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The Critique of Practical Reason

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Critique of Practical Reason.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Immanuel Kant(Author),Thomas Kingsmill Abbott(Translator)

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Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher who is a central figure in modern philosophy. Kant argued that the human mind creates the structure of human experience, that reason is the source of morality, that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment, that space and time are forms of human sensibility, and that the world as it is "in-itself" is independent of man's concepts of it. Kant took himself to have effected a "Copernican revolution" in philosophy, akin to Copernicus' reversal of the age-old belief that the sun revolved around the earth. His beliefs continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political theory, and aesthetics. Politically, Kant was one of the earliest exponents of the idea that perpetual peace could be secured through universal democracy and international cooperation. He believed that this will be the eventual outcome of universal history, although it is not rationally planned. The exact nature of Kant's religious ideas continues to be the subject of especially heated philosophical dispute, as viewpoints are ranging from the idea that Kant was an early and radical exponent of atheism who finally exploded the ontological argument for God's existence, to more critical treatments epitomized by Nietzsche who claimed that Kant had "theologian blood"[10] and that Kant was merely a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christian religious belief, writing that "Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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  • By Guest on June 6, 2016

    I know this translation (pluher) and publisher (hackette) and thus the five stars (and of course six stars for kant)..however, i am writing this to warn against the kindle version linked to this edition. it is *not* the same as the paperback but a public domain translation from gutenberg. i don't know if it is as servicable/accurate as pluher's.

  • By Steven H Propp on February 4, 2017

    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a German philosopher who is perhaps the founder of "modern" philosophy, with his focus on epistemology (theory of knowledge); he wrote many books, such as The Critique of Pure Reason,Critique of Judgement,Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics,Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, etc.Kant wrote in the Preface of this 1788 book, “This work is called the ‘Critical Examination of Practical Reason,’ not of the PURE practical reason, although its parallelism with the speculative critique would seem to require the latter term… Its business is to show that there IS pure practical reason, and for this purpose it criticizes the entire practical FACULTY of reason. I fit succeeds in this, it has no need to criticize the pure faculty itself in order to see whether reason in making such a claim does not presumptuously overstep itself… With this faculty, transcendental FREEDOM is also established; freedom, namely, in that absolute sense in which speculative reason required it in its use of the concept of causality in order to escape the antinomy into which it inevitably falls, when in the chain of cause and effect it tries to think the UNCONDITIONED.”He outlines, “we know something by reason when we are conscious that we could have known it even if it had not been given to us in experience; hence rational knowledge and knowledge a priori are one and the same. It is a clear contradiction to try to extract necessity from a principle of experience… and to try by this to give a judgment true universality… universal assent does not prove the objective validity of a judgment… and although this universal assent should accidentally happen, it could furnish no proof of agreement with the object; on the contrary, it is the objective validity which alone constitutes the basis of a necessary universal consent. [Davie] Hume would be quite satisfied with this system of universal empiricism, for… he desired nothing more than that instead of ascribing any objective meaning to the necessity in the concept of cause, a merely subjective one should be assumed… in order to deny that reason could judge about God, freedom, and immortality… But even Hume did not make his empiricism so universal as to include mathematics. He holds the principles of mathematics to be analytical; and if he were correct, they would certainly be apodictic also… But if we adopt a UNIVERSAL empiricism, then mathematics will be included.” (Pg. 23-24)He states his famous “Categorical Imperative” [i.e., “Fundamental Law of the Pure Practical Reason”]: “Act so that the maxim of thy will can always at the same time hold good as a principle of universal legislation.” (Pg. 46) Later, he adds, “For example, let the matter be my own happiness. This (rule), if I attribute it to everyone … can become an OBJECTIVE practical law only if I include the happiness of others. Therefore, the law that we should promote the happiness of others does not arise from the assumption that this is an object of everyone’s choice, but merely from this, that the form of universality which reason requires as the condition of giving to a maxim of self-love the objective validity of a law, is the principle that determines the will.” (Pg. 51)He asserts, “David Hume … commenced the assault on the claims of pure reason, which made a thorough investigation of it necessary.” (Pg. 68-69) He adds, “As regards my own labors in the critical examination of pure reason, which were occasioned by Hume’s skeptical teaching, but went much further, and embraced the whole field of pure theoretical reason in its synthetic use, and, consequently, the field of what is called metaphysics in general; I proceeded in the following manner with respect to the doubts raised by the Scottish philosopher touching the notion of causality… It resulted… from my inquiries, that the objects with which we have to do in experience are by no means things in themselves, but merely phenomena… it can very well be conceived that, as phenomena, they maybe necessarily connected in one experience in a certain way… so that they could not be separated without contradicting that connection, by means of which this experience is possible in which they are objects, and in which alone they are cognizable by us. And so… I was able not only to prove the objective reality of the concept of cause in regard to objects of experience, but also to DEDUCE it as an a priori category by reason of the necessity of the connection it implied.” (Pg. 71-72)He suggests, “With this agrees very well the possibility of such a command as: Love God above everything, and thy neighbor as thyself… it is only PRACTICAL LOVE that is meant in that pith of all laws. To love God means… to like to do His commandments; to love one’s neighbor means to like to practice all duties towards him… That law of all laws, therefore, like all the moral precepts of the Gospel, exhibits the moral disposition in all its perfection, in which, viewed as an Ideal of holiness, is not attainable by any creature, but yet is the pattern which we should strive to approach, and in an uninterrupted but infinite progress become like to. In fact, if a rational creature could ever reach this point, that he thoroughly LIKES to do all moral laws, this would mean that there does not exist in him even the possibility of a desire that would tempt him to deviate from them…” (Pg. 104)He argues, “The realization of the summum bonum in the world is the necessary object of a will determinable by the moral law. But in this will the PERFECT ACCORDANCE of the mind with the moral law is the supreme condition of the summum bonum… Now the perfect accordance of the will with the moral law is HOLINESS, a perfection of which no rational being of the sensible world is capable at any moment of his existence… Now, this endless progress is only possible on the supposition of an ENDLESS duration of the EXISTENCE and personality of the same rational being (which is called the immortality of the soul). The summum bonum, then, practically is only possible on the supposition of the immortality of the soul; consequently this immortality … is a postulate of pure practical reasons…” (Pg. 147-148)He continues, “The same law must also lead us to affirm the possibility of the second element of the summum bonum, viz., Happiness proportioned to that morality… it must lead to the supposition of the existence of a cause adequate to this effect; in other words, it must postulate the existence of God, as the necessary condition of the possibility of the summum bonum…” (Pg. 150)He states another of his famous ethical principles: “in the order of ends, man… is AN END IN HIMSELF, that is, that he can never be used merely as a means by any (not even by God) without being at the same time an end also himself, that therefore HUMANITY in our person must be HOLY to ourselves… For this moral law is founded on the autonomy of his will, as a free will which by its universal laws must necessarily be able to agree with that to which it is to submit itself.” (Pg. 158)He asserts, “I find that the moral principle admits as possible only the conception of an Author of the world possessed of the HIGHEST PERFECTION. He must be OMNISCIENT, in order to know my conduct up to the inmost root of my mental state in all possible cases and into all future time; omnipotent, in order to allot to it fitting consequences; similarly, He must be omnipresent, eternal, etc. Thus the moral law, by means of the conception of the summum bonum as the object of a pure practical reason, determines the concept of the First Being as the SUPREME BEING, a thing which … the whole speculative course of reason was unable to effect. The conception of God, then, is one that belongs originally not to physics, i.e., to speculative reason, but to morals.” (Pg. 167-168)He famously concludes, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, and oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence.” (Pg. 191)While definitely not a work on the level of the Critique of Pure Reason, this is nevertheless a highly important work, and is very near to being “must reading” for any serious student of philosophy.

  • By Joe Johnson on June 7, 2012

    My hat is off to you if you can actually bring yourself to read this. It's beyond me. I found it mostly useless, but hey, Kant's one of the greats...right? So I guess maybe I'm the one who's crazy...

  • By FrKurt Messick on February 1, 2006

    The 'Critique of Practical Reason' is the second volume in Immanuel Kant's major Critique project. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is considered one of the giants of philosophy, of his age or any other. It is largely this book that provides the foundation of this assessment. Whether one loves Kant or hates him (philosophically, that is), one cannot really ignore him; even when one isn't directly dealing with Kantian ideas, chances are great that Kant is made an impact.Kant was a professor of philosophy in the German city of Konigsberg, where he spent his entire life and career. Kant had a very organised and clockwork life - his habits were so regular that it was considered that the people of Konigsberg could set their clocks by his walks. The same regularity was part of his publication history, until 1770, when Kant had a ten-year hiatus in publishing. This was largely because he was working on this book, the 'Critique of Pure Reason'. He then published this second installment, 'Critique of Practical Reason', seven years later.Kant as a professor of philosophy was familiar with the Rationalists, such as Descartes, who founded the Enlightenment and in many ways started the phenomenon of modern philosophy. He was also familiar with the Empiricist school (John Locke and David Hume are perhaps the best known names in this), which challenged the rationalist framework. Between Leibniz' monads and Hume's development of Empiricism to its logical (and self-destructive) conclusion, coupled with the Romantic ideals typified by Rousseau, the philosophical edifice of the Enlightenment seemed about to topple.The foundations of this text (a much briefer one than the first Critique) can be found in the short volume 'Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals'. Whereas 'Groundwork' sets out some short, basic principles, the Critique is a more synthetic text - it takes these principles and combines them with experiences, then presenting them 'as the structure of a peculiar cognitive faculty, in their natural combination.'According to translator and scholar Lewis White Beck, this second Critique has two functions - it affirms concepts 'without which moral experience would be unintelligible or impossible' while it negates dogmatism and fanaticism that claims unique ultimate insight into metaphysical realities. Kant does make his argument for the existence of the immortal soul and for God in this volume, but these are considered lesser areas of Kant's competence. His discussion of freedom and autonomy, carried forward from his discussion in 'Groundwork', is much more studied and used in today's philosophical circles.


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