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