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The Critique of Practical Reason

The Critique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant
By: (1724-1804)

The Critique of Practical Reason (Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) is the second of Immanuel Kant’s three critiques, first published in 1788. It follows on from his Critique of Pure Reason and deals with his moral philosophy. The second Critique exercised a decisive influence over the subsequent development of the field of ethics and moral philosophy, becoming the principle reference point for ethical systems that focus on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. Subsequently termed “deontological ethics”, Kant’s ethical system also laid the groundwork of moral absolutism, the belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, devoid of the context of the act.

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This eBook was prepared by Matthew Stapleton.

1788

THE CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON

by Immanuel Kant

translated by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott

PREFACE.

This work is called the Critique of Practical Reason, not of the pure practical reason, although its parallelism with the speculative critique would seem to require the latter term. The reason of this appears sufficiently from the treatise itself. Its business is to show that there is pure practical reason, and for this purpose it criticizes the entire practical faculty of reason. If it succeeds in this, it has no need to criticize the pure faculty itself in order to see whether reason in making such a claim does not presumptuously overstep itself (as is the case with the speculative reason). For if, as pure reason, it is actually practical, it proves its own reality and that of its concepts by fact, and all disputation against the possibility of its being real is futile.

With this faculty, transcendental freedom is also established; freedom, namely, in that absolute sense in which speculative reason required it in its use of the concept of causality in order to escape the antinomy into which it inevitably falls, when in the chain of cause and effect it tries to think the unconditioned... Continue reading book >>


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