Review Questions On The Groundwork Set 2

Second Section

1. After establishing in Section II that moral laws have to be given by reason alone, and that they must be taken as absolutely necessary in their force, Kant takes up the subject of imperatives. What is an imperative? How does Kant describe the difference between a categorical and an hypothetical imperative?

2. After spending a substantial amount of time distinguishing hypothetical and categorical imperatives, Kant gives what he calls “the single categorical imperative”. Recount and describe this first formulation of the Categorical Imperative (CI) put forward by Kant.

3. What unjustified “liberty” do transgressions of duty entail? How does someone who takes this liberty wind up in the same rational position as someone who asserts a contradiction?

4. What reasons does Kant give against attempting to derive the reality of the categorical imperative from human nature (or indeed, from any empirical consideration)?

5. In the course of giving his derivation of the reality of the categorical imperative, Kant develops a second formulation of CI (the “practical imperative”). Give this second formulation and explain the reasoning Kant gives in support of it.

6. Explain, in detail, Kant’s notion of a kingdom of ends. How is this notion intended to shed light on the previous two formulations of the categorical imperative? (Hint: Ask yourself in what respect Kant thinks we are subjects of the kingdom, and in what respect he thinks we are sovereigns.)

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