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Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) [Paperback]

Immanuel Kant , Mary Gregor , Christine M. Korsgaard
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) 3.8 out of 5 stars (5)
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Book Description

23 April 1998 0521626951 978-0521626958
Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals ranks alongside Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as one of the most profound and influential works in moral philosophy ever written. In Kant's own words its aim is to search for and establish the supreme principle of morality, the categorical imperative. Kant argues that every human being is an end in himself or herself, never to be used as a means by others, and that moral obligation is an expression of the human capacity for autonomy or self-government. This edition presents the acclaimed translation of the text by Mary Gregor, together with an introduction by Christine M. Korsgaard that examines and explains Kant's argument.


Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (23 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521626951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521626958
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"This is a good translation of Kant's historically important though brief essay on the foundation of moral theory. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students." Choice

"The new translation by the late Mary Gregor of Kant's classic work on moral theory ought to become the standard edition for both ethics and Kant courses." Ethics

Book Description

Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most profound and influential works in moral philosophy ever written. This edition presents the acclaimed translation of the text by Mary Gregor, together with an introduction by Christine M. Korsgaard that examines and explains Kant's argument.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not great value 3 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
I'm not going to review Kant's philosophy here; this is a classic work whether you agree with his ideas or not. I will say that it's worth reading this before the Second Critique as it makes the latter a bit more approachable.

This edition is perfectly readable and the transalation seems reliable (I'm no expert). But given the cost of this book, and the fact that the text itself is only 66 pages, I'd expect something a bit better. Editorial footnotes are scarce and the introduction is OK but very brief. The paper is shiny and the text is crammed onto the pages with quite narrow margins, so compared with the Hackett editions it's hard to use if you like writing all over your texts and it's a bit tiring on the eyes. There's really no excuse for doing this with such a short, important work that's so expensive per page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough but rewarding 30 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
The 'Groundwork' is the seminal statement of Kant's moral theory -a short book, but nevertheless immensely rewarding. Kant is famed for being notoriously hard to read, and this book certainly live up to that impression. However, the introduction by Korsgaard provides the reader with a good impression of Kant's ethics before even having read the text, so that whilst reading it, one can see beyond the moments of philosophical jargon and grasp the theory which Kant is attempting to communicate.

It takes a while to digest Kant's work, but it is a short one, and it is up there with Mill's 'On Utilitarianism' and Aristotle's 'Nichomachean Ethics' as one of the few truly great texts of ethical philosophy.

Kant might be hard to tackle, but things which are testing and difficult are often the most gratifying, and worthwhile. Kant's philosophy is certainly tricky to begin with, but I think the initial difficulty of finding one's feet in Kantian ethical philsosophy is overcome by the magnitude of understanding gained by finding them.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very illuminating but requiring patience 6 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The first work I read of Kant's was Critique of Practical Reason, which was probably a mistake. Afterwards I read this and it helped me a great deal in understanding Kant's second critique and Critique of Pure Reason. The style is more sparkling then his three most well known works and requires less patience but saying that you still need to read some sentences five or six times.
I don't agree with everything dear old Immanuel states in this work particularly as he doesn't leave enough room for faith and he considers morality in the abstract far too much. But then again you cannot agree with a thinker 100% of the time; and I don't believe anybody could have made the strides in philosophy that he did. In my opinion it is better to start off with this work before attempting his critiques', but anyway good luck to you in whatever work of Kants you read because you will need it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Will to all Men 24 July 2011
Format:Paperback
This book argues that 'the only thing good in itself is a good will'. This contrasts with the idea that what makes an action good is its consequences rather than the intention behind it. Think of law, where we judge intentions more than results, though we can still be culpable for recklessness. Kant also develops the ideas of freedom (the will has to be free to be responsible for its intentions) and the content of duty, which he thinks is that the motive of an action is 'universal' (do as you would be done by).

Kant's arguments rest partly on aspects of common sense experience, but there is also a religious background, as our freedom makes us answerable to God, but this is not to the fore in this book: it only appears in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788). The Groundwork is part of Kant's 'critical project' where the idea of freedom is related to the idea that causality only determines 'appearances'. His ideas are controversial and their relation to the non-naturalistic critical project makes them difficult to grasp.

Alternative, more naturalist views on the nature of morality are those of John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism) and Aristotle (the pursuit of happiness and virtue, in the Nicomachean Ethics). Hegel in the Phenomenology of Spirit thought Kant's opposition of duty and inclination overstated, whilst others accept it. All these authors and texts are widely taught in Western philosophy classes and still have modern adherents.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure dogma 9 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
If you want to understand Kant's second Critique, the Critique of Practical Reason, you should read this first. However, this book is pure metaphysical dogma. It is an oxymoron, as it is translucent sophistry utilized to maintain the Christian foundations of free will, God, and onto-theological morals all wrapped up in faith.

The Critique of Pure Reason is the most difficult book I have read, the Groundwork is the most offensive book I have read. No wonder Gilles Deleuze called Kant the enemy.
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