Kants Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary

Paperback | November 6, 2011

byHenry E. Allison

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Henry E. Allison presents a comprehensive commentary on Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). It differs from most recent commentaries in paying special attention to the structure of the work, the historical context in which it was written, and the views to which Kant wasresponding. Allison argues that, despite its relative brevity, the Groundwork is the single most important work in modern moral philosophy and that its significance lies mainly in two closely related factors. The first is that it is here that Kant first articulates his revolutionary principle of the autonomy of the will, that is, the paradoxical thesis that moral requirements (duties) are self-imposed and that it is only in virtue of this that they can be unconditionally binding. The second is that forKant all other moral theories are united by the assumption that the ground of moral requirements must be located in some object of the will (the good) rather than the will itself, which Kant terms heteronomy. Accordingly, what from the standpoint of previous moral theories was seen as a fundamental conflict between various views of the good is reconceived by Kant as a family quarrel between various forms of heteronomy, none of which are capable of accounting for the unconditionally binding nature ofmorality. Allison goes on to argue that Kant expresses this incapacity by claiming that the various forms of heteronomy unavoidably reduce the categorical to a merely hypothetical imperative.

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Henry E. Allison presents a comprehensive commentary on Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). It differs from most recent commentaries in paying special attention to the structure of the work, the historical context in which it was written, and the views to which Kant wasresponding. Allison argues that, despite its ...

Henry E. Allison is Emeritus Professor of the University of California, Davis. He is the author of many books, including Custom and Reason in Hume (OUP, 2008), and over seventy-five scholarly articles and reviews.

other books by Henry E. Allison

Custom and Reason in Hume: A Kantian Reading of the First Book of the Treatise
Custom and Reason in Hume: A Kantian Reading of the Fir...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:November 6, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199691541

ISBN - 13:9780199691548

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsNote on sources and key to abbreviations and translationsPrefacePart One: Preliminaries1. The Nature of and Need for a Metaphysic of Morals: An Analysis of the Preface of GMS2. Universal Practical Philosophy and Popular Moral PhilosophyPart Two: GMS 13. The Good Will4. Maxims and Moral Worth Redux5. Kant`s Three Propositions, the Supreme Principle of Morality, and the Need for Moral PhilosophyPart Three: GMS 26. Rational Agency and Imperatives7. The Universal Law (FUL) and the Law of Nature (FLN)8. The Formula of Humanity (FH)9. Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Constructing the Categorical ImperativePart Four: GMS 310. The Moral Law, the Categorical Imperative, and the Reciprocity Thesis11. The Presupposition of Freedom, The Circle, and the two Standpoints12. The Deduction of the Categorical Imperative and the Outermost Boundary of Practical Philosophy

Editorial Reviews

'The detail in which the work abounds, the care taken with distinctions, and the wealth of attention to other discussions all make this work one that is well worth the attention of all serious scholars of both Hume and Kant. Anyone who wishes a guide to the central sections of the first bookof the Treatise is likely to find much here to interest them, and the overall assesment of Hume's theoretical contribution to philosophy is one that is likely to fuel much debate. Allison has, hence, once again produced a work that will be an indispensable reference for much ensuing philosophicaldiscussion and dispute.' Gary Banham. British Journal for the History of Philosophy