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Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns
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Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,580 ratings  ·  29 reviews
This expanded edition of James Ellington’s preeminent translation includes Ellington’s new translation of Kant’s essay “Of a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns” in which Kant replies to one of the standard objections to his moral theory as presented in the main text: that it requires us to tell the truth even in the face of disastrous consequences.
Paperback, 3rd Edition, 92 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Hackett (first published 1785)
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Everyone seems to complain that the text is dry and hard to follow, but honestly, it's not bad at all. I read it as a freshman, and it was probably the first philosophy that I'd read that dealt so strongly in absolutes. I was impressed by his vehement (and gutsy) assertion that a priori principles must still apply empirically, regardless of the situation's specific details.

It's been years since I've read this, and Kant still stands out in my mind as one of the most powerful philosophers that I'
John Yelverton
I "Kant" tell you just how morally bankrupt this book actually is.
How can you say what you learn from someone who defined our moral culture to the extent that Kant did? I am learning about the formulations of the categorical imperative...

Okay, I need to take a moment to rant here. I don't expect that anyone will read my review or care, but how can "Married to a Stranger" have better overall reviews than this book?!? Something that contributes nothing to the human race, that will not be read after this generation, as opposed to something that contributes profou
I have little to add that my friend, and fellow goodreads reviewer Jesse Lopes, hasn't already stated. The title of the book is Kant's overall objective, i.e., he wants to lay the groundwork for the metaphysics of morals. He is giving the reader a foundational structure, within the confines of our reason, that we can deduce our ethical duty from. Kant is highly suspicious, as a matter of fact, entirely distrusting, of any ethical system that could be deduced from empirical observation/experience ...more
What is so very fascinating about this book, and it is an accessible Kantian text I should say (he's very liberal with examples in this one, after all), is that Kant begins by saying that, certainly we have got reason for a reason, and if, as the empiricists claim, we have reason to make us happy, nothing is more unsuited to its purpose in the world! Therefore, reason is with us for a higher purpose. Now, everyone knows Kant says morality is derivable from reason alone, but not everyone realizes ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone willing to try
Recommended to Jeff by: Luc Ferry's *A Brief History of Thought*
4.5 stars: Kant loses half a star simply because he's so hard to follow. But his ideas are fundamentally important, to modern Western morality and to the development of human thought.

Certainly groundbreaking, in the history of ideas. Frequently impossible, to fully grasp. Likely hateable, for many a student forced to read it for a class they'd rather not be taking. Possibly objectionable, to people who believe morality must "come from God."

Read it and realize how strongly Kant influenced the way
Joshua Goller
Was awful, unclear, and generally the worst MLP fanfic I've ever read.
No one would argue that Kant is easy to read. His thoughts are packed tightly behind meticulously chosen vocabulary. Additionally, to really understand Kant the reader must be versed in the intricacies of his philosophy, or the finer points will be missed. His "Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals" is no different in this respect, but the barriers to entry can be overcome with a little background research, and the reader will find his thought quite provoking and rewarding.

This volume is a sho
This is my small taste of Kant to determine whether to move forward in his texts. Grounding is a sort of intro to his Metaphysics of Morals, and is complex enough on its own. Three steps or transitions climb in difficulty. By the third I was barely cognizant. Despite the eighteenth century simplicity, filtered through the translator as well, the concepts don't exactly fall into neat rows. It reminds me of a complex math course: if you miss a step you have to start over.

Kant's categorical imperat
Jeremy Egerer
Worth a read because Kant will make you think... but only because he takes "reason" to its most unreasonable extreme, and forces you to wonder through the entire book whether you're being conned. If this book is true, then Jesus wasn't technically moral, who "for the glory set before Him, endured the cross," since Kant says only dutiful actions with no possible incentives are truly moral.

Lastly, the entire book is about how the conscience operates according to a different set of rules than the n
Eric Phetteplace
I suspended disbelief & enjoyed this work. Kant does a spectacular job of thoroughly deriving a morality, always working hard to establish a solid theoretical basis & never giving in to exceptions or defaulting to common sense. The book peaks midway through the second section, when the categorical imperative is made more explicit & examples worked through. The third section, while admittedly difficult to follow, did a good job of side-stepping the issue of freedom vs. determinism &am ...more
Aubrey Haverkamp
Oct 15, 2014 Aubrey Haverkamp rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophers; fans of Hume, Mandeville, Rousseau, Smith
Recommended to Aubrey by: read it for class
Shelves: nonfiction
Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is a very dense, daunting book to read. Incidentally, this work was Immanuel Kant's attempt to popularize his philosophical beliefs through literature, and I have absolutely no idea how the average person was expected to get through this work.

Kant's ideas are solid; he tries to justify an idea of morality sans god or any divine being, and I do feel that he was generally successful. However, I never would have understood this book if it weren't for
Chris Kalbach
This is one of my personal favorites. It is a classic. Kant causes some people issues with his writing style, but this translation renders the text very readable. It is still a little more than most people will be able to grasp, but those who do are in for a treat. For such a short book, 67 pages, it is incredibly deep and nuanced. A treat for anyone who is looking for a intellectual read.
Jackson Cyril
Kant tries to "establish the supreme principle of morality", and finds it in the Categorical imperative (something is moral if it is universalizable, or something is moral if it respects human dignity). It's not an easy text to work with, but his main theses are clear from the start so its not too hard to follow.
David Laurin
The categorical imperative is really interesting. The 3stars is not so much for content as it is for the dryness and difficulty. But I guess that's to be expected with Kant.
idk how to rate this? like i don't agree with Kant but this is a good translation & an important piece of philosophical history *arbitrarily awards it 3 stars*
I wish UofC would just let you take one class over and over again.
Brandon Lee
Very dense... Must suffer through at least once.
Jacob Stubbs
This work, which represents Kant's introductory textbook toward knowing his moral theory, provides a window into the complex world of Kant's ethic. He very clearly sets forth his conception of the "categorical imperative," the different iterations of this imperative, and then the epistemic basis for this imperative - all the while situating his theory somewhere between freedom and causality.
Most of what we think about Kant's ethics can be found in this short, but profound, piece of Philosophy. Kant spells out his fundamental moral concepts of the categorical imperative, the kind of ends and perfect and imperfect duties. This is a concise and accessible read, well worth the time for anyone who wants to understand Kant's moral theory.
Matthew Ciaramella
I may need a reread to make sure I knew what was going on.
Thick as a brick wall in material and hard to read. Tried to use this for closing arguments at a trial in its concepts of morality and ethics, but it was even too dense for that. Made even less sense than it did in Philosophy 101 back in college.
May 08, 2007 Zac rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: It's pretty hard to say...
It's tragic that this is the most accessible thing Kant wrote to introduce us to his ethics. Tremendous insight locked inside impenetrable text.

If you're going to read this, make sure you have enough light.
I found the essay concerning the right to lie interesting. Kant suggests that we should always be honest, even if it means telling a killer where our friend is located.
Tough read, very dry.
Kant and I have problems.
Phil 381 History of Ethics
so far so good
in danish trans.
Feb 12, 2011 Jonathan added it
Shelves: philosophy
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  • The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Volume I)
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of History: With Selections from The Philosophy of Right
  • The Basic Political Writings
  • Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • The Cambridge Companion to Kant
  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • Selected Writings
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • A History of Philosophy 7: Modern Philosophy
  • The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Companions to Philosophy)
  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
  • The Ethics/Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect/Selected Letters
  • Introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • The Collected Dialogues
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
  • On Free Choice of the Will
Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He's regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe & of the late Enlightenment. His most important work is The Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics & epistemology, & highlights his ow ...more
More about Immanuel Kant...
Critique of Pure Reason Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) Critique of Practical Reason (Texts in the History of Philosophy) Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics Critique of Judgment

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