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Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals

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Analyze Preface and Part I of Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals

1. Kant thinks the ethical Ought cannot come from experience. Kant has an idea that the moral norm that is the moral Ought comes from a practical reason. From the other point of view Kant compares practical reason with theoretical reason in the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and proclaims that ‘I require of a critical examination of a pure practical reason, if it is to be complete, that its unity with the speculative be subject to presentation under a common principle, because in the final analysis there can be but one and the same reason which must be differentiated only in application’ (Kant, Immanuel). This idea confirms that Kant proclaims that relations are the product of apperception and no experience can tell people how to act in a right way. In other words, there are no causal or moral relations because relations are determined after logical possibilities grounded in the categories (Kant, Immanuel). The main idea is that Kant says explicitly that each person should act as it follows from duty and rationality wherever occurs. 

2. Kant suggests that maxim is that basis for all people’s actions. A maxim means a subjective principle that is a basis for making decisions, for example, “I ought to help my mother to bring bags home”. In other words, a maxim is the principle, which person sets for himself, he coordinates his actions, provides decisions and etc according to a maxim. Secondly, Kant considers making these maxims into universal laws that means person’s maxims can become universal laws in order to let everybody in the world follow them. A universal law is made on the basis of a maxim and applies it to the whole population. That is about mainly helping people, saving puppies etc. Kant’s imperative states people must use a personal maximum every time they make an ethical choice.

3. What is the test of the “moral worth” of a maxim? Give an example.

The test of the “moral worth” of a maxim means something like the following. For example, when person is trying to decide whether to do something, he should pass some stages: to formulate the maxim of the action, universalize the maxim, to determine whether the universalized maxim could be a universal law and could we the certain maxim become a universal law. The main idea is that Kant proclaims that deeds have moral worth only if they are based on "respect for the moral law", duty or the rational apprehension (Kant, Immanuel).

4. Kant proclaims the moral worth test strips away the empirical part of ethics to reveal the pure part due to some reasons. It comes from the idea that the moral worth of any action does not depend on its effect. From the other point of view empirical elements prescribe certain actions and deed, while the ethical Ought cannot come from experience (Kant, Immanuel). Finally, a person that is real for person who acts accordingly bases everything good that comes from a moral worth on the pure conception of law. Thus, the moral worth test strips away the empirical part of ethics because it is based on the practice.

Works cited

Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals. Jonathan Bennett. 2005. Retrieved from



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