought represents a synthetic proposition a priori because to my will that is affected by sensuous eager desires is added the idea of just the same will, but pure, in itself practical, and belonging to the world of understanding.

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which contains the highest condition of the first according to reason; approximately in the way that concepts of the understanding, that for themselves signify nothing but lawful form in general, are added to the intuitions of the world of sense and by this make possible synthetic propositions a priori, on which all cognition of a nature rests.

The practical use of common human reason confirms the correctness of this deduction. There is no one, even the most wicked miscreant, if he is only otherwise accustomed to use reason, who does not, when one puts before him examples of honesty of purpose, of steadfastness in observance of good maxims, of compassion and of general benevolence (and connected moreover with great sacrifices of advantages and convenience), wish, that he also might be so disposed. He can, however, only because of his inclinations and impulses, not well bring it about in himself; by which he nevertheless at the same time wishes to be free from such inclinations burdensome to himself. He shows by this, therefore, that he, with a will that is free from impulses of sensibility, transfers himself in thought into an altogether different order of things than that of his eager desires in the field of sensibility, because he can expect from that wish no satisfaction of eager desires, therefore no satisfactory condition for any of his actual or otherwise

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This pure will contains, according to reason, the highest condition of the first, the sensuously affected, will. This addition is approximately like the way in which concepts of the understanding, which in themselves signify nothing but lawful form in general, are added to the intuitions of the world of sense. By their addition to intuitions, these concepts of the understanding make synthetic propositions a priori possible, and it is on such propositions that all knowledge of a nature rests.

The practical use of common human reason confirms the correctness of this deduction. There is no one, even the most vile miscreant as long as she is otherwise accustomed to using reason, who, when you present her with examples of honesty in intentions, of steadfastness in obeying good maxims, of compassion and of common kindness (and joined moreover with great sacrifices of advantages and convenience), does not wish that she might also be so disposed. But, only because of her inclinations and impulses, she cannot bring these examples fully about in herself; although she does not do well in realizing the examples in herself, she still wishes to be free of such inclinations that are burdensome to her. She proves by this wish, therefore, that she, with a will that is free from impulses of sensibility, transfers herself in thought into an order of things entirely different from that of her eager desires in the field of sensibility. This is proved because from that wish she expects no satisfaction of her eager desires and so expects for all of her actual or otherwise

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imaginable inclinations (for by this even the idea which coaxes the wish from him would lose its preeminence), but only a greater inner worth of his person. This better person he believes, however, to be when he transfers himself to the standpoint of a member of the world of understanding, to which the idea of freedom, i.e. independence from determining causes of the world of sense, involuntarily necessitates him, and in which he is himself conscious of a good will that for his bad will as a member of the world of sense according to his own admission constitutes the law, of whose authority he knows during the time that he transgresses it. The moral ought is thus one's own necessary willing as a member of an intelligible world and is thought only by it as ought so far as it considers itself at the same time as a member of the world of sense.

Of
the extreme boundary
of all practical philosophy.
[ A contradiction between freedom and natural necessity? ]

All human beings think themselves as regards the will as free. From this come all judgments about actions as such that ought have been done, although they were not done. Nevertheless, this freedom is not a concept of experience and it also cannot be, because it always remains, although experience shows the opposite

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imaginable inclinations no satisfying condition (for by this even the idea which coaxes the wish from her would lose its preeminence); instead, she can expect only a greater inner worth of her person. She believes herself to be this better person when she transfers herself into the standpoint of a member of the world of understanding. It is to this standpoint that she is involuntarily necessitated by the idea of freedom, that is, independence from the determining causes of the world of sense. And it is in this standpoint that she, according to her own admission, is conscious of a good will that constitutes the law for her bad will as a member of the world of sense. She is acquainted with the authority of this law whenever she transgresses the law. So the moral ought is one's necessary willing as a member of an intelligible world, and the moral ought is only thought by a member of an intelligible world as an ought insofar as she at the same time considers herself to be a member of the world of sense.

Of
the extreme boundary
of all practical philosophy.
[ A contradiction between freedom and natural necessity? ]

All human beings think of themselves as having a free will. It is from this thought that all judgments about actions, as actions that ought to have been done although they were not done, come. But this freedom is not a concept of experience, and also cannot be such a concept, because the concept of freedom always remains even though experience shows the opposite

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of those demands that are represented as necessary under presupposition of it. On the other side, it is just in this way necessary that everything that happens according to natural laws is unfailingly determined, and this natural necessity is also not a concept of experience, just because it carries with itself the concept of necessity, therefore of a cognition a priori. But this concept of a nature is confirmed through experience and must itself unavoidably be presupposed, if experience, i.e. coherent cognition of objects of sense according to universal laws, is to be possible. Therefore, freedom is only an idea of reason, whose objective reality is in itself doubtful, nature, however, a concept of the understanding, which proves and necessarily must prove its reality in examples of experience.

Although now out of this a dialectic of reason arises, since in view of the will the freedom attributed to it appears to stand in contradiction with the necessity of nature, and, with this parting of the ways, reason finds in speculative purpose the way of natural necessity much more worn and useful than that of freedom: in this way the footpath of freedom is in practical purpose still the only one on which it is possible to make use of one's reason in our doing and letting; hence it is for the most subtle

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of those demands that are represented as necessary under the presupposition of freedom. From a different point of view, it is just as necessary that everything that happens be determined without exception according to natural laws, and this natural necessity is also not a concept of experience precisely because the concept of natural necessity carries with it the concept of necessity and therefore of a cognition a priori. But this concept of a nature is confirmed by experience and must itself be unavoidably presupposed if experience, that is, coherent cognition of objects of sense in accordance with universal laws, is to be possible. Freedom is therefore only an idea of reason, and the idea's objective reality is in itself doubtful. Nature, however, is a concept of the understanding, and this concept proves, and must necessarily prove, its reality in examples from experience.

A dialectic of reason now arises from this since, as regards the will, the freedom attributed to the will appears to stand in contradiction to natural necessity and since, with this parting of the ways, reason finds, for purposes of intellectual curiosity, the way of natural necessity much more traveled and usable than the way of freedom. Although this dialectic arises, the footpath of freedom is still, for practical purposes, the one path on which it is possible to make use of one's reason in our conduct. So it is just as impossible for the most subtle

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philosophy just as impossible as for the most common human reason to argue away freedom. This must thus indeed presuppose: that no true contradiction will be found between freedom and natural necessity of the very same human actions, for it can just as little give up the concept of nature as that of freedom.

Meanwhile, this apparent contradiction must at least be destroyed in a convincing fashion, even though one could never comprehend how freedom is possible. For, if even the thought of freedom contradicts itself, or of nature, which is just as necessary, then it, as opposed to natural necessity, would have to be given up completely.

[ Resolution of the contradiction: the two standpoints ]

It is, however, impossible to evade this contradiction, if the subject, which imagines itself free, were to think itself in the same sense, or in just the same relation, when it names itself free as when it assumes itself in respect of the same action subject to the natural law. Hence, it is an inescapable problem of speculative philosophy: at least to show that its illusion with regard to the contradiction rests in this, that we think the human being in a different sense and relation when we name it free than when we consider it as a piece of nature subject to this

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philosophy as for the most common human reason to argue away freedom. So this philosophy must indeed presuppose the following: that no true contradiction will be found between freedom and natural necessity of the very same human actions, for philosophy can give up the concept of nature no more than it can give up the concept of freedom.

While we wait for no true contradiction to be found, this apparent contradiction must at least be dissolved in a convincing way, even if we could never understand how freedom is possible. For, if even the thought of freedom contradicts itself or contradicts the thought of nature, which is just as necessary, then freedom, as opposed to natural necessity, would have to be given up completely.

[ Resolution of the contradiction: the two standpoints ]

But it is impossible to escape this contradiction, if the subject who imagines itself free thought of itself in the same sense or in the same relation when it calls itself free as it did when it assumes itself subject to natural laws with respect to the same action. So it is an inescapable task of speculative philosophy to show at least the following things. First, speculative philosophy must show that philosophy's deception about the contradiction rests in our thinking the human being in a different sense and relation when we call the human being free than we do when we hold the human being to be a piece of nature

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its laws, and that both can not only quite well subsist together, but also must be thought as necessarily united in the same subject, because otherwise a ground could not be assigned why we should trouble reason with an idea, that, although it allows itself to be united without contradiction with a different one, sufficiently established, nevertheless involves us in a business in which reason in its theoretical use is put in a very tight spot. This duty, however, is incumbent only on speculative philosophy, so that it provides a clear path for practical philosophy. Thus it is not put at the discretion of the philosopher whether he wants to remove the apparent conflict or leave it untouched; for in the latter case the theory about this is bonum vacans, into the possession of which the fatalist can put itself with ground and can expel all morals from its alleged property possessed without title.

Yet one can here not yet say that the boundary of practical philosophy begins. For that settlement of the controversy belongs not at all to it, but it demands only from speculative reason that this bring to an end the discord in which it in theoretical questions entangles itself, so that practical reason has rest and security against external attacks that for it could make contentious the ground on which it wants to establish itself.

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subject to nature's laws. Second, speculative philosophy must show that these two senses and relations can exist together not only quite well but must also be thought as necessarily united in the same subject; for, if not necessarily united in the same subject, no justification could be given why we should burden reason with an idea that, although the idea can be united without contradiction with a different sufficiently established idea, nevertheless ensnares us in a task that puts reason in its theoretical use in a bind. This duty, however, is incumbent only on speculative philosophy, so that speculative philosophy might prepare a clear path for practical philosophy. Thus it is not at the discretion of the philosopher to decide whether she wants to remove the apparent contradiction or wants to leave the apparent contradiction untouched; for, if left untouched, the theory about this is bonum vacans and the fatalist can justifiably take possession of the property, driving all morals out of morals' alleged property which morals has no title to occupy.

Nevertheless, you can not yet say that the boundary of practical philosophy begins here. For that settlement of the controversy does not belong to practical philosophy; instead, practical philosophy demands only of speculative reason that speculative reason bring to an end the discord into which speculative philosophy involves itself in theoretical questions. If speculative reason can bring this discord to an end, then practical reason might have rest and security against external attacks that could make contentious the ground on which practical reason wants to establish itself.

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The rightful claim, however, even of common human reason to freedom of the will grounds itself on the consciousness and the granted presupposition of the independence of reason from merely subjective-determinate causes that collectively constitute what only belongs to sensation, therefore under the general naming of sensibility. The human being, who considers itself in such a way as an intelligence, puts itself by this in a different order of things and in a relation to determining grounds of a quite different kind when it thinks itself as an intelligence endowed with a will, consequently with causality, than when it perceives itself as a phenomenon in the world of sense (which it actually also is) and subjects its causality to external determination according to natural laws. Now, it soon becomes aware that both at the same time can take place, indeed even must. For that a thing in the appearance (that belonging to the world of sense) is subject to certain laws, of which just the same as thing or being in itself is independent, contains not the least contradiction; that it, however, must represent and think itself in this twofold way, rests, as concerns the first, on the consciousness of itself as an object affected through senses, as regards the second, on the consciousness of itself as an intelligence, i.e. as independent in the use of reason of sensuous impressions (therefore as belonging to the world of understanding).

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But the rightful claim, even of common human reason, to freedom of the will is grounded on the consciousness and the granted presupposition of the independence of reason from merely subjectively determining causes. These causes together constitute what belongs merely to sensation and so what belongs under the general name of sensibility. The human being considers herself in such a way as an intelligence; by doing so, she puts herself in a different order of things and in a relation to determining grounds of a quite different kind when she thinks of herself as an intelligence endowed with a will and consequently as endowed with causality than she does when she perceives herself as a phenomenon in the world of sense (which she actually is, too) and subjects her causality, according to external determination, to natural laws. Now, she soon becomes aware that both ways of thinking of herself can, and indeed even must, take place at the same time. For the following does not contain the least contradiction: that a thing as an appearance (that belonging to the world of sense) is subject to certain laws while the very same as a thing or being in itself is independent of those laws. But that she must imagine and think herself in this twofold way rests on different kinds of awareness. First, as a thing as an appearance, her thinking rests on the consciousness of herself as an object affected by the senses. Second, as a thing in itself, her thinking rests on the consciousness of herself as an intelligence, that is, as independent of sensuous impressions in the use of reason (and therefore as belonging to the world of understanding).

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Hence it happens that the human being presumes a will that lets nothing come to its account from what merely belongs to its eager desires and inclinations, and on the contrary thinks actions through itself as possible, indeed even as necessary, that can be done only with disregard of all eager desires and sensuous incitements. Their causality lies in it as an intelligence and in the laws of effects and actions according to principles of an intelligible world of which it likely knows nothing further than that in this only reason and, to be sure, pure reason independent from sensibility gives the law, also since it is in that very place only as an intelligence its proper self (as a human being, on the other hand, only an appearance of itself), those laws apply to it immediately and categorically, so that, to what inclinations and impulses (therefore the whole nature of the world of sense) incite, cannot infringe the laws of its willing as an intelligence, so entirely, that it for the first does not answer and does not ascribe to its proper self, i.e. to its will, certainly, however, does ascribe the indulgence that it likes to bear for them, if it allowed them to the detriment of rational laws of the will influence on its maxims.

[ The limits of knowledge: the world of understanding ]

By this, that practical reason thinks itself into a world of understanding, it oversteps not at all its boundaries, but certainly would if it wanted to look or feel itself into it. The former is only a negative

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So it happens that the human being claims for herself a will that does not let what belongs merely to her eager desires and inclinations enter into her accountability. On the contrary, she thinks of actions as possible — indeed even as necessary — through herself, actions that can be done only by disregarding all eager desires and sensuous impulses. The causality of these actions lies in her as an intelligence and in the laws of effects and actions according to principles of an intelligible world. She certainly knows nothing of this intelligible world except that in this intelligible world only reason — and, for sure, pure reason independent of sensibility — gives the law. Also, since in this intelligible world she is only as an intelligence her proper self (as a human being, in contrast, only an appearance of herself), those laws apply to her immediately and categorically. Because those laws apply to her directly and without exception, her inclinations and impulses (and so the whole nature of the world of sense), no matter what they prod her to do, cannot infringe the laws of willing as an intelligence. This insulation of those laws from infringement is so thorough that she does not answer for the inclinations and impulses and does not ascribe them to her proper self, that is, to her will. She does, however, ascribe to her will the indulgence that she would show the inclinations and impulses if she, to the disadvantage of the rational laws of the will, permitted the inclinations and impulses influence on her maxims.

[ The limits of knowledge: the world of understanding ]

By thinking itself into a world of understanding, practical reason does not overstep its bounds at all. But practical reason certainly would overstep its bounds if it wanted to look or feel itself into such a world. The former, merely thinking itself into a world of understanding, is only a negative

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thought in view of the world of sense which gives reason no laws in determination of the will, and only in this single point positive, that that freedom, as negative determination, at the same time is connected with a (positive) capacity and even with a causality of reason, which we name a will, to act in this way, that the principle of actions is in accordance with the essential character of a rational cause, i.e. the condition of the universal validity of the maxim as a law. Were it, however, still to fetch an object of the will, i.e. a motive, from the world of understanding, then it would overstep its boundaries and presume to know something of which it knows nothing. The concept of a world of understanding is thus only a standpoint, that reason sees itself necessitated to take outside the appearances, in order to think itself as practical, which, if the influences of sensibility were determining for the human being, would not be possible, which, however, is still necessary in so far as the consciousness of itself as an intelligence, therefore as a rational cause active through reason, i.e. free acting, is not to be denied it. This thought brings about, of course, the idea of a different order and lawgiving than that of the nature mechanism, which concerns the world of sense, and makes the concept of an intelligible world (i.e. the totality of rational beings, as things in themselves)

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thought with regard to the world of sense. This negative thought is that the world of sense gives no laws to reason for controlling the will. The thought is positive only in this one point: that that freedom, as a negative determinant or controller, is combined at the same time with a (positive) capacity and even with a causality of reason, which we call a will; this capacity or causality of reason is a capacity to act in such a way that the principle of actions is in accordance with the essential character of a rational cause as a law, that is, with the condition of the universal validity of the maxim. But, if practical reason were still to fetch an object of the will, that is, a motive, from the world of understanding, then practical reason would overstep its bounds and presume to be acquainted with something which it knows nothing about. So the concept of a world of understanding is only a standpoint which reason sees itself necessitated to take outside of the appearances in order to think of itself as practical. Thinking of itself as practical would not be possible if the influences of sensibility had control of the human being. But thinking of itself as practical is still necessary if the consciousness of itself as an intelligence and therefore as a cause that is rational and active through reason, that is, is free acting, is not to be denied to the human being. This thought, of course, brings about the idea of a different order and lawgiving than the idea of a mechanism of nature which concerns the world of sense. This thought also makes the concept of an intelligible world (that is, the whole of rational beings as things in themselves)

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necessary, but without the least presumption to think here further than merely according to its formal condition, i.e. in conformity to the universality of the maxim of the will as law, therefore to autonomy of the latter, which alone can subsist with its freedom; while, on the other hand, all laws that are determined on an object give heteronomy, which can only be found in natural laws and also can only concern the world of sense.

[ The limits of explanation: the possibility of freedom ]

But then reason would overstep all its boundary, if it itself attempted to explain how pure reason can be practical, which would be fully one and the same with the problem of explaining how freedom is possible.

For we can explain nothing except what we can trace back to laws whose object can be given in some possible experience. Freedom, however, is a mere idea whose objective reality can in no way be set forth according to natural laws, therefore also not in any possible experience, which thus can never be comprehended or even only seen into because underneath it itself an example may never be put according to any analogy. It holds only as a necessary presupposition of reason in a being that believes itself to be conscious of a will, i.e. of a capacity still different from the mere faculty of desire, (namely to determine itself to action as an intelligence, therefore according to laws of reason independently of

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necessary, but without the least presumption to think further here than merely in accordance with the formal condition of the intelligible world. That is to say, the concept of an intelligible world is made necessary just by thinking in conformance with the universality of the maxims of the will as laws and therefore with the autonomy of the will, that autonomy alone being able to coexist with the freedom of the will. While, on the other hand, all laws that are specified by an object give heteronomy which can only be found in natural laws and which also can only concern the world of sense.

[ The limits of explanation: the possibility of freedom ]

But then reason would overstep its entire boundary if it attempted to explain how pure reason can be practical, which would be exactly the same as the problem of explaining how freedom is possible.

For we can explain nothing except what we can trace back to laws whose object can be given in some possible experience. But freedom is a mere idea whose objective reality can in no way be set forth according to natural laws and cannot, therefore, be set forth in any possible experience. So the idea's objective reality can never be comprehended or even glimpsed precisely because an example along the lines of an analogy may never be put underneath freedom itself. The idea of freedom holds only as a necessary presupposition of reason in a being that believes itself to be conscious of a will, that is, of a capacity still different from the mere faculty of desire. (This capacity is, in particular, the capacity to resolve to act as an intelligence and therefore according to laws of reason, independently of

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natural instincts). Where, however, determination according to natural laws ceases, there ceases also all explanation, and there remains nothing left but defense, i.e. repulsion of the objections of those who pretend to have seen deeper into the essence of things and on that account boldly pronounce freedom to be impossible. One can only show them that the contradiction supposedly discovered by them in it lies nowhere else than in this, that, since they, in order to make the natural law hold in view of human actions, had to consider the human being necessarily as an appearance and now, since one demands of them that they should think it as an intelligence also as a thing in itself, they go on considering it always in this, too, as an appearance, where, in that case admittedly, the separation of its causality (i.e. of its will) from all natural laws of the world of sense in one and the same subject would stand in contradiction, which, however, falls away, if they wanted to reflect and, as is reasonable, confess that behind the appearances still the things in themselves (although hidden) must lie as ground, of which laws of working one cannot demand that they should be of the same sort with those under which their appearances stand.

[ The limits of explanation: moral interest ]

The subjective impossibility of explaining freedom of the will is one and the same with the impossibility of discovering and making comprehensible an

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natural instincts.) But where the determination of natural laws stops, all explanation stops, too, and nothing remains except defense, that is, repelling the objections of those who pretend to have seen deeper into the essence of things and, because of that alleged insight, audaciously declare freedom to be impossible. You can only point out to them that the contradiction that they supposedly have discovered in freedom lies nowhere else than in this: that they, in order to make the natural law hold with regard to human actions, had to consider the human being necessarily as an appearance; and now, since you demand of them that they should think of the human being as an intelligence also as a thing in itself, they go on considering the human being in this (i.e., as a thing in itself), too, as an appearance. Of course, in this case, where a thing in itself is confused with an appearance, the separation of the human being's causality (i.e., its will) from all natural laws of the world of sense in one and the same subject would give rise to a contradiction. But this contradiction would fall away if they wanted to reflect and, as is reasonable, to admit that behind the appearances there must still lie as a ground the things in themselves (although hidden). You cannot demand that the laws governing the working of the things in themselves should be the same as those laws under which the appearances of the things in themselves stand.

[ The limits of explanation: moral interest ]

The subjective impossibility of explaining the freedom of the will is one and the same with the impossibility

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interest*), which the human being can take in moral laws; and nevertheless it actually takes an interest in them, of which the foundation in us we name moral feeling, which has falsely been given out by some as the standard gauge of our moral judgment, since it rather must be looked at as the subjective effect that the law exercises on the will to which reason alone delivers the objective grounds.

In order to will that for which reason alone prescribes the ought to the sensuously-affected rational being, to that belongs of course a faculty of reason to instill a feeling of pleasure or of satisfaction in the fulfillment of duty, therefore a causality

*) Interest is that by which reason becomes practical, i.e. a cause determining the will. Hence one says only of a rational being that it takes an interest in something, unreasoning creatures feel only sensuous impulses. Reason takes an immediate interest only then in the action when the universal validity of the maxim of it is a sufficient ground of determination of the will. Such an interest is alone pure. If it, however, can determine the will only by means of another object of desire, or under the presupposition of a special feeling of the subject, then reason takes only a mediate interest in the action, and since reason can discover for itself alone without experience neither objects of the will, nor a special feeling underlying it as ground, in this way the latter interest would only be empirical and not a pure rational interest. The logical interest of reason (to advance its insights) is never immediate, but presupposes purposes of its use.

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of discovering and making understandable an interest* which the human being might take in moral laws. Though it is impossible to understand, the human being nevertheless actually does take an interest in moral laws, and moral feeling is what we call the foundation in us of this interest. This moral feeling has been falsely given by some people as the measuring stick for our moral judgment. Moral feeling is a false measuring stick for moral judgment since moral feeling must instead be seen as the subjective effect that the law exercises on the will, while reason alone provides the will with the objective grounds of the law.

In order to will what reason alone prescribes that the sensuously-affected rational being ought to do, a faculty of reason is of course required. This faculty must instill a feeling of pleasure or of satisfaction in the fulfillment of duty; so a causality

* Interest is that by which reason becomes practical, that is, becomes a cause determining or directing the will. For this reason, you can only say of a rational being that it takes an interest in something, creatures without reason feeling only sensuous impulses. Reason takes an immediate interest in an action only when the universal validity of the maxim of the action is a sufficient ground of determination of the will. Only such an interest is pure. But if reason can direct the will only by means of another object of desire or by means of a special feeling of the subject, then reason takes only a mediate interest in the action; and, since reason by itself alone, without experience, can discover neither objects of the will nor a special feeling underlying the will as the will's ground, the latter, mediate, interest would only be empirical and not a pure rational interest. The logical interest of reason (to advance its insights) is never immediate; instead, that logical interest presupposes purposes for its use.

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of it to determine sensibility in accordance with its principles. It is, however, completely impossible to look into, i.e. to make a priori comprehensible, how a mere thought, which itself contains nothing sensuous in itself, produces a sensation of pleasure or displeasure; for that is a special kind of causality of which, as of all causality, we can determine nothing at all a priori but about which we must consult experience alone. Since this, however, can provide no relation of cause to effect, except between two objects of experience, but here pure reason through mere ideas (which furnish no object at all for experience) is to be the cause of an effect that admittedly lies in experience, so the explanation, how and why the universality of the maxim as law, therefore morality, interests us, is for us human beings completely impossible. This much only is certain: that it does not have validity for us because it interests us (for that is heteronomy and dependence of practical reason on sensibility, namely on a feeling lying as the ground, by which it never could be morally lawgiving), but that it interests us because it holds for us as human beings, since it has arisen from our will as intelligence, therefore from our proper self; what, however, belongs to mere appearance is subordinated by reason necessarily to the constitution of the thing in itself.

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to configure sensibility according to rational principles must belong to reason. It is, however, completely impossible to figure out, that is, to make a priori understandable, how a mere thought that contains nothing sensuous in itself could produce a sensation of pleasure or displeasure. Such a priori understanding is impossible because the production of a sensation from such a thought is a special kind of causality about which, as with all kinds of causality, we can specify nothing at all a priori; instead, to say anything about such a production, we must consult experience alone. But since experience can provide no relation of cause to effect except between two objects of experience and since here pure reason is through mere ideas (which furnish no object at all for experience) to be the cause of an effect which admittedly lies in experience, it is completely impossible for us human beings to explain how and why the universality of a maxim as law, and therefore morality, interests us. Only this much is certain: it is not because the moral law interests us that the moral law is valid for us (for that is heteronomy and dependence of practical reason on sensibility, in particular, dependence on a feeling lying as the ground of practical reason, in which case practical reason could never be morally lawgiving); instead, it is because the moral law is valid for us as human beings that the moral law interests us, since the moral law arose from our will as an intelligence and therefore from our genuine self. But what belongs merely to appearance is necessarily subordinated by reason to the make-up of the thing in itself.

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[ Review: how is a categorical imperative possible? ]

The question thus: how a categorical imperative is possible, can be answered, to be sure, so far as one can declare the sole presupposition under which it alone is possible, namely the idea of freedom, also so far as one can look into the necessity of this presupposition, which is sufficient for the practical use of reason, i.e. for the conviction of the validity of this imperative, therefore also of the moral law, but how this presupposition itself is possible can never be looked into by any human reason. Under the presupposition of freedom of the will of an intelligence, however, its autonomy, as the formal condition under which it alone can be determined, is a necessary consequence. To presuppose this freedom of the will is also not only (without falling into contradiction with the principle of natural necessity in the connection of appearances of the world of sense) very well possible (as speculative philosophy can show), but also it is practically, i.e. in the idea, to put underneath all its voluntary actions as a condition, necessary without further condition for a rational being that is conscious of its causality through reason, therefore of a will (which is distinct from eager desires). But now how pure reason without other incentives that might be taken from somewhere else can be practical for itself, i.e. how the mere principle of universal

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[ Review: how is a categorical imperative possible? ]

So the question of how a categorical imperative is possible can for sure be answered so far as you can provide the sole presupposition under which the imperative is possible. That sole presupposition is the idea of freedom. Also, the question can be answered so far as you can see into the necessity of this presupposition, which is sufficient for the practical use of reason, that is, for confidence in the validity of this imperative and so also for confidence in the moral law. But how this presupposition itself is possible is an insight that can never be grasped by any human reason. Under the presupposition of the freedom of the will of an intelligence, though, the will's autonomy, as the formal condition under which the will can alone be guided, is a necessary consequence. To presuppose this freedom of the will is also not only (without falling into contradiction with the principle of natural necessity in the connection of appearances of the world of sense) entirely possible (as speculative philosophy can show), but it is also practically necessary. That is to say, putting freedom, as an idea and as a condition of action, underneath all voluntary actions of a rational being is necessary without further condition for a rational being who is conscious of its causality through reason and therefore conscious of a will (which is distinct from eager desires). But now how pure reason, without other incentives that might be taken from somewhere else, can be practical by itself is beyond the capability of any human reason to comprehend. That is to say, how the mere principle of the universal

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validity of all its maxims as laws (which admittedly would be the form of a pure practical reason) without any matter (object) of the will, in which one in advance may take some interest, for itself can furnish an incentive and produce an interest which would be called purely moral, or in other words: how pure reason can be practical, all human reason is completely incapable of explaining that, and all effort and labor to seek an explanation of this is lost.

It is just the same as if I sought to fathom how freedom itself as causality of a will is possible. For there I leave the philosophical ground of explanation and have no other. To be sure, I could now swarm about in the intelligible world that still remains over to me, in the world of intelligences; but although I have an idea of it, which has its good ground, so I have still not the least knowledge of it and can also never arrive at this through all effort of my natural rational faculty. It signifies only a something that there remains over when I have excluded from the grounds of determination of my will everything that belongs to the world of sense merely in order to limit the principle of motives from the field of sensibility, by this, that I bound it and show that it contains in itself not everything in everything, but that beyond it is still more; this more, however,

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validity of all of the will's maxims as laws (which of course would be the form of a pure practical reason), without any matter (object) of the will, in which you may in advance take some interest, can by itself provide an incentive and produce an interest which would be called purely moral is beyond the capability of any human reason to explain. Or, in other words: all human reason is completely incapable of explaining how pure reason can be practical, and all effort and labor spent in searching for an explanation is wasted.

It is just the same as if I were trying to figure out how freedom itself is possible as causality of the will. For in such an attempt I leave the philosophical ground of explanation and have no other ground. Now, of course, I could bumble around in the intelligible world that remains to me, in the world of intelligences; but, although I have an idea of such a world and although the idea has its good ground, I still have not the least knowledge of that world and also can never arrive at this knowledge through any effort of my natural rational faculty. The idea only signifies a something that remains when I have excluded from the grounds directing my will everything that belongs to the world of sense; I exclude everything in the world of sense merely in order to limit the principle of motives from the field of sensibility, and I bring about this limitation by confining the field and by showing that the field does not contain everything in itself but rather that there is still more outside of the field. But I do know anything further about

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I know not further. Of the pure reason which thinks this ideal, nothing remains over to me after separation of all matter, i.e. cognition of objects, but the form, namely the practical law of the universal validity of maxims, and, in accordance with this, to think reason in reference to a pure world of understanding as a possible efficient cause, i.e. as determining the will; the incentive must here be completely missing; this idea of an intelligible world itself would then have to be the incentive or that one in which reason originally would take an interest; which, however, to make comprehensible is precisely the problem that we are not able to solve.

[ The highest limit of all moral inquiry ]

Here, then, is the highest boundary of all moral inquiry; which, however, to determine is also already of great importance for this reason, so that reason hunts not on the one side around in the world of sense in a way damaging to morals for the highest motive and for a comprehensible, but empirical interest, on the other side, however, so that it also not powerlessly swings its wings in the space, empty for it, of transcendent concepts under the name of the intelligible world, without moving from the spot, and loses itself among phantoms. Furthermore, the idea of a pure world of understanding as a whole of all intelligences, to which we ourselves as rational beings (although on the other side at the same time members of the world of sense) belong, remains always a useful and permitted idea for the purpose of a

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this 'more' that is outside of the field. After separation of all matter, that is, cognition of objects, nothing remains to me of the pure reason which thinks this ideal except the following two items. First, the form, namely, the practical law of the universal validity of maxims, remains to me. Second, it also remains to me to think, in accordance with this practical law, of reason with reference to a pure world of understanding as a possible efficient cause, that is, as a cause determining the will. Here, in these two items that remain to me, the incentive must be completely absent. If the incentive were not absent, then this idea of an intelligible world itself would have to be the incentive or would have to be that in which reason originally took an interest; but to make understandable how the idea could be the incentive or how reason could originally take an interest in the idea is precisely the problem which we are not able to solve.

[ The highest limit of all moral inquiry ]

This, then, is where the highest boundary of all moral inquiry is. To specify this boundary, however, is also already of the greatest importance for these reasons: so that reason, on the one hand, does not hunt around in the world of sense, in a way detrimental to morals, for the highest motive and for an understandable but empirical interest; but, on the other hand, so that reason does not powerlessly, without moving from the place, flap it wings in a space of transcendent concepts, a space that is empty for reason and that goes by the name of the intelligible world; and so that reason does not lose itself among phantoms. Yet another reason for specifying the boundary is that the idea of a pure world of understanding as a whole of intelligences to which we ourselves belong as rational beings (although on the other side at the same time members of the world of sense) always remains a useful and permitted idea for the purpose of a

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rational faith, although all knowledge has at its border an end, in order to effect a lively interest in the moral law in us through the magnificent ideal of a universal empire of ends in themselves (of rational beings), to which we only then can belong as members when we carefully conduct ourselves according to maxims of freedom, as if they were laws of nature.

Concluding Remark.
[ Concluding remark: the limitations of reason ]

The speculative use of reason in view of nature leads to absolute necessity of some highest cause of the world; the practical use of reason with regard to freedom also leads to absolute necessity, but only of laws of actions of a rational being as such. Now it is an essential principle of all use of our reason to drive its cognition up to the consciousness of its necessity (for without this it would not be cognition of reason). It is, however, also an equally essential limitation of the very same reason that it can see into neither the necessity of what exists, or what happens, nor of what ought to happen, unless a condition, under which it exists, or happens, or ought to happen, is laid as ground. In this way, however, through the constant inquiry for the

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rational faith. This idea of a pure world of understanding remains useful and permitted, even though all knowledge ends at the boundary of the idea, in order to produce a lively interest in the moral law that is in us. The idea produces this interest through the magnificent ideal of a universal empire of ends in themselves (of rational beings), an empire to which we can belong only when we carefully conduct ourselves according to maxims of freedom, as if the maxims were laws of nature.

Concluding Remark.
[ Concluding remark: the limitations of reason ]

The speculative use of reason, with respect to nature, leads to the absolute necessity of some highest cause of the world; the practical use of reason, with regard to freedom, also leads to absolute necessity, but only to absolute necessity of laws of actions of a rational being as such. Now, it is an essential principle of all use of our reason to push reason's cognition up to the consciousness of a cognition's necessity (for without this necessity the cognition would not be a cognition of reason). But it is also an equally essential limitation of the very same reason that reason can see into neither the necessity of what exists, what happens, or of what ought to happen, unless a condition is made the ground under which what exists exists, what happens happens, or what ought to happen happens as it ought to happen. In this way, however, because of the constant inquiry after the

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condition, the satisfaction of reason is only further and further postponed. Hence it seeks restlessly the unconditioned-necessary and sees itself necessitated to assume it without any means of making it comprehensible to itself; lucky enough, if it can discover only the concept which is compatible with this presupposition. It is thus no shortcoming of our deduction of the highest principle of morality, but a reproach that one would have to make of human reason in general, that it cannot make comprehensible an unconditional practical law (of such kind the categorical imperative must be) as regards its absolute necessity; for that it wants to do this not through a condition, namely by means of some interest laid as ground, can it not be blamed, because it would then not be a moral law, i.e. highest law of freedom. And in this way we comprehend, to be sure, not the practical unconditional necessity of the moral imperative, we comprehend, though, at least its incomprehensibility, which is all that can fairly be demanded of a philosophy that strives up to the boundary of human reason in principles.


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condition, the satisfaction of reason is only further and further postponed. So reason searches restlessly for the unconditioned-necessary and sees itself necessitated to assume the unconditioned-necessary without any means of making the unconditioned-necessary comprehensible to reason. Reason is lucky enough if it can just find the concept that is compatible with this presupposition of the unconditioned-necessary. So it is no shortcoming of our deduction of the highest principle of morality, but instead an objection that you would have to make against human reason in general, that reason cannot make comprehensible the absolute necessity of an unconditional practical law (which is the kind of law that the categorical imperative must be); for reason cannot be blamed for not wanting to make this absolute necessity comprehensible through a condition, namely, by means of an interest that is made the ground of the necessity. Reason cannot be blamed because, if the necessity of the practical law were based on an interest, then the law would not be a moral law, that is, the highest law of freedom. And so we certainly do not comprehend the practical unconditional necessity of the moral imperative; we do, though, at least comprehend the incomprehensibility of that necessity, and that is all that can fairly be demanded of a philosophy that strives to reach up to the boundary of human reason in principles.


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