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Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  7,619 ratings  ·  187 reviews
The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals or Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten), Immanuel Kant's 1st contribution to moral philosophy, argues for an a priori basis for morality. Where the Critique of Pure Reason laid out his metaphysical & epistemological ideas, this relatively short, primarily metaethical, work was inten ...more
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People ask me how I become so well-read. Although I huff and bumble around the question, the fact is I am not yet well read. I have not read any of the Four Great Chinese classics, none of Kant's Kritiks, gave up on Proust half-way, nothing by Heidegger, no Canterbury Tales in the Middle English, no Gargantua and Pentagruel, no Ulysses, no Lacan (though I've heard he's a shit), no Vico, no Gadamer, none of Beckett's novels, etc., etc. There is always more and it is always calling.

The point of th
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I was the annoying guy in class who kept insisting that the categorical imperative was the Golden Rule with a thick, convoluted veneer of the most difficult writing in philosophical history slathered all over it. Of course it is slightly different than the Golden Rule, but I'd say only trivially so. I understand Kant's influence, importance, etc, I just can't stand his writing. And I do think that his ideas, as influential as they were, were often failures. And again, the writing is painfully ba ...more
When I was studying this book there were no copies available to buy for some reason - but then I found it in the local library in a hard back edition printed in the 1930s or something. I borrowed it and showed it to my lecturer and he said, "You ought to steal that - they only charge you what it cost the library to buy and that would have been cents back then." I said, "You want me to steal a book on morality?" Needless to say, he was much better at lecturing on Neitzsche.

This is a remarkably di
Translator's Preface
Commentary and Analysis of the Argument - The Approach to Moral Philosophy, Outline of a Metaphysic of Morals, Outline of a Critique of Practical Reason

--Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

Confession of Stupidity:

Lately, I’ve been had long and agonizing conversation with my friend about the categorical imperative. I was insisting that it didn’t make sense; my friend insisted that it did, and that I merely misunderstood it. After much deliberation, I found to my embarrassment that he was right: I had misunderstood it. I had misunderstood it badly. Now, fortunately, I think I’ve got a hold on the concept, which indeed is not terribly complex (though, for my brain at least, a bit t
Mashael Alamri
ترجمة الكتاب رائعة , شرحت بالتفصيل فلسفة كانط بطريقة ميسرة قد تكون مفاتيح للكثير من البحث أو القراءة , فكرت كثيرا كيف أكتب المراجعة للكتاب ووجدت أنني أكتب صفحات عدة لأن الكتاب بترجمته هو عبارة عن مراجعة هل سأنقله بأكمله ؟؟
أول كتاب اقرأه لكانط , بخلاف بعض المقالات والشروحات عن فلسفته لذلك أحتاج الكثير قبل أن أكتب عنه أقلها الإطلاع على مؤلف آخر له لأنها الآن تبدو لي صعبه.
It's probably a product of having been in grad school for too long, but somehow I found myself really liking this piece. I don't even care that it's not applicable to real life, at least his methods are based on tying human action to univsersal principles that anyone can participate in instead of trying to create this really creepy classist/elitist system of morality which the ancient greeks oozed over. And unlike the clunky, inhuman ethical systems espoused by more anylitic thinkers, Kant is at ...more
laura gillespie
i read the groundwork (finally finally) cover to cover in an airport in washington dc, where i spent a fourteen hour day watching one flight after another cancelled cancelled cancelled, and i have to tell you that people are near to their worst (that average daily sort of worst) in airports as their flights are cancelled. everyone was fighting for seats on future flights which would also be cancelled. everyone was arguing their cases to helpless airport staff, and the staff, in turn, treated us ...more
C'est quelque part au fond de l’Allemagne, en méditant solitairement à la chaleur d'un poêle, qu'un soldat français donna une nouvelle impulsion à la philosophie. Pour cela, ce nouveau Socrate proposa une démarche simple, fondée sur quelques principes, au premier desquels douter de tout, puis remplacer par degré les préjugés acquis à la hâte par des connaissances, en ne tenant pour vrai que ce qui nous parait évident. En face de toute difficulté, la découper en parties, jusqu’à ce que chacune d’ ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 30, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Cornel West
Shelves: philosophy
Work on an M.Div. thesis entitled "Immanuel Kant's Influence on the Thought of C.G. Jung" had me read all of the Kant that Jung had read as evinced by the books in his library and the citations given in his writings. Now, two years later, having returned to school to study philosophy, I had incentive to continue the study of Kant's writings beyond those with which the psychiatrist had been familiar.

The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals was read for Loyola University's PHIL 309: History of
As a rule, one really can't 'rate' Kant, or any of his works, as one would rate a book. His philosophy is not written to be clever, charming, or even enjoyable. It is written to impart his interpretation of a logical structure of ethics to those who would apply and experiment with those ethics. That being said, my rating for this book is solely a rating of the translation from German. To rate Kant himself is the job of a power much higher than any critic or even scholar. To understand Kant is ou ...more
M. Ashraf
This is not an easy book to read... Although it is only 60+ pages but it is huge in content. Still one of the best work on Moral Philosophy, the opposite of the Utilitarianism views on: the universal laws, the moral action, the whole maximizing utility argument, the proper mean to a happy ending... Here we deal with the Will, the Duty, The Moral Worth.

A good will isn't good because of what it effects or accomplishes, it's good in itself. Even if by utmost effort the good will accomplishes nothi
"Here, then, we see philosophy put in fact in a precarious position, which is to be firm even though there is nothing in heaven or on earth from which it depends or on which it is based." (AK 4:425)

I’m letting Kant give the short version of the Groundwork with this quote from the book, not as he would have chosen it I reckon, but I think it fits well nevertheless.

The Cambridge edition includes a very useful introduction that guides you ever so gently through the whole shebang – and, believe me
I read this electronic edition:, which did not strike me as particularly hard to read or understand, despite the fact that those are very common complaints re: this book. Actually, I was mostly impressed with Kant's reasoning and argument, apart from the unnecessary conditions of morality later in the book, but deontological ethics (focused on good in itself, etc. divorced from consequence or social contract etc.) just don't work, and the (first formulati ...more
Ο Διαφωτισμός είναι η έξοδος του ανθρώπου από την ανωριμότητα του για την οποία ο ίδιος είναι υπεύθυνος. Η διάσημη φράση του Καντ θα λέγαμε πως στην ηθική του μεταφράζεται στην έξοδο του ανθρώπου από την ανωριμότητα της φυσικής ορμής και την υποταγή στην κατηγορική προσταγή.

Κορυφαία φυσιογνωμία της εποχής του Διαφωτισμού και «υπεύθυνος» για τον γερμανικό ιδεαλισμό, ο Καντ (Πρωσία, 1724-1804) είναι γνωστός για τις τρεις περίφημες κριτικές του: Η κριτική του Καθαρού Λόγου (1781), Η Κριτική του Πρ
The protagonist, the Categorical Imperative, leads the reader on a wild ride of through theoretical philosophy and the metaphysics of morals. Kidding aside, this work was surprisingly readable at times, and as dense as you would have suspected at others. I've always suspected that Kant was influenced deeply by Christianity as his Categorical Imperative came off as a restatement of the Golden Rule and his principal that humans must be treated not as means but ends in themselves is resonant with a ...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Toute l’existence kantienne a été vouée au Souverain Bien et toute sa philosophie en découle: « Il n’y a nulle part quoi que ce soit dans le monde, ni même en général hors de celui-ci, qu’il soit possible de penser et qui pourrait sans restriction être tenu pour bon, à l’exception d’une volonté bonne. »(59)
Or, la question du bien ne doit pas être abordée d’une manière qui ne lui convienne pas. Défendre, par exemple, le Bien par le biais d’arguments esthétiques ou religieux, ou pire, par le biai
Anyone interested in ethics (moral philosophy) must read this work. Of the handful of indispensable moral philosophical works, along with Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Aquinas' Summa, and Mill's Utilitarianism. Relatively short (but dense; he is German after all), the beginner of Kant's philosophy should start here, and then advance to his (arguably even more influential) epistemology. In my opinion, it's easier this way than to tackle the 1st Critique first. As profound as G ...more
Rowland Bismark
The Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals was published in 1785, just before the Critique of Practical Reason. It is essentially a short introduction to the argument presented in the second Critique. In order to understand what Kant is up to in this book, it is useful to know something about Kant's other works and about the intellectual climate of his time.

Kant lived and wrote during a period in European intellectual history called the "Enlightenment." Stretching from the mid-seventeenth cen
Ian Kennedy
At only 66 pages of main text, you might think this slim volume would make a quick read. Unless you know anything of Kant's writing style. As a thinker, he was careful with his logic so his arguments developed deliberately. This means that, given his assumptions, his points are generally sound. On the other hand, it leads to some rather dense and dreary prose. That doesn't, however, take away from my for star rating, and neither should it discourage you from picking up this wonderful volume. In ...more
I can't remember exactly who it was that said the 'German thinkers dug deeper, and came up muddier', but that quote rings so true for Kant.

Kant's Groundwork is full of interesting ideas and premises, and lays the basis for his moral philosophy, later expanded upon in other volumes. It's fairly original, and more precise than a number of other philosophical works of Enlightenment writers. Once you get to the core of what he's communicating, Kant has a strong and compelling argument - but, of cour
This is, without a doubt, the most bizarre text I've ever read. Technical things first: This is Routledge's The Moral Law -- they changed the title; I didn't read why. The translator said something [briefly in some section] to the effect that it was a horrid title [I don't think so!]. The first thing to note is that the footnotes correspond to the GERMAN edition -- which has its page numbers written in the margins next to the body of the text. I didn't realise this until more than halfway throug ...more
As has been said elsewhere and with more authority than I can muster without citing letters after my name, this book, even on its own, is a landmark for thinking on par with Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. While criticism is often waged upon this deceivingly simple book, one must truly understand the arguments applied from The First Critique (The Critique of Pure Reason) in order to object to its arguments. Hence, although easily read on its own, it is not nearly as formidable a champion of log ...more
Georgette Coutroud
Δεν τα πάω καλά με τη Φιλοσοφία,ως επιστήμη εννοώ,χάνομαι λίγο.Το παρόν όμως βιβλίο αντικειμενικά σου αλλάζει τον τρόπο σκέψης για τη ζωή και ό,τι ή όποιους αντιμετωπίζεις ή έρχεσαι σε επαφή.Αναρωτιέμαι αν το πρώτο κεφ. μοιράζονταν στην Α Λυκείου και όλη τη διάρκεια της χρονιάς αυτές οι 10 σελίδες μελετούνταν εις βάθος,πόσο διαφορετικές θα ήταν οι ενήλικες σχέσεις,πράξεις και επιλογές αργότερα!Στα πλαίσια της διεπιστημονικότητας κατά τη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσής του σκέφτηκα,προβληματίστηκα και ίσω ...more
Salah Sameh
كتاب مُهم وخطير في تاريخ الفلسفة الأخلاقية من جانب وفي تاريخ تطور فكر كانت من جانب آخر
أفكار كانت عن الواجب والأمر الأخلاقي والنظام الأخلاقي والحُرية والأوامر المطلقة العامة الكلية والشرطية موجودة بشكل رئيسي في الكتاب قبل ما يكتب بعدها بفترة قصيرة نقد العقل العملي
This is a pretty good effort from Kant, and a solid argument for the objectivity and a priority of morals. We see the person as an end in themselves and personally I found this far more pursuasive than Mill's Utilitarianism that places happiness for the majority above the individual. However Kant's Kingdom of Ends if far too removed from real life dilemmas where it just doesn't seem reasonable to apply the universal maxim for all situations, mostly because real life is just too darn complicated. ...more
Kant is like a really good work out. It really hurts in the process, but at the end you will never feel like you have wasted your time. Every time I read the Groundwork I become more sympathetic to Kant's overall project, but find more issues with it and places to thoughtfully engage. Non the less, one cannot deny the importance this text has played on the history of moral philosophy and theology. To not engage with it is to deprive yourself of a workout that is necessary for survival of a healt ...more
Even if this is one of the easier translation of Kant's infamously difficult prose, which is well known to have sapped the spirit of even the most formidable reader, this book is by no means an easy read.

Like many of Kant's works that often systematically dissect inquires into the nature and foundations of philosophical knowledge, Kant constructs his theory likewise in this book. Here, he attempts to formulate the rational basis of morality, so as to find out what rationality can do regarding a
Helen Zhao
This is not a piece to be read once, twice, thrice. While I don't have the confidence to support all of Kant's beliefs, I don't think I have the right to deny any either. A necessary staple of any education in moral philosophy.
I believe Kant, in the eyes of many a people who read his philosophy, is one of the most difficulty minds of modern thinkers. That, at least, is a proof of the originality of his philosophical products. This is the second book of Kant's Iam reading right now in a span of one year and Iam making a quite impressive advance on grasping the essence of his writings . It is seemingly complex to find a way in which I can discern and apply his theories to the complex issues of modern day, but I believe ...more
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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 Critique of Practical Reason (Texts in the History of Philosophy) Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics Critique of Judgment Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns

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“Have the courage to use your own reason- That is the motto of enlightenment.” 17 likes
“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 inclinations, 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 full worth in itself".” 8 likes
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