Kant Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals Section 2 Part I:
1. Why does Kant think that we may never discover with certainty actual cases of
people acting purely out of duty?
a. Always doubts as to whether what occurs has really been done from duty and
so has moral worth
b. Cannot be certain that some secret impulse of self-love, merely appearing as
the idea of duty, was not the actual determining cause of the will
i. We like to flatter ourselves with the false claim to a more noble
motive; but in fact we can never completely plumb the depths of the
secret incentives of our actions
ii. For when moral value is being considered, the concern is not with the
actions, which are seen, but rather with their inner principles, which
are not seen.
2. Explain Kant’s distinction between what he calls a “hypothetical imperative” and a
a. Hypothetical – the practical necessity of a possible action as a means for
attaining something else that one wants (or may possibly want).
i. Good as means to something else
b. Categorical – represents an action as objectively necessary in itself, without
reference to another end
i. good in itself and hence as necessary in a will which of itself conforms
to reason as the principle of will
3. Explain Kant’s critique of parents on p.25. What do parents “commonly neglect”,
according to Kant?
a. Kant says that since it cannot be known in early youth what ends may be
presented to us in the course of life, parents seek to have their children lean
many different kinds of things, and they provide for skill in the use of means
to all sorts of arbitrary ends