18_kant - 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae...

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24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae Langton V. Kant 1. Background. Kant (1724-1804) was born and spent his life in Konigsberg, where he spent an intellectually eventful but physically uneventful life. His early writings were on philosophy of physics and astronomy (his 1755 work on a theory of the heavens predicted the existence of Uranus, later discovered by Herschel in 1881). He survived on a precarious income as Privatdozent, and did not receive a regular academic salary until 1770, when he was appointed to the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics. He is best known for his revolutionary Critique of Pure Reason (1781), and his ethics, of which the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals are a classic statement. 2. The good will It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will (4: 393). The good will is good in itself, unconditionally, regardless of its consequences, regardless of what it is accompanied by. This is true of nothing else, all other goods, whether qualities of temperament or gifts of fortune, being conditioned goods: they sometimes fail to be good, depending on their consequences, and depending on what they are accompanied by. Coolness and self-control can be useful to the good will, but also useful to an evil will, as in the ‘abominable’ coolness of a scoundrel (4: 394). Happiness likewise is good only when accompanied by the good will: when it can help the good will, rather than hinder it (e.g. through promoting arrogance); and when it is deserved. The good will is an unconditioned good, it is the only unconditioned good, and it is the condition of the goodness of other things. 3.
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course PHIL 201H1F taught by Professor Derekallen during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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18_kant - 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae...

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