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Lecture 14

PHILO-120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: A Priori And A Posteriori, Gang Of Youths, Consequentialism

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Intro to Philosophy
Fall 2018
Descartes Lecture 7 & Kant Lecture 1
Descartes on Science
“Natural Philosophy”
Questions on Descartes
Big Picture
Nature of the Mind
Proofs of God’s Existence
Kant Biography and Introduction
Kant’s ‘Big Ideas’
The world that we know does not exist independently of us, like Plato’s
intelligible world; our mind is responsible for the form and structure of the
In morality, we are not required to obey laws imposed by God or eternal
moral principles or Platonic forms: morality rests on a law that derives
from our own rational natures.
Why read the Groundwork?
Kant created a new way of thinking about morality.
Kant’s ethical thought has been historically influential.
The positions advanced in the Groundwork remain influential today.
A priori = independent of experience
Empirical = deprived from experience
Absolute necessity = applies to all beings at all times
Groundwork, Preface & 1
Point of the Groundwork
“A metaphysics of morals is … absolutely necessary , not merely on
grounds of speculation … but because morals themselves …”
Key Distinction
Acting in conformity with the moral law vs Acting from the moral law
Aim of the Groundwork
“The present groundwork … is nothing more than the identification and
corroboration of the supreme principle of morality … “ (4:392).
Method of the Groundwork
First two sections are analytic: that is, they analyze moral judgements in
order to show that they presuppose the supreme principle of morality
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