Atlanta Technical Transition from Common to Philosophical Moral Rational Cognition Quiz

total of 20 questions for quiz prep. Length requirement a paragraph or two to answer fully depending on the question.

reference: M. K. C., Mary G., & Jens T. Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.

M. K. C., Mary G., & Jens T. Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.
First section Transition from common to philosophical moral rational cognition It is impossible to
think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be taken to be good without
limitation, except a good will. Understanding, wit, judgment, and whatever else the talents of the
mind may be called, or confidence, resolve, and persistency of intent, as qualities of temperament,
are no doubt in many respects good and desirable; but they can also be extremely evil and harmful
if the will that is to make use of these gifts of nature, and whose distinctive constitution is therefore
called character, is not good. It is just the same with gifts of fortune. Power, riches, honor, even
health, and the entire well-being and contentment with one’s condition, under the name of
happiness, inspire confidence and thereby quite often overconfidence as well, unless a good will is
present to correct and make generally purposivei their influence on the mind, and with it also the
whole principle for acting; not to mention that a rational impartial spectator can nevermore take
any delight in the sight of the uninterrupted prosperity of a being adorned with no feature of a pure
and good will, and that a good will thus appears to constitute the indis- pensable condition even of
the worthiness to be happy. Some qualities are even conducive to this good will itself and can make
its work much easier; but regardless of this they have no inner uncondi- tional worth, but always
presuppose a good will, which limits the high esteem in which they are otherwise rightly held, and
makes it impermissible to take them for good per se. Moderation in affects and passions, selfcontrol and sober deliberation are not only good in many respects, they even appear to constitute
part of the inner worth of a person; but they are far from deserving to be declared good without
limitation (however uncondi- tionally they were praised by the ancients). For without principles of a
good will they can become most evil, and the cold blood of a scoundrel makes him not only far
more dangerous, but also immediately more loathsome in our eyes than he would have been taken
to be without it. A good will is good not because of what it effects, or accomplishes, not because of
its fitness to attain some intended end, but good just by its willing, i.e. in itself; and, considered by
itself, it is to be esteemed beyond compare much higher than anything that could ever be brought
about by it in favor of some inclination, and indeed, if you will, the sum of all inclinations. Even if by
some particular disfavor of fate, or by the scanty endowment of a stepmotherly nature, this will
should entirely lack the capacity to carry through its purpose; if despite its greatest striving it
should still accomplish nothing, and only the good will were to remain (not, of course, as a mere
wish, but as the summoning of all means that are within our control); then, like a jewel, it would still
shine by itself, as something that has its full worth in itself. Usefulness or fruitlessness can neither
add anything to this worth, nor take anything away from it. It would, as it were, be only the setting to
enable us to handle it better in ordinary commerce, or to attract the attention of those who are not
yet expert enough; but not to recommend it to experts, or to determine its worth. Even so, in this
idea of the absolute worth of a mere will, not taking into account any utility in its estimation, there
is something so strange that, regardless of all the agreement with it even of common reason, a
suspicion must yet arise that it might perhaps covertly be founded merely on some high-flown
fantastication, and that we may have misunderstood Nature’sj purpose in assigning Reason to our
will as its ruler. We shall therefore submit this idea to examination from this point of view. In the
natural predispositions of an organized being, i.e. one arranged purposivelyk for life, we assume as
a principle that no organ will be found in it for any end that is not also the most fitting for it and the
most suitable. Now in a being that has reason and a will, if the actual end of Nature were its
preservation, its prosperity, in a word its happiness, then she would have made very bad
arrangements for this in appointing the creature’s Reason as the accomplisher of this purpose. For
all the actions that it has to perform with a view to this purpose, and the whole rule of its conduct,
would be marked out for it far more accurately by instinct, and that end would thereby have been
obtained much more reliably than can ever be done by reason; and if in addition reason should
have been bestowed on the favored creature, it would have had to serve it only to contemplate the
fortunate predisposition of its nature, to admire it, to rejoice in it, and to be grateful for it to the
beneficent cause; but not to subject its desiderative facultyl to that weak and deceptive guidance
and meddle with Nature’s purpose; in a word, Nature would have prevented Reason from striking
out into practical use, and from having the impudence, with its feeble insights, to devise its own
plan for happiness and for the means of achieving it. Nature herself would have taken over the
choice not only of ends, but also of means, and as a wise precaution would have entrusted them
both solely to instinct. In actual fact, we do find that the more a cultivated reason engages with the
purpose of enjoying life and with happiness, so much the further does a human being stray from
true contentment; and from this there arises in many, and indeed in those who are most
experienced in its use, if only they are sincere enough to admit it, a certain degree of misology, i.e.
hatred of reason, since after calculating all the advantages they derive – I do not say from the
invention of all the arts of common luxury, but even from the sciences (which in the end also
appear to them to be a luxury of the understanding) – they still find that they have in fact just
brought more hardship upon their shoulders than they have gained in happiness, and that because
of this they eventually envy, rather than disdain, the more common run of people, who are closer to
the guidance of mere natural instinct, and who do not allow their reason much influence on their
behavior. And to that extent one must admit that the judgment of those who greatly moderate and
even reduce below zero the vainglorious eulogies extolling the advantages that reason was
supposed to obtain for us with regard to the happiness and contentment of life, is by no means
sullen, or ungrateful to the kindliness of the government of the world; but that these judgments are
covertly founded on the idea of another and far worthier purpose of their existence, to which, and
not to happiness, reason is quite properly destined, and to which, as its supreme condition, the
private purpose of a human being must therefore largely take second place. For since reason is not
sufficiently fit to guide the will reliably with regard to its objects and the satisfaction of all our
needs (which in part it does itself multiply) – an end to which an implanted natural instinct would
have led much more reliably – but reason as a practical faculty, i.e. as one that is meant to
influence the will, has yet been imparted to us, its true functionm must be to produce a will that is
good, not for other purposes as a means, but good in itself – for which reason was absolutely
necessary – since nature has everywhere else gone to work purposively in distributing its
predispositions. Therefore this will need not, indeed, be the only and the entire good, but it must yet
be the highest good, and the condition of everything else, even of all longing for happiness; in which
case it is quite consistent with the wisdom of nature when one perceives that the cultivation of
reason, which is required for the first and uncondi- tional purpose, in many ways limits – at least in
this life – the attainment of the second, namely of happiness, which is always conditional, indeed
that it may reduce it to less than nothing without nature’s proceeding unpur- posively in this;
because reason, which recognizes as its highest practical function the grounding of a good will, in
attaining this purpose, is capable only of a contentment after its own kind, namely from fulfilling an
end that again is determined only by reason, even if this should involve much infringement on the
ends of inclination. In order, then, to unraveln the concept of a will to be highly esteemed in itself
and good apart from any further purpose, as it already dwells in natural sound understanding and
needs not so much to be taught as rather just to be brought to light,o this concept that always
comes first in estimating the entire worth of our actions and constitutes the condition of everything
else: we shall inspect the concept of duty, which contains that of a good will, though under certain
subjective limitations and hindrances, which, however, far from concealing it and making it unrecognizable, rather bring it out by contrast and make it shine forth all the more brightly. I here pass
over all actions already recognized as contrary to duty, even though they may be useful in this or
that respect; for in their case there is no question whether they might have been done from duty,
since they even conflict with it. I also set aside actions that actually conform with duty but to which
human beings immediately have no inclination, but which they still perform, because they are
impelled to do so by another inclination. For there it is easy to distinguish whether the action that
conforms with duty was done from duty or from a self-serving purpose. It is much more difficult to
notice this difference when an action conforms with duty and the subject has in addition an
immediate inclination towards it. E.g. it certainly conforms with duty that a shopkeeper not
overcharge his inexperienced customer, and where there is much commerce, a prudent merchant
actually does not do this, but keeps a fixed general price for everyone, so that a child may buy from
him just as well as everyone else. Thus one is served honestly; but this is not nearly enough for us
to believe that the merchant proceeded in this way from duty and principles of honesty; his
advantage required it; it cannot be assumed here that he had, besides, an immediate inclination
towards his customers, so as from love, as it were, to give no one preference over another in the
matter of price. Thus the action was done neither from duty, nor from immediate inclination, but
merely for a self-interested purpose. By contrast, to preserve one’s life is one’s duty,p and besides
everyone has an immediate inclination to do so. But on account of this the often anxious care with
which the greatest part of humanity attends to it has yet no inner worth, and their maxim no moral
content. They preserve their lives in 4:398 conformity with duty, but not from duty. By contrast, if
adversities and hopeless grief have entirely taken away the taste for life; if the unfortunate man,
strong of soul, more indignant about his fate than despondent or dejected, wishes for death, and
yet preserves his life, without loving it, not from inclination, or fear, but from duty; then his maxim
has a moral content. To be beneficent where one can is one’s duty, and besides there are many
souls so attuned to compassion that, even without another motivating ground of vanity, or selfinterest, they find an inner gratification in spread- ing joy around them, and can relish the
contentment of others, in so far as it is their work. But I assert that in such a case an action of this
kind – however much it conforms with duty, however amiable it may be – still has no true moral
worth, but stands on the same footing as other inclinations, e.g. the inclination to honor, which if it
fortunately lights upon what is in fact in the general interest and in conformity with duty, and hence
honorable, deserves praise and encouragement, but not high esteem; for the maxim lacks moral
content, namely to do such actions not from inclination, but from duty. Suppose, then, that the mind
of that friend of humanity were beclouded by his own grief, which extinguishes all compassion for
the fate of others; that he still had the means to benefit others in need, but the need of others did
not touch him because he is sufficiently occupied with his own; and that now, as inclination no
longer stimulates him to it, he were yet to tear himself out of this deadly insensibility, and to do the
action without any inclination, solely from duty; not until then does it have its genuine moral worth.
Still further: if nature had as such placed little sympathy in the heart of this or that man; if
(otherwise honest) he were by temperament cold and indifferent to the sufferings of others,
perhaps because he himself is equipped with the peculiar gift of patience and enduring strength
towards his own, and presupposes, or even requires, the same in every other; if nature had not
actually formed such a man (who would truly not be its worst product) to be a friend of humanity,
would he not still find within himself a source from which to give himself a far higher worth than
that of a good- natured temperament may be? Certainly! It is just there that the worth of
charactercommences,whichismoralandbeyondallcomparisonthehigh- est, namely that he be
beneficent, not from inclination, but from duty. To secure one’s own happiness is one’s duty (at
least indirectly); for lack of contentment with one’s condition, in the trouble of many worries and
amidst unsatisfied needs, could easily become a great temptation to transgress one’s duties. But,
even without taking note of duty, all human beings have already of their own the most powerful and
intimate inclina- tion to happiness, as it is just in this idea that all inclinations unite in one sum.
However, the prescription of happiness is predominantly such, that it greatly infringes on some
inclinations and yet human beings can form no determinate and reliable concept of the sum of the
satisfaction of all under the name of happiness; which is why it is not surprising that a single
inclination – if determinate with regard to what it promises, and to the time its satisfaction can be
obtainedq – can outweigh a wavering idea, and that a human being, e.g. someone suffering from
gout of the foot, can choose to enjoy what he fancies and to suffer what he can since, according to
his calculation, at least then he has not denied himself the enjoyment of the present moment
because of perhaps groundless expectations of some good fortune that is meant to lie in health.
But also in this case, if the universal inclination to happiness did not determine his will, if health, at
least for him, did not enter into this calculation so necessarily, then here, as in all other cases, there
still remains a law, namely to advance one’s happiness,r not from inclination, but from duty; and it
is not until then that his conduct has its actual moral worth. It is in this way, no doubt, that we are
to understand the passages from Scripture that contain the command to love one’s neighbor, even
our enemy.7 For love as inclination cannot be commanded, but beneficence from duty itself – even
if no inclination whatsoever impels us to it, indeed if natural and unconquerable aversion resists –
is practical and not pathological s love, which lies in the will and not in the propensity of sensation,
in principles of action and not in melting compassion; and only the former can be commanded. The
second proposition8 is: an action from duty has its moral worth not in the purpose that is to be
attained by it, but in the maxim according to which it is resolved upon,t and thus it does not depend
on the actuality of the object of the action, but merely on the principle of willing according to which
– regardless of any object of the desiderative faculty – the action is done. That the purposes that
we may have when we act, and their effects, as ends and incentivesu of the will, can bestow on
actions no unconditional and moral worth, is clear from what was previously said. In what, then,
can this worth lie, if it is not to consist in the will with reference to their hoped-for effect? It can lie
nowhere else than in the principle of the will, regardless of the ends that can be effected by such
action; for the will stands halfway between its a priori principle, which is formal, and its a posteriori
incentive, which is material, as it were at a crossroads, and since it must after all be determined by
something, it will have to be determined by the formal principle of willing as such when an action is
done from duty, as every material principle has been taken away from it. The third proposition, as
the conclusion from both previous ones, I would express as follows: duty is the necessity of an
action from respectv for the law. For the object as the effect of the action I have in mind I can
indeed have inclination, but never respect, precisely because it is merely an effect and not activity
of a will.w Likewise, I cannot have respect for inclination as such, whether it is mine or that of
another; I can at most in the first case approve of it, in the second at times love it myself, i.e. view it
as favorable to my own advantage. Only what is connected with my will merely as ground, never as
effect, what does not serve my inclination, but outweighs it, or at least excludes it entirely from
calculations when we make a choice, hence the mere law by itself, can be an object of respect and
thus a command. Now, an action from duty is to separate off entirely the influence of inclination,
and with it every object of the will; thus nothing remains for the will that could determine it except,
objectively, the law and, subjectively, pure respect for this practical law, and hence the maxim*
ofcomplyingwithsuchalaw,evenifitinfringesonallmyinclinations. Thus the moral worth of the action
does not lie in the effect that is expected from it, nor therefore in any principle of action that needs
to borrow its motivating ground from this expected effect. For all these effects (agreeableness of
one’s condition, indeed even advancement of the happiness of others) could also have been
brought about by other causes, and thus there was, for this, no need of the will of a rational being;
even so, in it alone can the highest and unconditional good be found. Nothing other than the
representation of the law in itself – which of course can take place only in a rational being – in so
far as it, not the hoped-for effect, is the determining ground of the will, can therefore constitute the
pre-eminent good that we call moral, which is already present in the person himself who acts
according to it, and is not first to be expected from the effect.*
Butwhatkindoflawcanthatpossiblybe,therepresentationofwhich– 4:402 even without regard for the
effect expected from it – must determine the will for it to be called good absolutely and without
limitation? Since I have robbed the will of all impulses that could arise for it from following some
particular law, nothing remains but as such the universal conformity of actions with law, which
alone is to serve the will as its principle, i.e. I ought never to proceed except in such a way that I
could also will that my maxim should become a universal law. Here, then, mere conformity with law
as such (not founded on any law determined with a view to certain actions) is what serves the will
as its principle, and must so serve it if duty is not to be as such an empty delusion and a chimerical
concept; common human reason in its practical judging is actually in perfect agreement with this,
and always has the envisaged principle before its eyes. Let the question be, e.g., may I not, when I
am in trouble, make a promise with the intention not to keep it? Here I easily discern the different
meanings the question can have: whether it is prudent, or whether it conforms with duty to make a
false promise. The former can no doubt quite often take place. I do see very well that it is not
enough to extricate myself from the present predicament by means of this subterfuge, but that it
requires careful deliberation whether this lie may not later give rise to much greater inconvenience
for me than those from which I am now * I might be accused of using the word respect just to seek
refuge in an obscure feeling, instead of giving distinct information about the matter in question by
means of a concept of reason. But even though respect is a feeling, it is not one received by
influence, but one self-wrought by a rational concept and therefore specifically different from all
feelings of the former kind, which come down to inclination or fear. What I recognize immediately
as a law for myself I recognize with respect, which signifies merely the consciousness of the
subordination of my will to a law, without mediation of other influences on my sense. The
immediate determination of the will by the law and the consciousness of this is called respect, so
that it is viewed as the effect of the law on the subject and not as its cause. Respect is actually the
representation of a worth that infringes on my self-love. Thus it is something that is considered an
object neither of inclination, nor of fear, even though it is at the same time somewhat analogous to
both. The object of respect is therefore solely the law, the one that we impose upon ourselves and
yet as in itself necessary. As a law we are subject to it, without consulting self-love; as imposed
upon us by ourselves, it is yet a consequence of our will, and in the first regard it has an analogy
with fear, in the second with inclination. All respect for a person is actually only respect for the law
(of righteousness etc.) of which he gives us the example. Because we also view expanding our
talents as our duty, we represent a person of talents also, as it were, as the example of a law (to
become like him in this by practice)x and this is what constitutes our respect. All moral interest, so
called, consists solely in respect for the law. x This parenthetical remark is an addition of the
second edition. liberating myself; and – since with all my supposed cunning the consequen- ces
cannot be so easily foreseen that trust once lost might not be far more disadvantageous to me than
any ill that I now mean to avoid – whether one might not act more prudently in this matter by
proceeding according to a universaly maxim, and by making it one’s habit to promise nothing
except with the intention of keeping it. But here it soon becomes clear to me that such a maxim will
still only be founded on the dreaded consequences. Now, to be truthful from duty is something
quite different from being truthful from dread of adverse consequences; as in the first case, the
concept of the action in itself already contains a law for me, whereas in the second I must first look
around elsewhere to see what effects on me this might involve. For if I deviate from the principle of
duty, this is quite certainly evil; but if I defect from my maxim of prudence, that can sometimes be
very advantageous to me, though it is of course safer to adhere to it. However, to instruct myself in
the very quickest and yet undeceptivez way with regard to responding to this problem – whether a
lying promise conforms with duty – I ask myself: would I actually be content that my maxim (to
extricate myself from a predicament by means of an untruthful promise) should hold as a universal
law (for myself as well as for others), and would I be able to say to myself: everyone may make an
untruthful promise when he finds himself in a predicament from which he can extricate himself in
no other way? Then I soon become aware that I could indeed will the lie, but by no means a
universal law to lie; for according to such a law there would actually be no promise at all, since it
would be futile to pretend my will to others with regard to my future actions, who would not believe
this pretense; or, if they rashly did so, would pay me back in like coin, and hence my maxim, as soon
as it were made a universal law, would have to destroy itself. I do not, therefore, need any wideranging acuteness to see what I have to do for my willing to be morally good. Inexperienced with
regard to the course of the world, incapable of bracing myself for whatever might come to pass in it,
I just ask myself: can you also will that your maxim become a universal law? If not, then it must be
rejected, and that not because of some disadvantage to you, or to others, that might result, but
because it cannot fit as a principle into a possible universal legislation, for which reason extracts
from me immediate respect; and although I do not yet see on what it is founded (which the
philosopher may investigate), at least I do y As so often, it is not entirely clear whether allgemein
means “general” or “universal.” z untrügliche Art; the principle is reliable and trustworthy
First section: Transition from common to philosophical moral rational cognition
1. What is the only thing good without limitation? p. 393
2. Why does Kant claim that the only thing good without limitation is a
good will? p. 393-394
3. Why are moderation, self-control, and sober deliberation not
unconditionally good? pp. 393-394
4. How is a good will good? p. 393-394
5. Why would the good will be good even if it were ineffectual? p. 394
6. Why is the purpose of the rational will not happiness? pp. 394-396
7. What tends to happen when a rational person devotes herself to using
her reason to achieve happiness? p. 395-396
8. What is the true function of reason? p. 396
9. In order to clearly illuminate the concept of duty, which kind of acts
does Kant focus upon? p. 39
10. Explain the example of the shopkeeper. What is Kant trying to
demonstrate? p. 397
11. Kant says that to preserve one’s life is a duty. What problem does he
see with this? pp. 397-398
12. Kant says that to be beneficient where one can is a duty. What
problem does he see with this? p. 398
13. What is required in order for an act to have moral worth or moral
content? pp. 397-399
14. Why does Kant say that his view makes sense of the scriptural
commandment to love one’s neighbor and one’s enemy? p. 399 Ortiz
15. What does it mean to act on a purely formal, a priori, principle of
volition? p. 400
16. What does it mean to act with respect for law? pp. 400-401
17. What is a maxim? pp. 400-401
18. What sort of law must determine the will if the motivation is to be
strictly free of consequences? p. 402 Robertson
19. Explain why Kant thinks that the reason lying is wrong is not because
it is not prudent. pp. 402-40
20. Explain what Kant means on p. 402 when he says “Since I have robbed
the will of all impulses that could arise for it from following some
particular law, nothing remains but as such the universal conformity of
actions with law, which alone is to serve the will as its principle.”

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