Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
II. TRANSCENDENTAL DOCTRINE OF METHOD
Chapter 2: THE CANON OF PURE REASON
Section 2: THE IDEAL OF THE HIGHEST GOOD, AS A DETERMINING GROUND OF THE ULTIMATE END OF PURE REASON (p. 635)
Back to Section 1: The Ultimate End of the Pure Employment of our Reason
- All the interests of reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in three questions: 1) What can I know? 2) What ought I to do? and 3) What may I hope?
- The first question is merely speculative.
- The second question is purely practical. It can come within the scope of reason and is moral, but is not transcendental and cannot, therefore be treated in this critique.
- The third question is both practical and theoretical.
- All hoping is directed to happiness.
- Happiness: the satisfaction of all our desires: extensively (manifoldness), intensively (degree), and protensively (duration).
- The practical law, derived from the motive of happiness, is termed pragmatic (rule of prudence).
- Advises us what to do if we wish to achieve happiness
- Derived from empirical principles.
- The law derived from the motive of the worthiness of being happy is termed moral (law of morality).
- Advises us how we must act to deserve happiness.
- Takes no account of desires and considers only the freedom of a rational being in general, and the necessary conditions under which this freedom can harmonize with a distribution of happiness.
- Based on mere ideas of pure reason and is known a priori.
- Kant assumes there really are pure moral laws which determine a priori the employment of the freedom of a rational being in general, and that these laws command in an absolute manner and are therefore necessary.
- Justifies assumption by appealing to the proofs employed by other moralists (none listed by name) and to the moral judgment of every man.
- Pure reason, then, contains in that practical employment which is also moral, principles of the possibility of experience.
- Consequently, a special kind of systematic unity, namely the moral, must likewise be possible.
- In their practical, meaning thereby their moral, employment, the principles of pure reason have objective reality.
- Moral World: the world, in so far as it may be in accordance with all moral laws.
- Can be thought as an intelligible world only.
- It is a mere idea, though at the same time a practical idea, which really can have an influence upon the sensible world, and therefore has objective reality.
- As referring to the sensible world, viewed as being an object of pure reason in its practical employment.
- Not as referring to an object of an intelligible intuition.
- The answer to question #2 is Do that through which thou becomest worthy of being happy.
- To answer #3 we need to consider if the principles of pure reason, which prescribe the law a priori, connect this hope with #2.
- Kant maintains that in the view of reason in its theoretical employment, it is necessary to assume that everyone has ground to hope for happiness to the extent his conduct renders him worthy of it.
- The system of morality is inseparably bound up with that of happiness, but only in the idea of pure reason.
- Such a system of self-rewarding morality is only an idea, the carrying out of which rests on the condition that everyone does what he ought.
- The alleged necessary connection of the hope of happiness with the necessary endeavor to render the self worthy of happiness cannot be known through reason. It can only be counted upon if a Supreme Reason is likewise posited as underlying nature as its cause.
- The idea of such an intelligence is entitled the ideal of supreme good.
- It is only in the ideal of the supreme original good that reason can find the ground of this connection.
- Since we are necessarily constrained by reason to represent ourselves as belonging to an intelligible moral world, we must assume that moral world to be a consequence of our conduct in the world of sense (in which no such connection is exhibited), and therefore to be for us a future world.
- Thus God and a future life are two postulates which, according to the principles of pure reason, are inseparable from the obligation which that same reason imposes in us.
- This moral theology has the advantage over speculative theology in that it inevitably leads to the concept of a sole, all-perfect, and rational primordial being.
- If we consider what the cause must be which gives the necessary law of moral unity its appropriate effect, we conclude that there must be one sole supreme will, which comprehends all these laws in itself.
- The Divine Being must be:
- Omnipotent so that the whole of nature and its relation to morality in the world may be subject to his will.
- Omniscient: so that he may know our innermost sentiments and their moral worth.
- Omnipresent: so that he may be immediately at hand to satisfy every need which the highest good demands.
- Eternal: so that this harmony of nature and freedom may never fail.
- These laws have led us, in virtue of their inner practical necessity, to the postulate of a self-sufficient cause.
- Practical reason has not attained to the immediate knowledge of God and cannot deduce from the idea of God the moral laws themselves.
- We cannot look at actions as obligatory because they are the commands of God, we regard them as divine commands because we have an inward obligation to them.
- Moral theology is thus of immanent use only.
Forward to Section 3: Opining, Knowing and Believing
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