Kant - Lesson 1 - LESSON 1 Immanuel Kant: Grounding for the...

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LESSON 1 Immanuel Kant: Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals DALE JACQUETTE: Moral Rights, Obligations, and Responsibility pp. 265-7: Moral Philosophy Pay special attention as you read this section to the difference between ‘theoretical’ and ‘normative’ philosophy. Once you have read the text, give one example of a topic or question that each of these would discuss: Theoretical philosophy: Freedom Normative philosophy: Questions of value pp. 265-7: Kant’s Objections to Rationalism and Empiricism This section explains why Kant needed to conceive of ethics as a metaphysics, given the dual influences on his philosophy: rationalism and empiricism. The following section is going to describe the method he uses, both in his theoretical and normative philosophy, to develop such a metaphysics. It is important to keep in mind that Kant’s metaphysics is different from the metaphysics of his predecessors in so far that Kant grounds his metaphysics in human reason. The transcendental ground, a topic to be discussed in what follows, is determined by human reason. This way, Kant revolutionizes metaphysics by separating it from metaphysical assumptions that were largely a matter of faith (e.g. a divine will, or, as we saw in Plato’s philosophy, the transmigration of the soul). pp. 268-70: Metaphysics as a System of Synthetic A Priori Propositions <red hot: be sure you understand what’s going on in this section> Read the text first, then fill in the blanks below. What are the two principal tasks of Kant’s philosophical method? 1. Identify the specific kinds of judgments’ or beliefs that Philosophy must try to establish. 1
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2. Describe a way of justifying and discovering the particular kinds of judgments at which Which philosophy aims. To answer to the first of these tasks, Kant makes a distinction between a priori and a posteriori judgments. The second task is accomplished by the distinction between synthetic and analytic judgments. Terminology: a. judgment: used in the sense of a statement or proposition. What is judged, in this case, is the truth or falsity of the proposition: are the subject and the predicate combined in such a way that they produce a true statement? b. a priori : Latin for ‘from the first’. Also translated as ‘from the first principles’. An a priori judgment judges on the basis of higher principles, e.g. based on the principles of logic. E.g. if you know that all mammals have fur and you know that squirrels are mammals, you can deduce that all squirrels have fur. c. a posteriori : Latin for ‘from the latter’. Means that this kind of judgment is made only after the subject matter has been investigated, i.e. it is judgment that requires reliance to sensory experience. E.g. if you don’t already know what color an orange is, you have to find an orange and see for yourself. d.
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Kant - Lesson 1 - LESSON 1 Immanuel Kant: Grounding for the...

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