Kant is not considered as one of the more accessible philosophers, and most of his monumental works are too long and beyond reach of an average reader. This short book is still fairly advanced and conceptually sophisticated, but fortunately due to its length it does not go much too deep in philosophical concepts. The book deals on several occasions with the central concept in Kant's moral philosophy, and that is the concept of categorical imperative. This imperative can be summed up in Kant's famous dictum: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." Several other famous Kant concepts - like practical reason, pure reason, treating humans like ends and not as means in moral considerations, etc. - are dealt with throughout the book. You might need to read the book several times before you get a better understanding of what is being discussed, but again, since it is so short, this can be easily done. The language of the translation sounds a bit archaic to the modern ear, but this does not obscure the meaning at all. Overall, reading this book would be a worthwhile endeavor and as good of a starting point to start reading Kant as they come.
on 21 April 2015
Book arrived promptly in perfect condition. I'm not sure I would rate this above Paton's translation. Paton was a sympathetic critic of Kant, who refreshingly gave him the benefit of the doubt in order to squeeze the most out of his sometimes poorly expressed thoughts. Paton's Kany's Metaphysics of Experience is an amazingly careful (and as I said sympathetic) weighing up of Kant's central dogmas.
As to the Metaphysic of Morals, this is a god way in to Kant, because it's central axioms are hard to refute. Can there be any moral worth whatsoever in actions which may ultimately be traced back to self interest? But then is the core of morality coldly indifferent to emotional motives?
on 13 May 2011
This work contains the backbone of Kant's most influential principle, the categorical imperative. This is essentially the notion that one should act with the intent that their action become a universal law. In essence, this is more to do with what cannot be a universal law, rather than what can. So therefore, false promises, loans that cannot be repaid, suicide, are all outlined by Kant as Maxim's that would destroy themselves.
Kant also gives a lengthy analysis of the importance of a good will, or good intent, as another cornerstone of his moral philosophy.
Immanuel Kant is perhaps the most influential philosopher of the modern era, and this work contains the principles from which many have borrowed, such as John Stewart Mill, and many have fiercely critiqued, such as Friedrich Nietzsche.
Despite its relatively short length, this is not an easy read as Kant elaborates upon the various points at some length, however it is nonetheless essential reading for any student of philosophy, or the social sciences.