Kant immediately draws several conclusions: that moral laws (together with their principles) differ essentially from any practical cognition or knowledge in which there is anything empirical; that moral philosophy rests completely on its pure part; that moral philosophy, as applied to humans, borrows nothing from knowledge about humans; that moral philosophy gives the human being, as a rational being, laws a priori. The whole paragraph is one sentence, and the sentence begins with 'Also' ('Therefore'); so all of these statements are apparently supposed to be conclusions. What exactly Kant is using to support these conclusions is not clear. The support may come from anything he has written up to this point, or, perhaps, only from the statements in the immediately preceding paragraph. Another possibility is that Kant is just bringing together here in a summary restatement conclusions that he has already drawn. Just to take, as an example, the first conclusion, the essential difference claim, Kant may be reaching it via the previous paragraph's existence claim that there must be a pure moral philosophy wholly separated from the empirical.
Finally, there may be a last conclusion, namely, that these moral laws given to us by moral philosophy, even though they are a priori, still require, for their correct application and acceptance, a power of judgment sharpened by experience. But this last conclusion is different from the others, for the reasons (at least some of them) in support of it are given in this paragraph. In particular, Kant says that the experientially sharpened power of judgment is still needed because, simply put, the human being, afflicted with inclinations, finds it difficult to live up to the moral laws.
This is the most argumentatively complex paragraph yet. Kant starts off with a conclusion: a metaphysics of morals is indispensably necessary. Perhaps Kant intends to draw this conclusion from the previous paragraph's claim that moral philosophy rests completely on its pure part (i.e., the metaphysics of morals) along with an implicit claim that moral philosophy is necessary, so that we get the conclusion that the metaphysics of morals is necessary, too. In any case, Kant goes on to give new reasons for the indispensability of the metaphysics of morals. The first new reason may be that a metaphysics of morals is necessary in order to reach a satisfactory answer to the speculative or theoretical question as to the source of the a priori practical principles that reside in our reason. The second new reason is more definite and seems to be Kant's focus, for he gives it, in turn, further support. This second new reason is that, without the guidance of the highest moral principle that a metaphysics of morals is to supply us, morals will remain subject to all kinds of corruption. Kant immediately offers support for this claim about corruption by saying that moral goodness (perhaps of actions ('Handlungen' at x.12 (4:390.8) later in the sentence) or of rational beings) requires both conformity to moral law and also motivation from or out of the moral law. He then argues in favor of this dual requirement by claiming that conformity alone is contingent or accidental and precarious; and he thinks this about conformity alone because the unmoral or non-moral ground ('unsittliche Grund' at x.10 (4:390.7), by which Kant would seem to mean acting for the sake of something other than the moral law) produces only occasionally actions that are in conformity with the moral law. These inference chains are all offered ultimately in support of the claim that, without the guidance that a metaphysics of morals supplies us via a highest moral principle, morals will remain subject to corruption. Having established this corruption claim, Kant reminds us (of a result reached in the previous paragraph) that moral laws, being pure and genuine, can only be found in a pure philosophy, namely, in the metaphysics of morals. Then, putting the corruption claim together with this reminder, Kant arrives at a kind of restatement of the conclusion with which the paragraph began: a metaphysics of morals must be first and without it there can be no moral philosophy. In other words, a metaphysics of morals is indispenable. In the last part of the paragraph, Kant supports this conclusion from another direction. He argues that those putative philosophies that mix pure principles with the empirical should not be called philosophy and even less be called moral philosophy, for the mixture introduces impurities into the purity of morals and the mixture blocks the path to the goal that even these putative philosophies seek.
So, to sort things out, the structure of the entire argument might go something like this:
1. The unmoral ground only occasionally produces actions in conformity with moral law.
2. So conformity alone is contingent and precarious.
3. So moral goodness requires both conformity to law as well as motivation from moral law.
4. So, without guidance, morals remains subject to corruption.
5. Moral laws that are pure and genuine, not corrupted by the empirical, can only be identified by a metaphysics of morals. [Kant's restatement of a conclusion reached in the previous paragraph.]
6. So (from 4 and 5 together) a metaphysics of morals in indispensable.
That is the general flow of the main components of the argument. To do further analysis and then evaluation, you would have to look at each component separately, perhaps revise it by adding qualifications and so on, and also look at each inference to see if it goes through without having to be supplemented with additional components. For example, it is not really clear how statements 4 and 5 work together to give us 6 as the final conclusion. So it might be suggested that we should revise 5 to make it explict that the moral laws, including the highest of them, besides being pure and genuine rather than corrupted, also provide guidance. That addition of guidance, which links statement 5 more closely to statement 4, helps us see how 4 and 5 might work together, showing how corruption can be avoided with the assistance of a metaphysics of morals. The last part of the paragraph also might support 6, and including this part would add at least three more premises to the argument outlined above. I leave these additions as an exercise for the reader.
There are several relatively uninteresting inferences in this paragraph which argues as a whole that Wolff's moral philosophy does not provide us with an account of a special kind of will that is determined or directed only by pure and a priori principles; so Kant's work here is novel, breaks new ground, and is not a rehash of what has already been done by others. To support this position, Kant argues that Wolff's moral philosophy deals with willing in general rather than with the special case of willing from a priori principles, so that Wolff's moral philosophy is different from a metaphysics of morals; for a metaphysics of morals investigates the idea and principles of a pure will, not the psychology of human willing. Kant additionally wards off the objection that Wolff's philosophy, as Kant's does, discusses moral laws and duty; Kant replies that the objection is weak because Wolff's philosophy does not distinguish motives that are recognized a priori by reason, and are thus genuinely moral, from empirical motives that the understanding turns into universal concepts by comparing experiences; in particular, Kant adds, Wolff's philosophy does not pick up on the different sources of motives, treating them all as of the same kind, when it is really the case that some, the moral motives and concepts, are a priori while the non-moral are a posteriori in origin, that is, known or formed only through specific experiences.
On the whole, this paragraph (and the next) is perhaps better taken as an explanation of why Kant has chosen to write this particular book, with this particular title, at this particular time; for it is obvious that he has written the book and there is generally little point in arguing for what is already obvious. Still, there may be an argument embedded in the overall explanation. One inference in the possible argument goes basically from the claim that in moral matters human reason can be brought to greater correctness and completeness than it can in theoretical matters to the claim that a critique of pure practical reason is not as necessary as a critique of pure speculative reason. The supporting statement in that inference may, depending on how 'da' ('where', or 'whereas' for a separated 'dahingegen', or possibly just 'since') at xiii.22 (4:391.23) is understood, in turn be supported by the claim that human reason in theoretical matters is dialectical. Support for this claim about the dialectical character of reason in theoretical matters is to be found in the Critique of Pure Reason which, as Kant says, had already been published. Later in the paragraph, the second occurrence of 'weil' ('because') at xiv.6 (4:391.27) perhaps more clearly signals an explanation rather than the inference of an argument; but, again, there could be an argument embedded in the explanation. Kant there explains why he demands of a critique of pure practical reason that it exhibit the unity of reason, namely, because there is ultimately only one reason. And, again, in the final sentence of the paragraph, the 'deswillen' ('for that reason') at xiv.12 (4:391.31) more likely indicates explanation rather than inference; Kant is not trying to prove that he has given the book the title that it has, which is obvious, but he is only trying to explain why he chose that title instead of another title.
Although the paragraph begins with 'Weil' ('because'), it seems best to interpret this as explanation rather than argument. Kant is giving an account of why he has written the Groundlaying instead of a metaphysics of morals; he is not trying to prove that he has written it.
There is no clear argument in this paragraph. It is obvious from what he has already said, and from actually going on to read the book, that Kant has not included in the book applications of the highest moral principle. So he is not trying to prove that the book is more theoretical than applied. Yet Kant seems to be doing a bit more than just explaining why he has not included applications of the principle, for he is responding to the objection that by including applications his assertions would be more clear and receive confirmation. Kant seems, then, to be defending his decision to omit applications of the highest principle. Accordingly, it is perhaps best to think of Kant here as trying to justify his position rather than as trying to prove it or merely to explain it. If this is so, and if such distinctions between proof, explanation, and justification, can be maintained, then when Kant says that he has foregone the advantage of including applications because the ease of use of a principle and its apparent adequacy are no sure sign of its correctness, he is not just explaining why he has decided to leave applications out; he is also backing up this rather obvious decision with a reason in order to forestall an objection.
There is probably no argument in this last paragraph of the Preface. The 'daher' ('therefore' or 'accordingly') at xvi.9 (4:392.22) most likely is meant to suggest that the methodology used in the work has influenced the laying out or structural formatting of the book into the specified three sections, for it is obvious without proof that the book does have these three sections with their corresponding titles.
Strictly speaking, there is no argument in this paragraph, for there is only a series of statements none of which is claimed to follow from any of the others. But there might still be at least one, and perhaps more than one, argument here, for two reasons. First, if we look ahead to the next paragraph, we find an explicit premise in the sentence that begins with 'Denn' ('For') at 2.24 (4:394.8). The premise there is that, without the ground propositions or basic principles of a good will, qualities (e.g., character traits such as moderation) can become very bad. The current paragraph asserts something very similar (see 1.13 (4:393.10-11)). So Kant might be using the assertion as a premise here, too, in support of the conclusion that only a good will is good without qualification or limitation. Second, toward the end of the current paragraph, there is a 'so' (2.10 (4:393.22)) which just might signal an inference. Even if this is the meaning of 'so' here, it is not clear what the relation might be between this inference and the previous one about qualities becoming very bad if a good will is not present, for the inference is to a different conclusion, namely, that the good will appears to constitute the unavoidable condition of even the worthiness to be happy. Let's look briefly at these possible arguments separately.
If we do some reformulation to leave out the bits about the impossibility of thinking and the subjunctive 'könnte' ('could') at 1.7 (4:393.6), Kant concludes in the first possible argument that only a good will is good without qualification. In support of this conclusion, Kant claims that various talents, temperaments, and gifts of fortune can become extremely bad if they are not held in check by a good will. The good will apparently achieves this by correcting and bringing into line with universal ends their (i.e., the talents, etc.) influence and the whole principle of acting.
Kant introduces the second possible argument with some phrasing to suggest that it is so obvious that it hardly needs mentioning. He claims that a rational and unbiased observer can never have a satisfaction when looking at a being having no trait of a pure and good will. He then seems to conclude from this that the good (but not the pure and good) will appears to constitute the unavoidable condition of even the worthiness to be happy.
As already mentioned, there is an inference in this paragraph. The inference begins with the claim that without ground propositions of a good will they (i.e., a subset of qualities of character) can become extremely bad. Inferred from this initial claim is the claim, after some reformulation, that qualities helpful to the will cannot be considered good without limitation. The basic structure of the argument is something like: without P, Q can become B; so Q cannot be G (where 'P' stands for principles of a good will, 'Q' for 'qualities, 'B' for bad, and 'G' for good without limitation). A fuller analysis would go on to defend this interpretation of the structure of the argument and perhaps suggest alternatives and their merits. For example, more modern, sophisticated techniques in logic can be applied to the argument. As it stands now, the analysis uses a simple term-based logic, the kind of logical technique available in Kant's day. More modern methods could analyze the argument, first using techniques of propositional or sentential logic, and then using the logical apparatus of predicate logic.
In general, these supplements to the Groundlaying do not offer much in the way of evaluation of arguments. But this once it might be helpful for the beginning philosophy student to see the difference between analysis and evaluation. What I have done above, very minimally, is an analysis of the argument. If I were also evaluating the argument, I would now argue that the argument, as analyzed above, is not valid; for the conclusion, 'Q cannot be G' contains information, namely G, not contained in the premise. It could perhaps be made valid, though, by adding an appropriate premise that makes a logical connection between G and, the likely candidate here, B. The conclusion would then not contain information beyond the premises. Note, however, that adding a premise would change the structure of the argument so that the analysis would then have to be revised. This is often the case; there can be some interplay between analysis and evaluation, the one suggesting revisions to the other. But the basic idea is that analysis has to do with the structure of an argument, with an argument's parts and how they allegedly work together, whereas evaluation has to do with the validity or strength of an argument, with whether the parts of the argument do actually work together in the way alleged by the author of the argument.
There is no argument in this paragraph. There are, however, a number of assertions any one of which might be used later as a premise in an argument. These assertions include: the good will is good only through willing; the good will in itself is of incomparably higher value than anything that it could bring about in order to satisfy any and all inclinations; the good will has its full worth in itself; usefulness and uselessness have no bearing on the worth of the good will.
The 'Daher' ('Therefore', 'Accordingly', 'This is why') at 4.12 (4:395.1-2) in this paragraph probably indicates explanation rather than argument. Kant is just explaining or giving the motivation for going ahead with this test on the idea of a will that has absolute worth; he is not trying to prove that he will conduct the test.
There is an argument in this paragraph, but it is not so easy to assemble all its parts. The conclusion is that if nature has chosen reason as the administrator of the will, then it has made a poor choice. But at the end of the paragraph, Kant seems to put it in a somewhat different way: nature would have entrusted instinct with the selection of the will's ends and means. So it is not even clear what exactly the conclusion is to be. In any case, the premises offered in support of the conclusion, whatever it might exactly be, are basically that nature always chooses the most appropriate means to achieve its purposes, that the happiness of rational beings with a will is the purpose or end of nature, that reason does a poor job of securing that happiness, and that instinct would do a much better job of it.
There might be two intertwined arguments in this paragraph. The conclusion of the first is that the more a cultivated reason devotes itself to the enjoyment of life and of happiness the more the human being departs from true satisfaction. The second conclusion is that for many people a hatred of reason arises as a result of the situation described in the first conclusion. The support for the first conclusion is that, after estimating the advantages that reason is to provide, it is found that more trouble than happiness has been gained. The support for the second conclusion is basically that those who initially trust reason to help them find happiness end up envying those common folk who do not put trust in reason but who rather put their trust in instinct. The last part of the paragraph (about what one must admit, starting at 6.13 (4:396.5)) seems not to contribute to either of these arguments. It might just be an aside, designed to lend some credibility to those who downplay the advantages that reason is supposed to provide in finding happiness. But, then again, it might be a conclusion, its support coming in the very next paragraph which begins with 'Denn' ('For').
The paragraph begins (with 'Denn' or, in English, 'For') with reasons offered apparently in support of the claim made in the last part of the previous paragraph. The claim made there was essentially that the judgment of those who play down the advantages of reason as a means to happiness is not bitter; rather, their judgment harbors as its basis the idea of the absolute worth of the good will, reason being employed by nature to help produce, in the first place, this good will, the production of happiness being relegated to a distant second. Apparently as reasons for this claim, Kant assembles some previous conclusions and new assertions: instinct would be a better guide than reason; we have been given reason also as a practical faculty that can influence the will; reason is absolutely necessary in order to produce a good will; nature everywhere works purposively. Although they seem relevant in some way, these reasons do not directly support the claim about judgment made in the previous paragraph. Perhaps the reasons are instead intended to support some other, unstated but implied, conclusion from the previous paragraph. Or perhaps they are to support the claim introduced by 'so' (at 7.7 (4:396.20)) in the current paragraph: the true function of reason is to produce a will good in itself. The reasons, in any case, do not directly support Kant's next explicit conclusion, for in it he introduces several totally new concepts: the only good, the whole good, and the highest good. This next conclusion (or conclusions), signaled first by 'also' ('therefore') at 7.12 (4:396.24) and later by 'weil' ('because') at 7.23 (4:396.32), is that the good will is not the only or the whole good, must be the highest good, and must be the condition of everything else, including the demand for happiness. This conclusion of sorts might also even contain yet another part, namely, that as the condition of everything else the highest good (i.e., the good will) is consistent with the wisdom of nature. Part of this whole conclusion-cluster might find support in Kant's previous possible conclusion that reason's function is to produce a will good in itself rather than merely to produce a will good as a means; for one might think that the highest good must at a minimum be good in itself. It might also be the case that this part (i.e., that the good will must be the highest good) of the conclusion-cluster is supposed to be supported by what Kant argued for at the beginning of the Section: that only the good will is good without qualification. Another part of the conclusion-cluster, in particular the part about consistency or compatibility, might be supported by what Kant goes on to claim in the rest of the sentence. He claims that reason is capable of its own kind of satisfaction when a good will is produced. This claim, combined with a view of nature as purposive and as providing satisfactions when those purposes are achieved, might be used to support the consistency claim that is part of the conclusion-cluster.
There is no argument in this paragraph. Rather than argumentative, the paragraph is purely informative, letting the reader know what Kant is going to do next.
The passages covering what Kant is going to pass over or set to the side are explanations rather than arguments. These passages, however, can be reformulated as arguments, and they do contain important information. For example, Kant explains that he is going to pass over actions that are contrary to duty because they are not done from duty insofar as they clash with duty. This explanation of Kant's plans could be turned into an argument, as in this syllogism:
all actions that are contrary to duty are actions that clash with duty;
no actions that clash with duty are actions that are done from duty;
so no actions that are contrary to duty are actions that are done from duty.
Alternate reformulations of the passage might not use the syllogistic form, but their constitutive statements should similarly capture the important information content that is in the original passage.
The second half of the paragraph is more plausibly interpreted as argumentative, for Kant there does not speak of what he is planning to do, and the paragraph ends with a statement beginning with 'Also' ('Therefore') at 9.18 (4:397.30). If there really is an argument here, then the conclusion is that the shopkeeper's action was merely done for a self-interested purpose, not from duty and not from an immediate inclination. The support for this conclusion would be the shopkeeper example itself plus what Kant says in reference to the example. So the premises and intermediate conclusions might include: customers are honestly served; that customers are honestly served is by itself not sufficient evidence to conclude that the shopkeeper acted from duty, for the shopkeeper might have been motivated by thoughts of her own advantage; it cannot be assumed that the shopkeeper had an immediate inclination to treat her customers impartially.
There is no straightforward argument in this paragraph, no claim that one statement follows from any other statement or statements. But Kant may be implicitly asking the reader to conclude with him, upon consideration of the examples of preserving one's life, that a person's maxim has moral content only when the maxim is acted upon from considerations of duty. So there might be a kind of argument by example in this paragraph.
There are a couple of arguments in this paragraph, both having the same premise. That premise is that the maxim (that specifies the action under consideration) lacks moral content (10.23 (4:398.18-9)). From this premise, Kant draws these two conclusions: an action of this kind (i.e., done in accordance with duty but from inclination) has no true moral worth; an action of this kind deserves praise and encouragement but not esteem. As in previous paragraphs with examples, it might be possible to read Kant as also arguing by example, using the the three examples in the paragraph not (or not just) to illustrate what he means but also to help establish what he maintains. If that is the case here, then the paragraph might contain more than these two arguments, or perhaps the examples might somehow be integrated into just the two arguments.
There is at least one argument in this paragraph. It occurs at the very beginning, and the conclusion of it is that to secure one's own happiness is (at least an indirect) duty. The sole premise offered in support of this conclusion is basically that the lack of satisfaction with one's condition could easily become a great temptation toward the transgression of duties. The other inference-like phrasings in the paragraph seem best interpreted as explanations. For example, the second sentence (in the German starting at 12.4 (4:399.7)) has the appearance of an argumentative inference, going from the claim (1) that in the idea of happiness all inclinations unite into a sum total to the claim (2) that all human beings already of themselves have the most powerful and intimate inclination toward happiness. But, for at least two reasons, this is best seen as an explanation rather than as an argument. First, it is fairly obvious that human beings in general have such an inclination toward happiness; so there is no need to prove this, but it does need explanation. Of course, Kant might intend that the 'alle' be taken literally so that the claim would be that every individual human being has such an inclination; if this is his meaning, then the claim is more contentious and reading the inference as argumentative might be the better interpretation. But, second, in good arguments at any rate, the a premise is typically less controversial than the conclusion; but here (1) is more controversial than (2). The would-be premise in this case is more controversial not least because its meaning is very unclear. How are all inclinations, none of which is an idea, to be united into a single idea? The difficulty is not just in understanding how to go from many to one, but also from one kind of entity to another kind of entity. But even if we bypass these difficulties, it is not obviously true that happiness is only a matter of summing up inclinations; there might be more to happiness than inclinations and their summation.
If the paragraph is to be read as chiefly explanatory, then what exactly is Kant explaining in most of the paragraph? He is explaining how it is possible that people, like the gout sufferer, so often do what diminishes their happiness when they all have an inclination toward happiness; and this is possible, in short, because a single determinate inclination can outweigh a wavering idea such as happiness. As in other paragraphs with examples, Kant might also here be giving an argument by example, and the conclusion again would be that only when the action is done from duty does it have genuine moral worth.
The argument in this paragraph seems very roughly to follow the pattern of a disjunctive syllogism in which there are initially two options on offer and then one of them is eliminated. The explicit premises are that love as an inclination cannot be commanded, that beneficence from duty is practical love, and that only practical love can be commanded. Then, along with the implicit premise that the biblical command to love one's neighbor is either (to be understood as) a command from inclination or a command from duty, we get the conclusion that the biblical command is (to be understood as) a command from duty.
In this paragraph, Kant might be giving two separate arguments for the same conclusion. In both arguments, the conclusion is that an action from duty gets its moral worth from the principle of willing (i.e., the maxim) by which the action is decided. The first argument for this conclusion occurs in the first half of the paragraph, and it seems to be a kind of argument by elimination. This first argument goes something like this: an action from duty has its moral worth either in the purposes to be achieved by the action or in the effects of the action or in the principle of willing by which the action is decided; (from the foregoing it is clear that) the moral worth does not lie in the purposes or in the effects; so the moral worth of an action from duty is in the principle of willing.
The second argument, which also proceeds by elimination, goes like this: the will is determined either by a formal principle a priori or by a material principle a posteriori; the will must be determined by something; every material principle has been removed from the will; so the will must be determined by a formal principle a priori; an action from duty gets its moral worth from what determines the will [an implicit premise]; so an action from duty has its moral worth in a formal principle a priori (i.e., in the principle of willing).
The paragraph begins with the report of an argument: Kant says that the third proposition follows from the previous two propositions. The rest of the paragraph, however, does not seem to use the two previous propositions to give an actual argument for the third proposition; there is no mention, for instance, of moral worth in the rest of the paragraph. But the rest of the paragraph does contain some genuine inferences, not just reports of inferences, and though these inferences do not, at least directly, invoke the two previous propositions, they do argue toward the third proposition.
Although it reads almost like an explanation, the first such inference goes in the run-on sentence at 14.19-23 (4:400.22-5 )from the claim that the object of one's proposed action is an effect and not the activity of a will to the claim that one can have an inclination, but not respect, for that object. Kant then generalizes this latter claim so that it applies to inclination in general and to anyone who has the inclination. Switching back to the individual point of view ('my will' and 'my inclination' for 'meinem Willen' and 'meiner Neigung', respectively, at 14.24-5 (4:400.26-7)), he continues the argument with these premises: (1) only what is connected to one's will merely as a ground can be an object of respect; (2) what is connected to one's will as an effect can never be an object of respect; (3) only what does not serve one's inclination can be an object of respect; (4) only what outweighs or at least excludes inclination can be an object of respect. These four premises might be inferred from what he has just said about inclination and respect; so they might be intermediate conclusions as well. From these premises, Kant then reaches the (further) intermediate conclusion that only mere law can be an object of respect. Apparently as a corollary, Kant adds to the intermediate conclusion that only a law, as an object of respect, can be a command. The argument then continues with two additional premises: an action from duty is to be totally separate from the influence of inclination; an action from duty is to be totally separate from any object of the will. From these two additional premises, and perhaps in conjunction with the previous four, Kant then infers that nothing remains that can determine the will except, objectively, the law, and, subjectively, pure respect for this practical law. Finally, Kant concludes, with the help of another premise supplied in the footnote on page 15 (4:400) to 'Maxime', that there is nothing left to determine the will except the maxim to follow such a law. The argument does not get us all the way to the third proposition, there being, for instance, no mention of necessity in the premises, but it does go in the general direction of the third proposition by eliminating inclination and by associating action from duty exclusively with determination of the will from respect for law.
Kant begins this paragraph with a couple of conclusions: the moral worth of an action does not lie in the expected effect of the action; the moral worth of an action does not lie in a principle of action which needs to borrow its motive from the expected effect of the action. The second conclusion is apparently an immediate logical consequence, a corollary, of the first, for it is preceded by the paragraph's second 'also' ('therefore') at 15.12 (4:401.4). Because the paragraph starts with these conclusions, Kant might intend that they have their support in what he has already said in previous paragraphs. I will not pursue this possibility, for Kant goes on explicitly in this paragraph to give some new reasons for the conclusions. Kant argues that all these effects can also be brought about by other causes and therefore (the third 'also' at 15.18 (4:401.9) that the will of a rational being is not needed to produce them. These claims, together with the additional claim (perhaps first introduced around 7.14) that the highest and unconditional good can only be found in the will of a rational being, lead Kant to conclude ('daher' at 15.21 (4:401.11)) further that nothing but a rational being's representation of the law itself can constitute the moral good which is already present in a person who is acting according to that representation.
There is one inference in this paragraph. In perhaps its simplest form, the inference goes from the claim that Kant has robbed the will of all incentives to the claim that only the universal conformity to law of actions in general remains. More expansively, it might read: because all incentives that could arise for the will by following any single law have been removed, only the universal conformity to law of actions in general remains to serve the will as a principle that can determine the will.
Although this paragraph is mainly illustrative, there are two arguments embedded in the paragraph's example of false promising. The conclusion (18.22-4 (4:402.31-3)) of the first argument is that it is something quite different to be truthful from duty than to be truthful from fear of disadvantageous consequences. The first set of premises in support of this conclusion includes these assertions: the concept of the action of telling the truth from duty already contains in itself a law for the individual; in an action of telling the truth from fear of consequences, the individual must look around elsewhere (i.e., not, presumably, in the concept) for the effects connected with the action. These premises are in turn supported by a second set of premises found in the sentence beginning with 'Denn' (19.1 (4:402.36)) or 'For' in English: it is quite certainly bad if one deviates from the principle of duty; although it is safer to stay with the principle of prudence, deserting the principle can sometimes be very advantageous.
The conclusion-set (19.16-8 (4:403.10-11)) of the second argument is that one can will the lie and that one can not at all will a universal law to lie. A chain of inferences then supports this conclusion-set: the first link is that it would be pointless to make such a false promise which others either would not believe or would repay in like coin; from this first link Kant infers the second link that a maxim of false promising would have to destroy itself as soon as it were made a universal law; finally, from this second link in the chain of inferences, Kant infers the third link (which then directly supports the conclusion-set) that according to such a universal law to lie, there would be no promising at all. So the inference links go from the pointless to the self-destruction to the non-existence of promising and then to the conclusion-set. An alternate sequence of linkages is possible: from the pointless to the non-existence of promising to the self-destruction and then to the conclusion-set.
There might be three arguments in this paragraph. The conclusion with which the paragraph opens is that in order that one's willing be morally good one does not have to do anything that requires any exceptional clear-sightedness. This conclusion is apparently to follow from the previous couple of paragraphs and from what Kant goes on to say in this paragraph about the question that one only has to ask oneself.
The second argument, contained in the answer to the question, goes something like this: a maxim which one cannot also will that it become a universal law is a maxim that cannot fit as a principle in a possible universal lawgiving; so, if one cannot also will that one's maxim become a universal law, then the maxim is to be rejected.
The third possible argument, near the end of the paragraph, runs like this: duty is the condition of a will good in itself; so, every other motive must yield to duty.
There might be some arguments in this paragraph. The prime candidate concludes that no science or philosophy is required in order to know what one has to do in order to be honest and good, wise and virtuous. At least one premise in support of this conclusion is that ordinary human reason, attentively using the principle of willing maxims as universal laws as a moral compass, already knows very well how to distinguish what is good from what is bad, what is in accordance with duty from what is contrary to duty. Much of the rest of the paragraph might also be read as providing support for the conclusion, for Kant goes on to say that moral knowledge of what to do lies within the province of ordinary human affairs, that in ordinary human understanding practical reason is less prone to error than is theoretical reason precisely because practical reason, in following the principle of willing maxims as universal laws, excludes sensuous impulses from practical laws. Furthermore, the part of the conclusion that asserts that philosophy is not required receives direct support when Kant claims that ordinary human understanding has almost a better chance of getting things morally right than the philosopher; the reason (or explanation) for this claim is that the philosopher's judgment, although using the same principle used by ordinary human understanding, can easily become confused by a tangle of irrelevant considerations which then throw it off course.
This paragraph is perhaps best thought of as a mixture of argument, explanation, and description. The conclusion of the argument is that even wisdom still requires science in order to provide admittance and permanence for wisdom's prescriptions. The support for this conclusion is in the premise that innocence is very bad in that it does not keep well and is easily misled. In the rest of the paragraph, Kant seems to go on to explain why innocence is so fragile and easily misled; he describes the circumstances that give rise to the natural dialectic that pits the commands of duty recognized by reason against the satisfaction of needs, inclinations, and wishes embraced by happiness.
In the German, this paragraph consists of just two sentences, and they are both conclusions or conclusion-sets. The first conclusion is that ordinary or common human reason is driven for practical reasons into the field of practical philosophy in order to find in practical philosophy information and clear instruction regarding the source and correct determination of its principle so that ordinary human reason will not through ambiguity lose sight of genuine moral principles. The second conclusion-set, which Kant might intend to follow from the first, claims that there is an analogy between practical and theoretical reason in that in both a dialectic arises which requires reason to seek help from philosophy. Kant ends the section with the further claim, perhaps concluded on the basis of the analogy, that practical reason will find relief only in a complete critique of reason.
There is no argument in this opening paragraph of the second section; there is only explanation. In particular, Kant is not arguing that there have always been philosophers who have denied the reality of the disposition to act from duty; rather, Kant is explaining why there always have been such philosophers. The explanation that Kant gives is that no sure examples of such a disposition can be given so that it must always be doubtful whether an action is done from duty. In short, this persistent doubt explains the position of those philosophers who always deny the reality of action from duty; those philosophers pick up on this persistent doubt and make hay with it.
The argument in this paragraph starts with these two premises: in moral matters, the actions which one sees are not what count; in moral matters, the unseen inner principles of actions are what count. From these initial premises, Kant reaches this intermediate conclusion: it cannot be concluded from our finding through self-examination that only the moral ground of duty is strong enough to move us to perform a good action that there is no secret impulse of self-love which is the real determining cause of the will. The final conclusion is then that it is absolutely impossible through experience to make out with complete certainty a single case in which the maxim of an action otherwise in conformity with duty rests only on moral grounds and on the representation of one's duty.
The first argument, which occurs in the first (German) sentence, in this paragraph is brief: conceding that the concepts of duty have merely to be drawn from experience prepares a secure triumph for those who ridicule all morality as mere fantasy; so one cannot do them a bigger favor than conceding this. The second argument, which begins around 27.23 (4:407.34), is a bit longer even when compressed: duty in general lies before all experience in the idea of a reason which determines the will through a priori grounds; only the clear conviction that reason commands, by itself independently of any appearances, what ought to happen can preserve the idea of duty and its law; so pure actions which never have been done might nevertheless be commanded by reason.
The conclusion of the argument in this paragraph is that no experience can provide occasion to infer even the possibility of apodictic laws. Kant offers several premises to support this conclusion. First, if there is in the concept of morality some truth and reference to a possible object, then one cannot deny that its law must hold for all rational beings with absolute necessity. Second, what perhaps holds only under the contingent conditions of humanity cannot be brought to unlimited respect as a universal prescription for every rational nature. Third, laws determining our will cannot be held to be laws determining the will of a rational being in general. Fourth, if there were merely empirical laws determining the will of a rational being in general, they could not be held to be laws for determining our will. And perhaps fifth, such laws of universal and absolute prescription determining the will must have their origin completely a priori in pure practical reason. The support for this possible fifth premise might come from an implicit claim to the effect that empirical laws cannot prescribe universally or absolutely.
There is one argument in this paragraph about examples. The conclusion is that one could not advise morality more badly than if one wanted to borrow it from examples. Kant offers at least two premises in support of this conclusion. The first is that each example must previously be judged according to the principles of morality as to whether the example is worthy to serve as the original example or pattern. The second premise is that an example can in no way provide the highest concept of morality. It is possible that Kant also wants to use the subsequent example about the Holy One as support, but it might just be illustrative and so might carry no inferential weight. It is likewise difficult to say precisely what inferential weight the paragraph's last sentence, about imitation, might have. It might work alongside the second premise; for, while the second premise specifies what role examples do not play, the assertions in this last sentence initially specify what role examples do play and then at the end again specify what examples cannot do.
The argument in this paragraph concludes that it might well be necessary to give these a priori concepts a general, abstract presentation. The reason offered for this conclusion is that a popular practical philosophy would be preferred over a metaphysics of morals if a vote were held.
If there is an argument in this paragraph, the conclusion is that it is extremely absurd at the start of the investigation to want to descend to the level of popular folk concepts in order to win people over. Kant supports this conclusion with several points. First, as a sub-argument that feeds into the main argument, Kant argues that this procedure of lowering the discussion to the popular level in order to gain acceptance cannot claim the merit of a true philosophical popularity because there is no skill in making something commonly understandable at the expense of fundamental insight. Second, Kant registers several complaints against the procedure: it produces an impure mixture of observations and superficial principles which, Kant explains, light-weight thinkers like because they are useful in breezy conversation; it produces confusion and dissatisfaction, leading to paralysis or abandonment, in some insightful thinkers; and it produces so much noise that the voice of reason cannot be heard.
There is no argument in this one-sentence paragraph. In it, Kant offers a description of the content and missteps of popular moral philosophy.
The conclusion of the argument in this paragraph is that an unmixed, isolated metaphysics of morals is not only an indispensable substrate of all safely or securely determined theoretical cognition of duties but is also of the highest importance for actually fulfilling the prescriptions of those duties. Kant gives two premises in support. First, the pure representation of duty and of moral law in general has through reason alone an influence on the human heart which surpasses any empirical incentives. Second, a mixed doctrine of morals must make the mind waver between unprincipled motives that can lead occasionally to the good but more often to the bad.
There is no argument in this paragraph, although there is possibly an inference around 35.10 (4:412.2) from the claim that moral laws are to hold for all rational beings in general to the claim that it is of the greatest practical importance to derive the principles from the universal concept of a rational being in general. But the bulk of the paragraph is just a series of conclusions. Kant does not make it clear whether these are new conclusions now inferred from what he has already argued or whether these conclusions are simply restatements of conclusions already reached or whether these conclusions are a mixture of both new and previously reached conclusions. In any case, the conclusions include the following:
all moral concepts have their seat and origin completely a priori in reason, even in ordinary human reason;
moral concepts can be abstracted from no empirical, contingent cognition;
the dignity of these concepts to serve us as the highest practical principles lies precisely in this purity of their origin;
the reduction in the concepts' genuine influence and in the unlimited worth of actions is directly proportional to the amount of the empirical that is added to the concepts;
it is of the greatest practical importance to demand that the moral concepts and laws be drawn from pure reason
it is of the greatest practical importance to demand that the moral concepts and laws be presented pure and unmixed;
it is of the greatest practical importance to demand that the whole power of pure practical reason be determined;
it is of the greatest practical importance to demand that the principles be derived from the universal concept of a rational being in general;
it is of the greatest practical importance to demand first that a pure philosophy (i.e., metaphysics) be completely presented independently of anthropology;
without a metaphysics, it is impossible to ground morality on its genuine principles
without a metaphysics, it is impossible to create pure moral dispositions.
This paragraph contains no argument, but there might be an inference in the second block of parenthetical material. The inference there goes from the claim that metaphysics must take the measure of the whole content of rational cognition of this kind (i.e, practical rational cognition) to the claim that metaphysics goes up to ideas where there are no examples.
The one argument in this paragraph concludes that the will is nothing other than practical reason. The only explicit premise offered in support of this conclusion is that reason is required for the derivation of actions from laws. Clearly, since the conclusion is an assertion about the will and the premise says nothing about the will, at least one more premise is needed to get the conclusion to follow.
There is no argument in this very short paragraph, only definitions.
There is no argument in this paragraph, but there is an important inference. The inference occurs in the sentence (starting at 38.3 (4:413.18)) characterizing the practical good, and it informs us that if the will is determined by a representation of reason then it is determined by an objective cause (i.e., grounds that hold for all rational beings) and not a subjective cause which can vary from being to being.
This paragraph contains a moderately complex argument. From the previous paragraph, Kant immediately concludes that a perfectly good will would equally stand under objective laws of the good. But, from the current paragraph, he also concludes that a perfectly good will cannot be represented as necessitated by the laws under which it stands to actions that conform to duty; the reason offered for this conclusion is that the perfectly good will of itself, according to its subjective make-up, can be determined only by the representation of the good. Kant then additionally concludes from these two conclusions, or perhaps only from the latter, that imperatives hold for neither the divine will nor a holy will in general. What Kant says next, namely, that the ought is here out of place because the willing is already of itself necessarily in agreement with the law, might only be intended as an explanation of why the ought is out of place and ultimately of why imperatives do not hold for a divine will. But it is also possible that the two claims also, or instead, play an inferential role, in which case the claim about willing supports the claim about ought which then supports the conclusion that imperatives do not hold for a divine will. In the paragraph's last sentence, Kant apparently concludes from all of this that imperatives are only formulas for expressing the relation of objective laws of willing in general to the subjective imperfection of the will of this or that rational being.
This paragraph, which introduces the two kinds of imperatives, contains no argument.
If this paragraph contains an argument, then it is something like this: every practical law represents a possible action as good; so every practical law represents a possible good action as necessary for a subject that is practically determinable through reason; so all imperatives are formulas of the determination of action that is necessary according to the principle of a will good in some way. At a minimum, for the argument to work, there needs to be an additional premise about imperatives, for the final conclusion makes an assertion about imperatives and there is no mention of imperatives in the given premises. This additional premise is presumably to be found in what Kant has in the last few paragraphs already told us about imperatives: imperatives are formulas of commands of reason; imperatives are expressed through an ought; imperatives say that an action is good to do or not do; imperatives speak only to imperfect wills; imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically.
Kant begins this paragraph with a couple of general conclusions about imperatives of both kinds. These conclusions are apparently supported by previous paragraphs, for in the remainder of the current paragraph, Kant only gives explanations of how it is possible for a rational being not to do an action that is good. The first conclusion is that imperatives say which action would be good to do, provided that the action is possible for the rational being to do. The second conclusion is that imperatives represent the practical rule in relation to a will that does not automatically do an action just because it is a good action.
Kant starts off this paragraph with the conclusion that hypothetical imperatives say only that the action is good for a possible or actual purpose. The rest of the paragraph offers no support for the conclusion; so its support must come from what Kant has already said in previous paragraphs. What is new in the conclusion is the references to the possible and the actual. Kant might have thought that these two kinds of purpose are exhaustive so that the conclusion follows quickly from what he has already said about hypothetical imperatives, especially about their specifying what is good as a means to achieve a purpose.
This paragraph begins with the following argument: what is possible only through the powers of some rational being can be thought of as a possible purpose for some will; so the principles of action, so far as the action is represented as necessary in order to attain some possible purpose to be effected by the action, are infinitely many. The rest of the paragraph consists of description, examples, and of rational explanations as to why certain imperatives can be named in certain ways and why parents do what they do.
There are three arguments in this paragraph. The first argument is this: there is an end that one can presuppose as actual for all dependent rational beings; so there is a purpose, happiness, that one can safely presuppose all dependent rational beings have according to a natural necessity.
The second argument concludes that the hypothetical imperative that represents the practical necessity of action as means to the furtherance of happiness is assertoric. As support for this conclusion, Kant offers the following: one may not merely present such an hypothetical imperative as necessary for an uncertain, merely possible purpose; the purpose (i.e., the furtherance of happiness) belongs to the dependent rational being's essence; so one may present the imperative as necessary for a purpose (i.e., the furtherance of happiness) that one can safely and a priori presuppose for every human being. Kant's argument, then, for this second conclusion is roughly disjunctive: the imperative is either problematic or assertoric; it is not (merely) problematic; so it is assertoric.
The third argument in the paragraph begins with the premise that one can call the skill in the choice of means to one's own greatest well-being 'prudence' in the narrowest sense of the word. From this premise, Kant concludes that the imperative (i.e., the imperative of prudence) which refers to the choice of means to personal happiness is always hypothetical.
There is no argument in this paragraph; its assertions only provide a description of the categorical imperative.
If there is an argument in this paragraph, then it is not an argument that sets out to prove anything. At most, the argument is to defend or justify the use of certain terms as the designators for the three types of practical principles (i.e., problematic, assertoric, categorical) that Kant has introduced. It is also possible that Kant is just explaining why he thinks these alternate expressions (i.e., rules, counsels, commands; technical, pragmatic, moral) are appropriate. What Kant says by way of justification or explanation is that of the three kinds of practical principle only law carries with it the concept of an unconditional, objective, and hence universally valid necessity, and that commands are laws which must be obeyed. The other two kinds do carry with them a necessity, but that necessity is conditioned and subjective. Whether argument of some kind or only explanation, the main point that Kant seems to want to get across is that the classification is to bring out that only the commands of morality can be categorical imperatives and so have moral import.
The general conclusion of this paragraph is that the question of how the imperative of skill is possible is not a question that needs much discussion in order to be answered correctly. In support of this general conclusion, Kant argues that imperatives of skill are, or can be formulated as, analytic propositions. In particular, Kant argues that the following proposition is analytic: whoever wills the end also wills the means indispensably necessary to achieve that end (provided that reason has decisive influence over actions and that the means are in one's power). Kant claims it is analytic for two cooperating reasons: first, in the willing of an object as my effect, my causality as an acting cause is already thought; second, from the concept of willing this end, the imperative pulls out the concept of necessary actions to this end. After the example of dividing the line equally, Kant gives another argument for the claim that a certain proposition is analytic. This time the alleged analytic proposition is: when I will the complete effect, I also will the action that is required for the effect. This time there is only one premise, and it is this: it is fully one and the same to represent something as an effect possible in a certain way through me and to represent myself acting in the same way with respect to the effect. As far as the relation between these two arguments, it might be that Kant intends the conclusion of the first argument to provide support for this sole premise of the second argument.
The ultimate conclusion of the multi-layered argument in this paragraph is that there is also (as with imperatives of skill) no difficulty in the possibility of imperatives of prudence; this conclusion is actually stated at the very end of this long paragraph. The premise (or penultimate conclusion) that directly supports this ultimate conclusion is that imperatives of prudence are (or would be if the concept of happiness were determinate) analytic practical propositions. Kant supports this premise by saying that the claim that who wills the end also wills the sole means to that end which are in her power (provided that reason has full control over her will) also applies (as it did with imperatives of skill in the previous paragraph) to imperatives of prudence. The structure of the argument gets fuzzy at this point. There is in the middle part of the paragraph a long digression on the indeterminacy of the concept of happiness, and then Kant seems to pick up the argument again towards the end of the paragraph. But it is not really clear whether the part of the argument before the digression and the part after are supposed to work together or are supposed to offer separate support for the same claim about analyticity; they might even be separate arguments for the penultimate conclusion about analyticity. In any case, after the digression, Kant reasons in something like the following way in favor of the analyticity claim: the imperative of prudence is distinguished from the imperative of skill only in that in the case of the imperative of skill the end is merely possible while in the case of the imperative of prudence the end is given; both imperatives command merely the means to that which one presupposes that one willed as an end; so, for her who wills the end, the imperative which commands the willing of the means is in both cases analytic.
The digression into the indeterminacy of the concept of happiness is apparently meant to explain why the claim of analyticity for the imperative of prudence is phrased in the subjunctive mood (at 45.24 and 48.2 (4:417.27 and 419.3)). Other than serving in this explanatory capacity, the digression about happiness does not contribute to the argument for analyticity and then for the ultimate conclusion about there being no difficulty as to the possibility of imperatives of prudence. It is hard to say whether the digression itself is argumentative or explanatory. It starts off in an explanatory mode, for Kant says that the cause of the indeterminacy in the concept of happiness is that all of the elements of the concept are empirical. But then, during the course of the examples designed to illustrate that an insightful and powerful but finite being cannot foresee all the unintended consequences of what it wills, the tenor of Kant's discussion seems to shift from the explanatory to the argumentative, until at last we find Kant apparently concluding that the finite being cannot determine what would truly bring happiness because omniscience would be required for this determination. This shift is complete by the time Kant concludes first that, where happiness is concerned, one can only act according to suggestions, not determinate principles, and then successively concludes that imperatives of prudence do not, strictly speaking, command, that they are counsels, and that the task of determining which actions promote happiness is completely insoluble. Kant seems, however, to switch back to explanation toward the end of the digression when he says that no imperative aiming at happiness is possible because happiness is not an ideal of reason but rather of imagination.
Kant gives one new argument in this paragraph. The conclusion of this new argument is that the imperative of morality is the only imperative that is in need of a solution as to how it is possible. Kant's reasoning seems to be the following: the imperative of morality is not in the least hypothetical; only in the case of hypothetical imperatives is the necessity expressed in them based on presuppositions; so the imperative of morality can be based on no presuppositions. In the rest of the paragraph, Kant repeats his admonition against the use of examples as a foundation for morality. The argument he gives is similar to the one he gave on page 26 (4:407) regarding the ineliminable possibility that some hidden impulse of self-love, rather than duty, might be motivating us to act according to duty. There is, however, an additional, new premise and intermediate conclusion: experience teaches nothing more than that we do not perceive the cause; so the non-existence of a cause cannot be proved by experience.
There appear to be two arguments in this paragraph. The conclusion of the first is that we will have to conduct a wholly a priori investigation of the possibility of a categorical imperative. In addition to what he said in the previous paragraph, Kant gives two explicit reasons in support of this conclusion. The more fundamental reason is that in the case of the categorical imperative we do not have the advantage of having the reality of the imperative being given to us in experience; this more fundamental reason is perhaps supported by Kant's argument in the previous paragraph against the use of examples. From this more fundamental reason, Kant infers the second reason: that in the case of the categorical imperative the possibility of the imperative is needed not just to explain it but also to establish it.
The second argument in the paragraph tries to make the case for the following conclusion-set: only the categorical imperative is a practical law; all other imperatives are merely principles of the will. As support for this set of conclusions, Kant gives the following set of premises and inference: what is necessary merely for the attainment of an optional purpose can be considered in itself as contingent; if we give up the purpose, we can always be freed from the prescription; the unconditioned command to the will leaves open no option with regard to the opposite of the command; so only the unconditioned command to the will carries with it the necessity which we demand of a law.
In this paragraph, Kant argues that the ground of the difficulty of seeing into the possibility of the categorical imperative is very great. He offers the following reasoning for this conclusion: the categorical imperative is a synthetic a priori practical proposition; seeing into the possibility of synthetic a priori propositions in theoretical cognition is very difficult; so it is easy to gather that seeing into the possibility of synthetic a priori propositions in practical cognition will have no less difficulty.
This paragraph seems to be more explanatory than argumentative. Kant is not arguing or proving that we will first try to find out if the mere concept of a categorical imperative might also provide the formula (of a categorical imperative) which contains the proposition which alone can be a categorical imperative. Rather, Kant gives an explanation in defense of taking this approach first. Kant explains that, although we now know that only a categorical imperative, as a practical law, commands absolutely, the question of how the absolute command is possible will still require special and difficult effort, and this effort is to be postponed until the Third Section.
There are two conclusions in this paragraph. The first is that when I think of an hypothetical imperative in general, I do not know in advance what the imperative will contain until the condition is given to me. The second conclusion is that when I think of a categorical imperative, I know right away what the imperative contains. Kant gives the same reasons for both conclusions. He argues that, besides the law, the imperative contains only the necessity of the maxim to be in conformity with that law; the law contains no condition that limits the law; so nothing remains except the universality of a law in general to which the maxim of the action is to conform and which conformity alone the imperative properly represents as necessary. This last, about nothing remaining, might be an intermediate conclusion (or, analyzing further, conclusions).
There is no argument in this paragraph, only the conclusion or conclusion-set of an argument. If a conclusion-set, then the two conclusions are the uniqueness claim and the statement announcing what the imperative is.
There is no argument in this paragraph, only a conditional statement to the effect that we can understand something (e.g., duty) better if we know what can be derived from it. There might, however, be an inference in the paragraph, provided that conditional statements are taken to express inferences.
In this paragraph, Kant seems to argue for an alternate reading or formulation of the categorical imperative. The formulation has come to be known as the formula of the universal law of nature. Kant's premise is that the universality of law by which effects occur constitutes what is properly called nature in the most general sense.
There is no argument in this paragraph. Kant merely announces that he will now enumerate some perfect and imperfect duties to ourselves and to others.
In this paragraph, Kant gives the first of four consecutive examples illustrating the categorical imperative. Though used for illustration only and not itself an argument, this example of a perfect duty to oneself does contain at least a report of an argument or a description of inferences going through the mind of a person contemplating suicide: a nature whose law uses the same feeling of self-love both to further life and to destroy life contradicts itself; so such a nature would not endure; so it is impossible that a maxim prescribing suicide as a form of self-love could occur as a universal law of nature; consequently, such a maxim completely conflicts with the highest principle of duty.
This example of a perfect duty to others also contains the report of an argument going through someone's mind. The reported conclusion-set is: the maxim (to make a false promise) can never hold as a universal law of nature; the maxim cannot agree with itself; and the maxim must necessarily contradict itself. The immediately supporting premise is that the universality of a law commanding false promising would make the promising and any associated end impossible; and the premises supporting this premise asserting impossibility are that no one would believe what is promised and that everyone would laugh at all such false promising as idle pretense.
In this paragraph's example of an imperfect duty to oneself, the reported argument concludes that it is impossible to will that the maxim become a universal law of nature or that the maxim be put in us, through natural instinct, as a universal law of nature. The reported premises are that powers have been given to and serve a rational being for all kinds of possible purposes; so a rational being necessarily wills that all its powers be developed.
In this paragraph, the reported argument concludes that it is impossible to will the maxim (or principle) of indifference to others in need as a law of nature that holds everywhere. In support of this conclusion, Kant says that a will that decided to act on this maxim would conflict with itself because many cases can occur in which the will requires the love and compassion of others and in which the will would, through a law of nature sprung from the will itself, rob itself of all hope of assistance which it wishes for itself.
There is one argument (at 57.14-17 (4:424.7-10)), consisting of one premise, one inference, and one conclusion, in this paragraph. The conclusion is that it is impossible to will that the action's maxim be raised to the universality of a law of nature. The premise offered in support is that such a will would contradict itself.
There are some inferences in this paragraph, but, because the paragraph also serves as an account of what is happening internally when a rational being does not do her duty, it is especially difficult to piece the inferences together to form a coherent argument.
The first inference starts with the claim that it is impossible for us to will that a maxim prescribing the transgression of a duty should become a universal law. The inference ends with the claim that when we transgress a duty we do not actually will that the maxim prescribing the transgression of the duty should become a universal law. So, basically, the inference goes from the impossibility of the willing to the actuality of non-occurrence. Kant then says that what is willed in such cases is that the opposite of the maxim to transgress should remain a universal law. Kant's reasoning here might be following the pattern of a disjunctive syllogism: we either will the maxim or we will the opposite of the maxim; we do not will the maxim (because that is impossible); so we will the opposite. In any case, Kant next says that what is really going on in such cases of transgression is that we are taking the freedom to make an exception for ourselves or for the advantage of our inclination. Kant follows up this statement with a conclusion (indicated by 'consequently' or 'Folglich' at 58.6-7 (4:424.20)): if we were to weigh up everything from the same point of view (i.e., reason's point of view) we would find a contradiction in our own will; the contradiction would be that a certain principle is objectively necessary as a universal law and that the same principle subjectively does not hold for everyone. But Kant avoids the contradiction with the following inference: we consider our action from the point of view of a will fully conforming to reason and from the point of view of a will affected by inclination; so there really is no contradiction but only an opposition of inclination to the prescription of reason. The paragraph ends with another possible inference ('so beweiset es doch' or 'nevertheless it proves' at 58.25 (4:424.34-5)) from the claim that the making of these exceptions for ourselves by transforming the universal into merely the general is unjustified to the claim that we actually acknowledge the validity of the categorical imperative.
This paragraph contains no argument and no inferences, only conclusions. It provides a summary of what Kant believes to have been shown so far.
The reformulated conclusion of the argument in this paragraph is basically that the reality of the categorical imperative cannot be derived from any special property of human nature. In support of this conclusion, Kant gives the following premises and intermediate conclusions: duty is to be practical-unconditioned necessity of action; so duty must hold for all rational beings; so duty is to be a law for all human wills. An additional premise in the argument might also be Kant's general claim in the very long last sentence of the paragraph that what is derived from human nature can only provide a subjective, not objective, maxim (i.e., principle) for us.
There is probably no argument in this paragraph, though it is possible to see the first sentence as a conclusion (reading 'nun' as 'then') of sorts supported by some of the assertions in the surrounding sentences.
The paragraph begins with a conclusion-set for which no explicit support is given in the paragraph. It might, however, be possible to rework Kant's comments about purity, elevated worth, and a principle of action free from all influences of contingent grounds so that they explicitly support the conclusion. The conclusion-set, in any case, consists of two assertions: as an addition to the principle of morality, everything that is empirical is wholly unsuitable for this; everything that is empirical is highly detrimental to the purity of morals. There might be a complete argument in the rest of the paragraph. If there is, then the conclusion of it is that one cannot too often be given too many warnings against this negligent or even base way of thinking in search of the principle under empirical motives and laws. And the premises, signaled by 'since' or 'indem' at 61.17 (4:426.15), in support of this possible conclusion are that: human reason in its weariness gladly rests on this (empirical) pillow; human reason, in a dream of sweet illusions, substitutes for morality a mixed bastard which is anything but virtue.
Kant begins the paragraph with a conclusion-question which he apparently infers from what he has said in previous paragraphs. Besides that, there are a couple of explicit arguments in this paragraph.
One argument concludes that in a practical philosophy of objective practical laws, we have no need to investigate the grounds for why something pleases or displeases, etc. The premise supporting this conclusion is that why something pleases or displeases, etc., belongs to an empirical doctrine of the soul.
The conclusion of the second explicit argument is that the discussion here is of the relation of a will to itself so far as it is determined merely by reason. This conclusion is supported by a group of premises: the discussion here is of objective-practical laws; if reason by itself alone determines conduct, then reason must necessarily do this a priori; so everything which has empirical reference falls away of itself.
Those are the explicit arguments; it might be, however, that, taking the paragraph as a whole, Kant then uses these two arguments in order to argue that the investigation into the connection between the moral law and the will must be a priori, must take a step into the metaphysics of morals.
There is only one argument in this paragraph. The conclusion is that all relative ends are only the ground of hypothetical imperatives. The reasoning leading to this conclusion consists of the following chain of premises and intermediate conclusions: only their relation to a specially fashioned faculty of desire of the subject gives worth to the ends that a rational being optionally sets and that are effects of the rational being's actions; so this worth provides no universally valid and necessary principles (i.e., practical laws) for all rational beings and for every willing; so the ends that are optionally set (i.e., material ends) are one and all only relative ends.
There is no argument in this paragraph, only a conditional statement.
There seems to be quite a lot going on in this paragraph. There are a number of inferences and arguments, and they might be working together in some complicated way to establish a conclusion.
The first explicit argument concludes that the worth of all objects obtainable through our action is always conditioned. A total of three premises support this conclusion: if the inclinations (which have objects) and the needs based on the inclinations were not, then the objects of inclination would be without worth; so all objects of inclination have only a conditional worth; inclinations themselves are very far from having any absolute worth.
The next explicit argument then seems to begin with some brief inferences that introduce some technical terms: 'things' and 'persons'. From his account of these terms, Kant infers three statements: persons are not merely subjective ends whose existence, as effect of our action, has a worth for us; persons are objective ends whose existence in itself is an end; persons are ends in whose place no other end can be put to which the person should serve merely as a means. There then follows a premise starting at 65.26 (4:428.29), asserting that without this nothing at all of absolute worth would be found anywhere, which is supposed to support at least one, perhaps all three, of those statements about persons.
The paragraph ends with the claim that if all worth were conditional and therefore contingent, then for reason there could not be found anywhere a highest practical principle. As with the assertion with which the paragraph began, it is not clear from Kant's language what role this last assertion plays, whether premise or conclusion or something else.
The paragraph begins with a conclusion, apparently supported by what was said in the previous paragraph. The conclusion is that a highest practical principle must be one that constitutes an objective principle (and therefore can serve as the universal practical law) from the representation of that which necessarily for everyone is an end because it is an end in itself. Kant then seems to give an argument for such a principle: the human being necessarily conceives of its own existence as a rational nature existing as an end in itself; so this conception is a subjective principle of human action; every other rational being conceives of its existence, on just the same rational ground that also hold for me, as a rational nature existing as an end in itself; so this conception 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. Kant then concludes with the humanity or persons-as-ends formulation of the categorical imperative.
This is no argument in this paragraph.
The example in this paragraph seems to contain an argument which starts with the premise that a human being is not a thing. From this initial premise, Kant infers two intermediate conclusions: the human being is not something that can be used merely as a means; the human being must be considered in all its actions always as an end in itself. Kant then draws the final conclusion that I cannot dispose of, maim, corrupt, or kill the human being in my person.
There are two arguments in this paragraph's example of a necessary or perfect duty to others. The first argument concludes that intending to make a lying promise to others, when they do not at the same time share the end, is to will to use other human beings merely as means. The premise immediately supporting this conclusion is that the person whom I, through such a promise, will to use for my purposes cannot contain the end of this action. This immediate premise is in turn supported by the premise that the person to whom I make the lying promise cannot possibly agree to my way of acting toward her.
The conclusion of the second argument is that this conflict with the principle of other human beings is more evident when one brings in examples of attacks on the freedom and property of others. The premise for this conclusion is that in such examples it is clear that the transgressor of the rights of human beings intends to use the person of others merely as a means, without taking into consideration that they, as rational beings, are always to be valued as ends which must be able to contain in themselves the end of the very same action.
There is, strictly speaking, no argument in this paragraph which gives an example of contingent or meritorious duty toward oneself. It is possible, however, to take the example as a whole to be attempting to show that a possible categorical imperative is consistent with a meritorious duty to oneself.
The explicit argument contained in this paragraph starts with the premise that the ends of a subject who is an end in itself must also as far as possible be my ends, if that representation is to have full effect in me. A second premise might be that contributing nothing to the happiness of others, but also not subtracting from it, is only a negative and not positive agreement with humanity as an end in itself. From these premises it is then concluded that not trying, as far as possible, to further the ends of others is only a negative and not positive agreement with humanity as an end in itself.
There might be a couple of arguments in this paragraph. The conclusion of the first possible argument is that the principle of humanity is not borrowed from experience. Two main reasons, each with its own supporting reason, are given in support of this conclusion. First, the principle of humanity has universality (i.e., applies to all rational beings); the supporting reason for this premise is that no experience is sufficient to determine something about all rational beings. Second, the principle of humanity must arise from pure reason; the supporting reason for this premise is that the humanity in the principle is represented as an objective end that as law is to constitute the highest limiting condition of all subjective ends.
The second argument in the paragraph, if it is an argument rather than a report of an argument, concludes that the third practical principle of the will is the idea of the will of each rational being as a will giving universal law. The two premises for this conclusion are apparently based on the first two principles: the ground of all practical lawgiving lies objectively in the rule and the form of universality which makes it capable to be a law but lies subjectively in the end; the subject of all ends is each rational being as an end in itself.
There is one argument in this paragraph. The premise is that all maxims that are not consistent with the will's own universal lawgiving are rejected according to this principle. The conclusion-set drawn from this premise is that: the will must be seen as self-lawgiving; the will must be seen as subject to the law precisely because it is self-lawgiving.
There is no complete argument in this paragraph. The final clause, however, that there is in the third formula of the principle an indication of the renunciation of all interest in cases of willing from duty, is a conclusion. In the next paragraph, Kant gives the premises supporting this conclusion.
There is no complete argument in this paragraph; rather, there is part of an argument, namely, the premises supporting the conclusion given near the end of the previous paragraph. That conclusion was that there is in the third formula of the principle an indication of the renunciation of all interest in cases of willing from duty. The premises (one of which is an intermediate conclusion) leading to that conclusion are now that: a will that is dependent on interest would itself require still another law which would limit the interest of the will's self-love to the condition of a validity for universal law; so a will that is itself highest in law-giving cannot be dependent on interest.
Kant begins the paragraph with a conclusion: the principle of each human will as a will giving universal law through all its maxims would be quite well suited to be a categorical imperative. This conclusion is apparently supported by assertions made in the previous paragraph, but might also receive support from what Kant goes on to say in the current paragraph. In particular, Kant goes on to say that, for the sake of the idea of universal legislation, the principle does not base itself on any interest and therefore can alone among all possible imperatives be unconditioned. In the rest of the paragraph, Kant converts the proposition, thinking it better, and then reasons in the same way that the principle and imperative are unconditioned because they are not based on any interest.
This paragraph is explanatory, although, as with perhaps most explanations, an argument could be wrung from it. The explanation Kant offers gives an account of why all previous efforts to discover the principle of morality had to fail. He traces the cause back to heteronomy, to principles of the will that deny it self-governance.
There is no argument in this very brief paragraph which consists in the single statement that a certain concept leads to another concept.
In the first sentence of this paragraph, Kant explains what he means by an 'empire' ('Reich'). He then starts, but perhaps does not finish, an argument concluding that if one abstracts from personal differences and from all content of private ends of rational beings, then an empire of ends can be thought. In this paragraph, Kant gives what might be only the first premise supporting that conclusion; this first premise is that laws determine ends according to their universal validity.
The paragraph begins with a premise, basically the humanity formula: all rational beings stand under the law that each is to treat herself and all other rational beings never merely as ends but always at the same time as ends in themselves. This premise seems to play a dual role. It helps support the concluson from the previous paragraph that an empire of ends will be able to be thought, but it also helps to support the current paragraph's very similar conclusion that an empire of ends arises as an ideal. It does not, however, work alone in support of this current paragraph's very similar conclusion. A second premise asserts that, because these laws have as their purpose just the relation of these beings to each other as ends and means, the empire can be called an empire of ends. These two premises then together apparently support the very similar conclusion that an empire (of ends) arises as an ideal.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is also no argument in this paragraph.
There is no complete argument in this paragraph. There is, however, a conclusion, and there are some interesting inferences. The conclusion appears out of the blue at the beginning of the paragraph: morality consists in the relation of all action to the lawgiving by which alone an empire of ends is possible. This conclusion is not explicitly supported by anything in the previous handful of paragraphs nor in the remainder of the current paragraph, none of which make any direct assertions about morality itself. So, if this conclusion is to receive support, some unstated premises must be at work somewhere behind the scenes. Kant, however, does put some conditions on the lawgiving mentioned in the conclusion. The lawgiving must be found in each rational being itself and (must) be able to arise from the rational being's will. Moreover, the principle of this rational being's will, Kant infers, is to do no action according to a maxim that cannot be consistent with the maxim's being a universal law. Kant immediately follows up this first inference with a second: to do no action according to a maxim that cannot be compatible with a will able to consider itself through its maxim at the same time as giving universal law.
The rest of the paragraph might even contain a couple more inferences, though these are not nearly so explicit. If conditionals are taken to express inferences, then there would seem to be an inference going from the antecedent citing no necessary agreement between maxims and objective principle to the consequent calling the necessity of action according to that principle a practical necessity or duty. And the last bits about duty not applying to the head and about equality might be the result of inference and might actually be meant as conclusions, but what they might be inferred from is not made clear.
There is one argument in this paragraph. The conclusion-set is: reason refers every maxim of the will as universally lawgiving to every other will; reason refers every maxim of the will as universally lawgiving to every action toward oneself; these referrings are from the idea of the dignity of a rational being that obeys no law other than a law which the rational being at the same time gives itself. The premises for that conclusion-set are: the practical necessity to act according to this principle (i.e., the one twice formulated in the previous paragraph in 76.3-7 (4:434.10-14)) does not at all rest on feelings, impulses and inclinations; the duty rests merely on the relation of rational beings to each other; in that relation, the will of a rational being must always at the same time be considered as lawgiving; and (as support for the immediately preceding premise) the rational being could otherwise not think of the other rational beings as ends in themselves.
There is no argument in this paragraph, but there is an inference. The inference goes from what is raised above all price to what permits no equivalent.
In this paragraph, there is no argument and no inference.
There appear to be two arguments in this paragraph. The first goes like this: only through morality is it possible to be a lawgiving member in the empire of ends; so morality is the condition under which alone a rational being can be an end in itself; so only morality and humanity, so far as it is capable of morality, have dignity.
The second argument is less straightforward but might go something like this: the worth of moral actions (such as fidelity in promising and benevolence from principles) consists in the dispositions manifested in these actions; so nature as well as art contain nothing which could be put in place of those moral actions; these moral actions also require no recommendation from subjective disposition or taste in order to be looked upon with immediate favor and delight; these actions require no immediate propensity or feeling; these actions present the will that practices them as an object of immediate respect; nothing but reason is needed to impose them on the will; so this estimation recognizes the worth of such a way of thinking as dignity; so this estimation puts this way of thinking above all price; so [because moral actions are not replaceable (and so are priceless), and because the moral way of thinking has dignity and is priceless] moral actions have an inner worth.
There is at least one argument in this paragraph. It might be structured like so:
1. nothing has a worth except that which the law determines for it;
2. lawgiving itself determines all worth;
3. so lawgiving itself must have unconditioned, incomparable worth;
4. dignity is unconditioned, incomparable worth;
5. so lawgiving itself has dignity;
6. so autonomy is the ground of dignity of human and of every rational nature;
7. so the share in universal lawgiving that moral disposition or virtue provides to rational beings is what justifies moral disposition or virtue in making such lofty claims.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is no argument in this paragraph, but there is an inference (at 80.9 (4:436.20)) from being a rational being as an end according to its nature to being a rational being as an end in itself.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There might be two arguments in this paragraph, one for each of the universal law formulations of the categorical imperative. The first argument, for the universal law formulation, can perhaps be laid out like this:
1. the will is absolutely good which cannot be bad and hence whose maxim, when made into universal law, can never conflict with itself; [Note that even within this first premise there is an inference going from the absolute goodness (i.e., the inability to be bad) of a will to the self-consistency of the will's maxim.]
2. the universal law formulation of the categorical imperative is the only condition under which an absolutely good will can never be in conflict with itself;
3. so the this principle (expressed in the universal law formula) is the highest law of an absolutely good will.
The second argument, for the universal law of nature formulation, appears to run like this:
a. the validity of the will, as a universal law for possible actions, has an analogy with the universal connection of the existence of things according to universal laws;
b. so the categorical imperative can also be expressed in terms of universal laws of nature;
c. so in this way the formula of an absolutely good will is provided.
On the other hand, there might be only one argument in the paragraph. Perhaps Kant intended, for instance, that 1-3 and a-c are all parts of a single argument the final conclusion of which is statement c. Feeding into statement c are statements 3 and b which are respectively supported by statements 1 and 2 and by statement a. Another configuration worth considering has statements 1 and 2 supporting 3, statements 1, 2, and a supporting b, and then statements 3 and b supporting final conclusion c.
In this paragraph, there is a single, complex argument or report of an argument, and it might have the following structure:
1. rational nature distinguishes itself from all the rest by setting itself an end;
2. this end would be the matter of each good will;
3. not abstracting the will from all ends to be produced would make the will only relatively good;
4. so [from 1, 2, and 3] in the idea of a will absolutely good without limiting condition (of the attainment of this or that end) complete abstraction must be made from all ends to be produced;
5. so [from 4] the end here must be thought as a self-standing end and not as an end to be produced;
6. so [from 5] the end here must be thought only negatively as that never to be acted against;
7. so [from 6] the end here must always at the same time be valued as an end, never merely as a means, in every willing;
8. the will can, without contradiction, be subordinated to no other object [perhaps from 7];
9. so [from 8] the subject is at the same time the subject of a possible absolutely good will;
10. so [from 9] the end here can be nothing other than the subject itself of all possible ends;
11. that I ought to limit my maxim in the use of means to every end to the condition of the maxim's universal validity as a law for each subject says just so much as that the subject of ends must be made the ground for all maxims of actions;
12. so [from 10 and 11] the principle [... (82.20-23 (4:437.34-6)) ...] is at bottom the same as the ground proposition [... (82.23-25 (4:437.36-438.1)) ...].
It is doubtful that a single, coherent argument can be fashioned from the entire content of this very long paragraph. And if there are multiple arguments, it is still difficult to determine what exactly they are and where they begin and end. There are, however, clearer signs of inferences.
The first words of the paragraph, for instance, signal an inference from the claims of the previous paragraph to the claim that each rational being, as an end in itself, must be able to see itself at the same time as giving universal law with regard to all laws to which it might ever be subjected; as additional support for the latter claim, Kant adds in this paragraph that the fitness of a rational being's maxims for universal lawgiving marks the being out as an end in itself. From the previous paragraph, Kant also infers that the dignity (prerogative) that the rational being has before all mere natural being brings with it having to take its maxims always from its own point of view and at the same time from that of every other rational being as lawgiving. From these two claims, that the rational being must be able to view itself as universally lawgiving and that the rational being's maxims as lawgiving must also take the point of view of others, Kant arrives at (infers?) the claim that a world of rational beings as an empire of ends is possible through the individual lawgiving of all persons as members. Apparently because ('Demnach' or 'Accordingly' at 83.23 (4:438.18)) such a world is possible, Kant then claims that rational beings must act from the empire of ends formula of the categorical imperative, the underlying principle of which is the principle of autonomy.
Having arrived at the possibility of a world of rational beings as an empire of ends, Kant infers ('also' or 'therefore' at 84.3 (4:438.23)) that an empire of ends is only possible according to an analogy. The analogy is between an empire of nature and an empire of ends, the main node of similarity being the likeness of laws to maxims. At this point, Kant maintains (perhaps relying for support on the analogy) that the possible empire of ends would really come into existence through maxims, whose rule the categorical imperative prescribes to all rational beings, if the maxims were universally followed. Apparently because he maintains that the empire of ends would exist and because its law would be categorical, Kant then infers that the law as expressed in the empire of ends formula (but now qualified as a merely possible empire) remains in full force. But Kant now sees a paradox in, or associated with, this law; the paradox is complex and has three components:
1. that merely the dignity of humanity as rational nature without any other purpose or advantage to be obtained by it — therefore respect for a mere idea — is to serve as an unremitting prescription of the will,
2. that the sublimity of the maxim consists in the independence of the maxim from all incentives,
3. that the worthiness of each rational subject to be a lawgiving member in an empire of ends consists in the independence of the maxim from all incentives.
He infers this paradox from the claim that if the paradox did not obtain, then a rational subject would have to be represented as subject only to the natural laws of its needs.
This respect for a mere idea (mentioned in the first component of the paradox) Kant then uses as the basis for an inference to the claim that (the idea of) an empire of ends made actual under a single head would have the backing of a stronger incentive but not greater inner worth. Apparently generalizing this claim about the irrelevance of actual existence and consequent incentive to inner worth, Kant notes that the essence of things is not altered through their external relations so that the head of an empire of ends has to make judgments according to what constitutes the absolute worth of the human being. Kant concludes that morality is the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will. The remainder of the paragraph is pure summary, except for a final inference from the claim that obligation is the dependence of a will that is not absolutely good on the principle of autonomy to the claim that obligation does not apply to a holy being.
Kant begins this paragraph by saying that we can now easily explain some things. So this paragraph evidently is to be explanatory, not argumentative.
Although this paragraph might contain no argument, it does have some inferences. The first inference goes from the claim that autonomy of the will is the property of the will by which the will is a law to itself to the statement of the principle of autonomy. Kant then claims that it cannot be proven by mere analysis of the concepts appearing in the practical rule (expressed in the principle of autonomy) that the principle (i.e., the practical rule) is an imperative; the support for this claim is that the principle is a synthetic proposition. Kant adds that the proposition must be able to be cognized completely a priori (presumably because it commands apodictically or with absolute necessity) and then infers from this addition that one has to go out into a critique of pure practical reason. The paragraph ends with two claims being used to infer that mere analysis of the concepts of morality can show that the principle of autonomy is the sole principle of morals. The two claims are that, first, analysis of the concepts of morality shows that the principle of morality must be a categorical imperative and that, second, the categorical imperative commands nothing more or less than the autonomy of the will.
There might be a couple of arguments in this paragraph, and there are some inferences.
The first inference, indicated by 'hence' or 'mithin' at 88.13 (4:441.4), goes from the will seeking the law that is to determine it anywhere else than in the suitability of the will's maxims for its own universal lawgiving to the will going, in the search for the law that is to determine it, out beyond itself in the character of some object of the will. The second inference, at 88.22-3 (4:441.12), makes a quick transition from the moral imperative to the categorical imperative.
The first argument, if it is an argument, occurs as part of the first example. Kant concludes, as indicated by 'therefore' or 'also' at 89.2 (4:441.15), from the example of lying that the categorical imperative must abstract from every object. The second argument, if really an argument rather than an explanation, occurs as part of the second example about others' happiness. Kant concludes that seeking to advance others' happiness ought to be done because ('weil' at 89.11 (4:441.22))the maxim that excludes seeking such happiness for others cannot be comprehended in one and the same willing as a universal law.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is at least one argument in this paragraph. The first sentence, claiming that empirical principles are not at all suitable to be the ground of moral laws, is a conclusion. It looks like Kant gives two premises in support: first, the universality with which moral laws are to hold for all rational beings without difference falls away if the ground of the moral laws is taken from the special constitution of human nature or from the contingent circumstances in which human nature is placed; second, the unconditional practical necessity that is imposed on rational beings by this universality falls away if the ground of the moral laws is taken from the special constitution of human nature or from the contingent circumstances in which human nature is placed.
The rest of the paragraph might contain a second argument. In particular, this second argument might be an argument for the claim that the principle of personal happiness is most objectionable; but it might instead, or in addition, be an account of the ways in which that principle is objectionable. In any case, Kant lodges the following complaints:
1. the principle is false;
2. (perhaps an elaboration of 1) experience contradicts the pretense that well-bing always adjusts itself to good conduct;
3. the principle contributes nothing to the grounding of morality;
4. (probably an elaboration of 3) making a happy human being is quite different from making a good human being;
5. (probably an elaboration of 3) making a prudent and self-serving human being is quite different from making a virtuous human being;
6. (most objectionably) the principle puts (non-moral) incentives underneath morality, which placement undermines and destroys morality;
7 (probably an elaboration of 6) the incentives put the motives to virtue in the same class with motives to vice;
8. (probably an elaboration of 6) the incentives only teach us better to calculate our advantage;
9 (probably an elaboration of 6) the incentives completely extinguish the specific difference between virtue and vice.
The remainder of the paragraph is about moral feeling or sense, and Kant's main complaints against it seem to be that feelings vary too much to provide a uniform standard of good and bad and that a person cannot judge validly through one's feeling for others.
This paragraph, like the previous, might contain an argument. But it might instead be explanatory, offering a list of ways in which the ontological concept of perfection is better than the theological concept of perfection. Against the ontological concept, Kant lodges the following complaints:
1. the ontological concept is empty;
2. the ontological concept is indeterminate;
3. (an inference from 1 and/or 2) the ontological concept is useless for finding in the field of possible reality the greatest appropriate sum for us;
4. the ontological concept has an unavoidable tendency to turn in a circle and cannot avoid secretly presupposing the morality which it is to explain.
Despite these complaints, the ontological concept is still better than the theological concept, which has the following defects:
a. the theological concept derives morality from a divine, fully perfect will;
b. the theological concept presumes we can intuit the perfection of a divine will;
c. the theological concept presumes that we cannot derive perfection from our concepts, among which that of morality is foremost;
d. (due to the presumption in c) the theological concept would have to make the concept of a perfect will from qualities of eager desire for glory and dominion, combined with fearful representations of power and vengefulness; and this concept, so made, would be the foundation for a system of morals which would be set against morality.
There is no argument in this paragraph, only explanation.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
This paragraph seems to open with an inference from the claim that an imperative expressing a heteronomous rule is conditioned to the claim that such an imperative can never command morally or categorically. The rest of the paragraph, which might be intended as support for that opening inference, seems to present something like the following argument which begins with these four claims:
no matter how an imperative uses an object to determine the will, the will never determines itself immediately through the representation of action;
in such cases in which an imperative uses an object to determine the will, the will is determined through the incentive which the foreseen effect of the action has on the will;
in such cases in which the will is determined through such an incentive, another law must be made the ground of the will's maxim according to which the foreseen effect is necessarily willed;
this additional law requires an imperative that limits this maxim.
Kant then supports (signaled by 'For' or 'Denn' at 94.12 (4:444.15)) one or more of the previous four claims with the following: because the impulse, which the representation of an object possible through our powers is to exert (through our sensibility, for instance) on the will according to the natural constitution of the subject, belongs to the nature of the subject, it is really nature that gives the law to the will; this law given by nature, as such a law so given, must be cognized and proven through experience. Kant then seems to draw three conclusions: this law given by nature is in itself contingent; this law given by nature is unfit to be an apodictic practical rule; this law given by nature is always only heteronomy of the will.
There is no argument in this paragraph, only a very complex conclusion.
This final paragraph of the Second Section contains two arguments. Though the conclusions of each argument are different, the arguments share the same premise. The shared premise is that we showed only through the development of the generally accepted concept of morality that an autonomy of the will unavoidably attaches to that concept of morality or rather lies as its ground. The first conclusion drawn from this premise is that who holds morality to be something and not to be a chimerical idea without truth must at the same time admit the preceding principle of morality. The second conclusion drawn from the premise is that this (second) Section was merely analytic.
There might be an argument in this paragraph, but it might instead be an explanation or a definition. If it does contain an argument, it is perhaps this: the will is a kind of causality of living beings so far as they are rational; this causality can be effective independently of foreign causes determining it; so freedom would be that property of this causality.
This paragraph begins with a possible inference going from the negative character of the explanation to the unfruitfulness of the explanation as a way to see into the essence of freedom. Kant next gives a complex argument that might go like this:
1. the concept of a causality carries with it the concept of laws of cause and effect;
2. if freedom were lawless, then free will would be an absurdity;
3. so [from 1, 2, and the previous paragraph's explanation of freedom in terms of causality] freedom is not lawless;
4. so [from 1, 2, and the previous paragraph's explanation of freedom in terms of causality] freedom is a causality according to immutable laws of a special kind;
5. every effect is only possible according to the law that something else determined the efficient cause to causality;
6. so [from 5] natural necessity is heteronomy of efficient causes;
7. so [from 6 and the simile from the previous paragraph] freedom of the will is nothing other than autonomy;
8. the proposition that the will is in all actions itself a law signifies the principle to act according to no maxim except a maxim that can have itself as universal law as an object;
9. 8 is the formula of the categorical imperative;
10. 8 is the principle of morality;
11. so [from 3, 4, 7-10] a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same.
This paragraph begins with a conclusion drawn apparently from the previous paragraphs. The conclusion is the conditional that if freedom of the will is presupposed, then morality together with its principle follows through mere analysis of its concept. The only possible full argument in the paragraph immediately follows this opening conclusion. The premise (signaled by 'for' or 'denn' at 99.1 (4:447.12)) of this full argument seems to be: through analysis of the concept of an absolutely good will, the property (to contain itself considered as a universal law in itself) of a maxim cannot be found. From this premise, Kant seems to want to conclude that the principle of morality is always a synthetic proposition.
There are two main arguments in this paragraph; both are complex. The first might go something like this:
1. morality serves as law for us merely as for rational beings;
2. so [from 1] morality must hold for all rational beings;
3. morality must be derived only from the property of freedom;
4. so [from 3] freedom must be proved as a property of the will of all rational beings;
5. it is not enough (and not even possible) to demonstrate morality from certain supposed experiences of human nature;
6. morality must be proved as belonging to the activity of rational beings in general that are endowed with a will;
7. so [from 2, 4, 5, and 6] it is not enough that we attribute freedom to our will when we do not also have sufficient ground to attribute freedom to all rational beings.
The second argument might go like this:
A. in a rational being that has a will, we conceive a reason that is practical;
B. if a subject were to receive direction from elsewhere, then the subject would attribute the determination of the power of judgment not to reason but to an impulse;
C. so [from B] we cannot conceive a reason that with its own consciousness in view of its judgments would receive a direction from somewhere else;
D. so [from C] reason must view itself as the author of its principles, independent from foreign influences;
E. so [from D] reason, as practical reason or as the will of a rational being, must be seen by itself as free;
F. so [from E] the will of a rational being can only under the idea of freedom be a will of its own;
G. so [from F] to every rational being that has a will we must lend the idea of freedom under which alone the being acts;
H. so [from G] a will under the idea of freedom must in a practical respect be attributed to all rational beings.
I. so [from H] each being that can act not otherwise than under the idea of freedom is just because of this in a practical respect actually free.
There is no argument in this paragraph. At most, there is reporting on previous arguments.
There seems not to be an argument in this paragraph, but there are some inferences and explanations. The first inference (signaled by 'therefore' or 'mithin' at 102.12 (4:449.10)) goes from the objective validity of a maxim to its ability to serve in our own universal lawgiving. The second inference is embedded in the question (102.14-7 (4:449.11-3)) and runs from subjecting oneself, as a rational being, to the principle of autonomy to subjecting all other rational beings to the principle of autonomy because one has so subjected oneself. The explanations occur in the paragraph after the posing of the question. Kant first explains why he is willing to admit that no interest impels him to subject himself to the principle; he is willing to admit this because an impelling interest would not give a categorical imperative. The second explanation accounts for why Kant must nevertheless necessarily take an interest, though not be impelled by one. The explanation is that he must take an interest because he, although a rational being, is not a rational being without hindrances to his practical reason.
If this paragraph is argumentative, then it begins with two conclusions drawn from the previous paragraphs and then presents a separate and complete argument. The two conclusions with which the paragraph opens are: it appears as if we only presupposed the moral law(i.e., the principle of the autonomy of the will) in the idea of freedom; it appears as if we could not prove the reality and objective necessity of the moral law for itself.
The subsequent separate and complete argument concludes that we did not get any farther regarding the validity and the practical necessity of subjecting oneself to the principle of autonomy of the will. There are three premises for this conclusion; they are: we cannot give a satisfactory answer to the question of why the universal validity of our maxim, as of a law, must be the limiting condition of our actions; we cannot give a satisfactory answer to the question of on what we base the worth that we attribute to this way of acting; we cannot give a satisfactory answer to the question of how it happens that the human being believes to feel by this alone its personal worth against which that of a pleasant or unpleasant condition is held to be nothing.
There is no argument in this paragraph. There is, though, an embedded inference (indicated by 'therefore' or 'mithin' at 104.16 (4:450.15)) from how it is possible that we ought to hold ourselves as subject to certain laws to the question of the source of the bindingness of the moral law.
There is no clear-cut argument in this paragraph. The 'because' or 'weil' at 104.25 (4:450.22) is probably explanatory, Kant there being in the process of explaining what the circle is. The 'denn' (or 'for') on the same line is more problematic. First, it is not clear whether what follows the 'denn' is to apply to both conjuncts (both halves of the 'and' or 'und' at 104.23 (4:450.21)) or only to the second conjunct. Second, if the usage of 'denn' is logical or inferential, then the inference is a poor one; for one cannt get immediately from the claim that freedom and lawgiving are both autonomy to the claims before the 'denn' that characterize the circle. So it seems better to interpret the 'denn' along with the 'weil' as explanatory rather than as argumentative, Kant here freely admitting (104.19 (4:450.18)) the obvious, namely, that there is a kind of circle; he is not at all trying to prove that there is a circle.
But the usage of 'therefore' or 'mithin' at 105.1 (4:450.24) might be more argumentative than explanatory. The inference, if that is what it is, goes from the claim that freedom and individual lawgiving of the will are both autonomy to the claim that they are reciprocal concepts. In favor of its being an inference, one can point out that It is obvious, at this stage of Kant's argument, that freedom and lawgiving are both autonomy (the linkage between freedom and autonomy having just been given at the beginning of this Third Section and the linkage between lawgiving and autonomy having been given in the Second Section), and inferences generally go from the obvious to the not-so-obvious. This is typically not the case with explanations, which generally go from the not-so-obvious (the explanation) to the obvious (what is to be explained). Having inferentially arrived at this conclusion that freedom and lawgiving are reciprocal concepts, Kant then uses this conclusion as part of the explanation of the obvious existence of the circle.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
This paragraph, and several of the following, might really best be characterized as giving reports of arguments that Kant has given elsewhere, in particular, in the Critique of Pure Reason. So the arguments that Kant offers here should be taken as abbreviated accounts of fuller arguments given elsewhere.
There is no argument in this paragraph. But there is an inference (suggested by 'therefore' or 'also' at 107.22 (4:452.6)) from making the invisible sensible to not becoming any wiser.
This paragraph contains no argument and is best understood as a summary of results which Kant has argued for elsewhere such as in the Critique of Pure Reason.
There is an argument in this paragraph as well as multiple inferences. The premises of the argument are that a rational being must see itself, as an intelligence, as belonging not to the world of sense and that a rational being must see itself, as an intelligence, as belonging to the world of understanding. These premises might be inferred ('For this reason' or 'Um deswillen' at 108.20 (4:452.23)) from the claims in the previous paragraph which was about the faculty of reason possessed by rational beings. There is also an embedded inference in the premises (in the parenthetical material), going from being considered as intelligence to being not from the side of lower powers. From these premises, Kant draws this conclusion-set: the rational being has two standpoints from which it can consider itself; the rational being has two standpoints from which it can cognize laws of the use of its powers; as far as the rational being belongs to the world of sense, the laws are natural laws; as far as the rational being belongs to the intelligible world, the laws are based merely in reason.
There are also some inferences embedded in the conclusion-set: one inference (signaled by 'consequently' or 'folglich' at 108.25 (4:452.27)) goes from laws being laws of the use of its powers to laws being laws of all its actions; at the end of the paragraph, another possible inference, though less apparent, goes from the laws being independent of nature to the laws being not empirical.
The single argument in this paragraph has the following premise (introduced by 'for' or 'denn' at 109.8 (4:452.33)): freedom is independence from the determinate causes of the world of sense. Concluded from this premise is the claim that a human being, as a rational being, can never think the causality of its own will otherwise than under the idea of freedom. This conclusion also contains an internal inference (signaled by 'therefore' or 'mithin' at 109.5 (4:452.31)) from being a rational being to belonging to the intelligible world.
Based on the presence of 'Denn' or 'For' at 110.1 (4:453.11)), there might be an argument in this paragraph. If there is, then it would seem to be this: if we conceive ourselves as free, then we transfer ourselves as members into the world of understanding and cognize the autonomy of the will together with its consequence, morality; if we conceive ourselves as obligated, then we consider ourselves as belonging to the world of sense and yet at the same time to the world of understanding; so the suspicion of circularity is removed. There are also some separate inferences going from the description of the suspected circle to claims that no ground could be provided for the principle of autonomy, that the principle only begs the question, and that we could never prove the proposition.
There is a complex argument in this paragraph, and the argument might have the following premises and inferences:
1. the rational being classes itself as an intelligence with the world of understanding;
2. the rational being, merely as an efficient cause belonging to this world of understanding, calls its causality a will;
3. the rational being is also conscious of itself as a piece of the world of sense;
4. the rational being's actions, as mere appearances of that causality of the will, are found in the world of sense;
5. the possibility of the actions from this unknown causality cannot be looked into;
6. the actions must be seen as determined by other appearances, namely eager desires and inclinations, as belonging to the world of sense;
7. so [from 1-6 ('also' or 'therefore' at 110.21 (4:453.26))] as a mere member of the world of understanding, all my actions would have to be completely in accord with the principle of autonomy of the pure will;
8. so [from 1-6] as a mere piece of the world of sense, all my actions would have to be taken as wholly in accord with the natural law of eager desires and inclinations;
9. so [from 8] as a mere piece of the world of sense, all my actions would have to be taken as wholly in accord with the heteronomy of nature;
10. the world of understanding contains the ground of the world of sense;
11. so [from 10] the world of understanding contains the ground of the laws of the world of sense;
12. my will belongs wholly to the world of understanding [parenthetical material at 111.6-7 (4:453.33-4)];
13. so [from 10, 12, and perhaps 11] the world of understanding is immediately lawgiving with regard to my will;
14. so [from 13] the world of understanding must be thought as giving law to my will;
15. so [from 14] I will cognize myself, as an intelligence, as subject to the laws of the world of understanding;
16. reason contains the laws of the world of understanding in the idea of freedom;
17. so [from 14, 16, perhaps 15] I will cognize myself, as an intelligence, as subject to the autonomy of the will;
18. so [from 16 and 17] the laws of the world of understanding must be seen as imperatives for me;
19. so [from 16 and 17] the actions in conformity with the principle of autonomy must be seen as duties.
There is no argument in this paragraph, only explanation of how a categorical imperative is possible. There is, though, a possible inference (starting at 111.20 (4:454.9) with 'da' or 'since') going from intuiting oneself as a member of the world of sense to the obligatoriness of one's actions.
Although this paragraph is almost all example, it seems to be argumentative. The final conclusion would seem to be the proposition with which the paragraph begins: the practical use of common human reason confirms the correctness of this deduction. To support this final conclusion, Kant then gives a long example of a villain; this example itself appears to contain an argument. The conclusion-set drawn from the example is at the end of the paragraph: the moral ought is the villain's own necessary willing as a member of an intelligible world; the moral ought is thought by the villain as an ought so far as the villain at the same time considers himself as a member of the world of sense. The argument in the example seems to be this:
1. even the most vile villain still accustomed to using reason wishes to be virtuous (e.g., being steadfast in obeying good maxims);
2. the villain finds it very difficult to become virtuous only because inclinations and impulses get in the way;
3. the villain still wishes to be free of inclinations;
4. the idea that coaxes the wish from the villain would lose its preeminence if the villain expected that the fulfillment of the wish would satisfy eager desires;
5. so [from 4] the villain can expect from the wish no satisfaction of eager desires;
6. so [from 5 and perhaps 4] the villain can expect no satisfying condition for any of his actual or otherwise imaginable inclinations;
7. the villain can expect from the wish only a greater inner worth of his person;
8. so [from 1-3, 6-7] the wish proves that the villain transports himself, with a will that is free from impulses of sensibility, in thought into another order of things;
9. the villain believes himself to be this better person when he adopts the standpoint of a member of the world of understanding;
10. the idea of freedom involuntarily necessitates him to adopt this standpoint;
11. in this standpoint, the villain is conscious of a good will that constitutes the law for his bad will;
12. the villain recognizes the authority of this law whenever the villain transgresses the law;
13. so [from 8-12] the moral ought is the villain's own necessary willing as a member of an intelligible world;
14. so [from 8-12] the moral ought is thought by the villain as an ought so far as the villain at the same time considers himself as a member of the world of sense.
This paragraph seems to be a mixture of explanation and argument. The paragraph begins, for instance, by explaining that judgments about actions come about as they do because human beings think of themselves as having free will. But there is also an argument in the paragraph; the conclusion-set of this argument is that freedom is only an idea of reason; the objective reality of freedom in itself is doubtful; nature is a concept of the understanding; the reality of nature is proved by examples of experience; the reality of nature must necessarily be proved by examples of experience. To get to that conclusion-set, Kant first offers component arguments designed to show that the concepts of freedom and of natural necessity are not concepts of experience. The reason offered here for the conclusion that the concept of freedom is not a concept of experience is that the concept of freedom always remains although experience shows the opposite of those requirements that are represented as necessary under the presupposition of freedom. The argument that the concept of natural necessity is not a concept of experience goes something like this: the concept of natural necessity carries with it the concept of necessity; so the concept of natural necessity carries with it a cognition a priori; so the concept of natural necessity is not a concept of experience. Kant's second move to get to the conclusion-set is to add in the premises that the concept of nature as exhibiting natural necessity is confirmed by experience and that such a concept of nature must itself be unavoidably presupposed.
There is an argument in this paragraph, though how the pieces fit together is not quite clear. There might be an inference (suggested by 'since' or 'da' at 114.18 (4:455.28)) from the claim that the freedom attributed to the will stands in contradiction with natural necessity to the claim that a dialectic in reason arises; but this inference seems unconnected to the argument in the rest of the paragraph. This argument might start with the premise that for practical purposes the way of freedom is the only way in which it is possible to make use of our reason in our conduct. Possibly inferred ('daher' at 114.26 (4:456.1) or 'hence') from this first premise (which, on an alternate reading, might be an explanation instead) is the claim that it is just as impossible for the most subtle philosophy as for the most common human reason to reason away freedom. Kant then draws a conclusion, which is: '[t]his must therefore indeed presuppose' for '[d]iese muß also wol voraussetzen' at 115.2-3 (4:456.3). But it is clear neither what '[t]his' is nor what the presupposition is. The '[t]his' might refer either to philosophy or to human reason, both of which are symbolized in the previous sentence. There are at least two possibilities for the presupposition, too. First, the presupposition might be that no true contradiction will be found between freedom and natural necessity in just the same human actions. On this reading, the reason given in the very last part of the paragraph, that it can give up as little the concept of nature as that of freedom, supports the conclusion that something must presuppose. On an alternate, second reading, the presupposition is not a statement; it is instead an inference from claiming the inability of something to give up either one to claiming the discovery of no true contradiction.
The conclusion of the argument in this paragraph is that the apparent contradiction between freedom and natural necessity must at least be destroyed in a convincing fashion. The premise in support of this conclusion is that if even the thought of freedom contradicts itself, or of nature, then freedom must be thoroughly given up in favor of natural necessity.
There seems to be a complex argument in this paragraph. The final conclusion is that it is not up to the philosopher whether she will remove the apparent contradiction or leave it untouched. A total of three premises support this final conclusion. The first two are: in the latter case (i.e., leaving it untouched), the theory regarding this is empty and the fatalist can justifiably chase morality away; this duty (of speculative philosophy to show items 1 and 2 below) is only incumbent on speculative philosophy. The third premise, an intermediate conclusion, is that it is an unavoidable task of speculative philosophy to show the following two items:
1. that philosophy's deception on account of the contradiction rests on our thinking the human being in a different sense and relation when we call the human being free than when we consider it as a piece of nature subject to nature's laws,
2. that both (standpoints) must be thought as necessarily united in the same subject.
There are two premises that support this third premise or intermediate conclusion, though it is not clear whether they both equally support items 1 and 2. The first supporting premise is that it is impossible to escape from this contradiction (between freedom and natural necessity) if the subject that imagines itself free thought of itself in the same sense or in just the same relation when it calls itself free as when it assumes itself in respect to the same action subject to the natural law. The second premise (which might only support item 2) is that otherwise no ground could be given why reason should be burdened with an idea that involves us in a business which puts reason in its theoretical use in a very tight spot.
There is one argument in this paragraph. The conclusion is that one can here not yet say that the boundary of practical philosophy begins. Two reasons are given for this conclusion. First, the settlement of the controversy does not belong to practical philosophy. Second, practical philosophy demands only from speculative philosophy that speculative philosophy bring to an end the discord in which speculative philosophy entangles itself in theoretical matters so that practical reason might have rest and safety for external attacks that could make contentious the ground on which practical reason wants to establish itself.
Two arguments are in this paragraph. One establishes a mere possibility; the other establishes a necessity. The conclusion (starting in 117.15 (4:457.15)) of the first argument is that the human being soon becomes aware that both (i.e., orders or ways of thinking of itself) can take place at the same time. The premise supporting this conclusion asserting a possibility is this: that a thing in the appearance is subject to certain laws from which the very same thing as a thing or being in itself is independent contains not the least contradiction.
The second argument concludes (again starting in 117.15) that a human being soon becomes aware that both (i.e., orders or ways of thinking of itself) must take place at the same time. The complex premise (which should perhaps be reformulated into several statements) supporting this conclusion asserting a necessity is that having to represent and think itself in this twofold way rests on the consciousness of itself as an object affected by senses and rests on the consciousness of itself as an intelligence.
There are also a couple of inferences in this paragraph, separate from the inferences used in the arguments. The first inference (117.6-7 (4:457.7-8)) goes from belonging to sensation to belonging under the general naming of sensibility. The other inference (117.26-7 (4:457.23-4)) goes from independence from sensuous impressions in the use of reason to belonging to the world of understanding.
There is probably no argument in this paragraph, but there are some isolated inferences. The first inference starts at 118.12 (4:457.33) and goes from the claim that it (presumably the human being) in that very place (i.e., in the intelligible world) only as an intelligence is its proper self to the claim that those laws (given by reason in the intelligible world) immediately and categorically apply to it (i.e., to the human being as an intelligence). The second inference occurs partly in the parenthetical material at 118.16 (4:457.36); it goes from a mention of inclinations and impulses to mention of the whole nature of the world of sense.
There might be an argument in this paragraph. If so, then the conclusion (signaled by 'therefore' or 'also' at 119.14 (4:458.19)) is that the concept of a world of understanding is only a standpoint which reason sees itself necessitated to take outside the appearances in order to think itself as practical. It is, however, not at all clear what exactly the premises are which Kant wants to use to support this conclusion; presumably, the premises are to be statements drawn from the previous three sentences in the paragraph.
There are also a couple of isolated inferences. One (indicated by 'therefore' or 'mithin' at 119.21 (4:458.24)) goes from a human being's consciousness of itself as an intelligence to consciousness of itself as a cause that is rational and active through reason. The second inference occurs at 120.3 (4:458.31), and it goes from mere formal condition (i.e., universality of the maxim of the will) to the autonomy of the will.
There is no argument in this paragraph.
There is part of an argument in the first third of this paragraph. The overall conclusion of the argument was given in the previous paragraph; the conclusion was that reason would overstep all its boundary if it undertook to explain how pure reason can be practical or how freedom is possible. In this paragraph, Kant gives the reasons and intermediate conclusions that lead up to that overall conclusion. The argument can perhaps be laid out as follows:
1. we can explain nothing except what we can trace back to laws whose object can be given in some possible experience;
2. freedom is a mere idea whose objective reality can in no way be set forth according to natural laws;
3. so [from 2] freedom is a mere idea whose objective reality can in no way be set forth in any possible experience;
4. an example according to some analogy may never be put underneath freedom;
5. so [from 4, perhaps also 3] freedom can never be comprehended;
6. so [from 4, perhaps also 3] freedom can never be looked into.
7. so [from 1, 3, 5, and 6] freedom cannot be explained [an implicit intermediate conclusion];
8. reason would overstep its boundary if it tried to explain what cannot be explained [an implicit premise];
9. so [from 7 and 8] reason would overstep its boundary if it tried to explain how freedom is possible [the overall conclusion stated in the previous paragraph].
There might be an argument in this paragraph. If there is, it goes something like this: moral feeling is the subjective effect that the law exercises on the will; reason alone provides the objective ground for the law; so moral feeling is a false standard for our moral judgment.
There seem to be three arguments in this paragraph. The first argument (122.10 - 123.17 (4:460.8-24)) is the most complex and might run something like this:
1. in order for sensuously-affected rational beings to will the moral ought that reason alone prescribes, a capacity to instill a feeling of pleasure or of satisfaction upon the fulfillment of duty belongs to reason;
2. so [from 1] in order for sensuously-affected rational beings to will the moral ought that reason alone prescribes, a causality to determine sensibility according to reason's principles belongs to reason;
3. we can determine a priori nothing at all about any kind of causality;
4. experience alone must be consulted in order to determine something about any kind of causality;
5. so [perhaps from 2, 3, and 4] it is completely impossible to make a priori comprehensible how a mere thought which contains nothing sensuous in itself produces a sensation of pleasure or displeasure;
6. experience can provide no relation of cause [i.e., thought] to effect [i.e., sensation] as between two objects of experience;
7. so [perhaps from 2] pure reason through mere ideas is to be the cause of an effect that lies in experience;
8. so [perhaps from 5, 6, and 7] the explanation of how and why the universality of the maxim as a law interests us is for human beings completely impossible;
9. so [from 8] the explanation of how and why morality interests us is for human beings completely impossible;
Premises 3, 4, and 6 are probably drawn from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
The second argument (123.18-22 (4:460.24 - 461.2)) concludes that the moral law is not valid for us because it interests us. The two premises supporting this second conclusion are: basing the validity of moral law on interest is heteronomy; practical reason could never be lawgiving if practical reason is dependent on sensibility or on a feeling lying as the ground.
The third argument (123.22-27 (4:461.2-6)) is a bit more complicated but seems to be this:
1. the moral law has arisen from our will as an intelligence;
2. so [from 1] the moral law has arisen from our proper self;
3. what belongs to mere appearance (not the proper self) is necessarily subordinated by reason to the consititution of the thing in itself (the proper self);
4. so [from 2 and 3] the moral law interests because it holds for us as human beings.
Kant perhaps gets premise 3 from claims such as that at 111.3-5 (4:453.31-3) that the world of understanding contains the ground of the world of sense.
This paragraph contains no complete argument. It might start with a conclusion, drawn from previous paragraphs, stating how a categorical imperative is possible. There are also a couple of isolated inferences. One such inference (at 124.8 (4:461.12)) goes from conviction of the validity of this imperative to conviction of the validity of the moral law. The second such inference occurs at 124.22 (4:461.23) and goes from the consciousness of one's causality through reason to consciousness of one's will that is distinct from eager desires.
There is one argument in this paragraph. The conclusion is that it is just the same as if I sought to fathom how freedom itself as causality of a will is possible. And the premises, signaled by 'For' or 'Denn' at 125.13 (4:461.37), are that there I leave the philosophical ground of explanation and that I have no other ground. The rest of the paragraph is perhaps explanation or expansion of these two premises.
Though the obvious signposts are lacking, there might still be an argument in this paragraph. If so, then the conclusion is that it is of the greatest importance to determine this highest boundary of all moral inquiry. The premises supporting this claim of importance seem to be something like these: if the boundary is not observed, then morals might be corrupted by empirical elements; if the boundary is not observed, then reason might become powerless and confused; if the boundary is not observed, we lose the ideal of an empire of ends in themselves and by losing this ideal diminish the interest, however unexplainable, that we have in the moral law residing in us.
There is a complex argument in this paragraph. The following details how it might play out:
1. without necessity, a cognition would not be a cognition of reason;
2. so [from 1] it is an essential principle of all use of our reason to drive its cognition up to consciousness of its necessity;
3. it is an essential limitation of reason that, if a condition is not made the ground under which something exists, happens, or ought to happen, then reason can see neither the necessity of what exists, happens, or ought to happen;
4. in this way [i.e., due to this essential principle and essential limitation], the satisfaction of reason is again and again postponed by the constant inquiry for the condition;
5. so [from 2, 3, and 4] reason restlessly seeks the unconditioned-necessary;
6. so [from 2, 3, and 4] reason sees itself necessitated to assume the unconditioned-necessary without any means of making the unconditioned-necessary comprehensible to itself;
7. so [perhaps from 2, 3, and 4] reason is lucky enough if it can discover only the concept that is compatible with this presupposition [i.e., the unconditioned-necessary];
8. if an unconditional practical law according to its absolute necessity were made comprehensible through a conditional interest as the law's ground, then the law would not be a moral law; [This might be a particular instance of the universal assertion made in 1.]
9. so [from 8] reason cannot be blamed for not wanting to make an unconditional practical law according to its absolute necessity comprehensible through a conditional interest as the law's ground
10. so [from 5-7, and 9] it is no shortcoming of our deduction of the highest principle of morality that reason cannot make comprehensible an unconditional practical law according to its absolute necessity;
11. so [from 5-7, and 9] the objection must be made to human reason in general that reason cannot make comprehensible an unconditional practical law according to its absolute necessity;