Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals  

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"It is in this manner, undoubtedly, that we are to understand those passages of Scripture also in which we are commanded to love our neighbour, even our enemy. For love, as an affection, cannot be commanded, but beneficence for duty's sake may; even though we are not impelled to it by any inclination- nay, are even repelled by a natural and unconquerable aversion. This is practical love and not pathological- a love which is seated in the will, and not in the propensions of sense- in principles of action and not of tender sympathy; and it is this love alone which can be commanded." -- Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals[1], tr.Thomas Kingsmill Abbott

"Duty! Wondrous thought, that workest neither by fond insinuation, flattery, nor by any threat, but merely by holding up thy naked law in the soul, and so extorting for thyself always reverence, if not always obedience; before whom all appetites are dumb, however secretly they rebel; whence thy original?" --Immanuel Kant (from Metaphysics of Ethics) , cited in in The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin

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The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals or Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, 1785), Immanuel Kant's first contribution to moral philosophy, argues for an a priori basis for morality. Where the Critique of Pure Reason laid out Kant's metaphysical and epistemological ideas, this relatively short, primarily meta-ethical, work was intended to outline and define the concepts and arguments shaping his future work The Metaphysics of Morals. However, the latter work is much less read than the Groundwork.

The Groundwork is notable for its explanation of the categorical imperative, which is the central concept of Kant’s moral philosophy.

The Groundwork is broken into a preface, followed by three sections. Kant's argument works from common reason up to the supreme unconditional law, in order to identify its existence. He then works backwards from there to prove the relevance and weight of the moral law. The third and final section of the book is famously obscure, and it is partly because of this that Kant later, in 1788, decides to publish the Critique of Practical Reason.


The categorical imperative

Categorical imperative

The categorical imperative is the centerpiece of the Groundwork. Although it may seem superficially similar to the Golden Rule, it is in no way equivalent. The Golden Rule demands that one's actions conform to one's own standard, whereas Kant's moral imperative places the standard for moral good in reason (directly contradicting Hume, who claimed reason could not be a ground for moral choices). He states that people should always be treated with respect to their personhood and dignity, and always as ends in themselves: they can be treated as a means and an end at the same time, but never only as a means. (Kingdom of Ends)

Consider the example of the liar. The Golden Rule allows that lying to others may be acceptable under some conditions, but the categorical imperative determines lying immoral without exception. This could be considered to be a flaw in the Golden Rule, one that is corrected by insisting, as Kant does, that actions must be universal to be moral and by insisting that morality cannot be merely a matter of preference or taste.

Kant expanded and elucidated these ideas further in some of his later works, primarily the Critique of Practical Reason (1788, informally referred to as his Second Critique), Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1793) and the Metaphysics of Morals (1797).


Maxim (philosophy)

In establishing the a priori rational basis for morality, Kant uses the notion of a maxim — a formulation of the subjective principle of volition or, in other words, a rule followed in any intentional act. Actions that have moral worth are determined to fall into one of the five formulations of the categorical imperative. Each one describes the universal law of morality somewhat differently, but they are merely intended to demonstrate different aspects of the one supreme and universal law.

A maxim is considered immoral if:

  1. it cannot be universalised without contradicting its own ends;
  2. its subjective content is such that it treats the humanity in oneself or others solely as a vehicle towards one's ends; or
  3. the subjective content of the maxim is inconsistent with the will making one's rational autonomy an object of respect.

Kant's Groundwork is concerned with explaining the purely formal (negative or limiting) aspects of his moral philosophy. Actions either have moral worth or they do not. At the time that he was writing, it was most important to establish what actions were morally unlawful — that is, what we ought not to do — before moving deeper into his theory.

Common sense of duty

Kant states that there is nothing "which can be regarded as good without qualification, except a good will." A good will is the moral compass that always seeks good: if an agent fails, it is not the fault of the good will but of the agent's ability to carry it out.

In the opening section, Kant explains what is commonly meant by moral obligations and duty. It is fairly common sense, he writes, not to consider moral an act done out of inclination for the self. A shopkeeper with honest prices does so foremost to be respected by his customers, not for the sake of honesty. He "deserves praise and encouragement, but not esteem." It is common knowledge that the people for whose good actions there is no reward are those who act most morally. Kant revises this in his declaration that they are the only people acting morally. We esteem a man who gives up his life because he gains nothing in doing so. "Duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the [moral] law." Thus, to follow the moral law, the intrinsic sense of right and wrong, is our greatest obligation.

Four cases of ethical action

In the Groundwork, Kant outlines four possible cases in which a decision is carried out in respect of duty:

  • Case One involves actions that are contrary to duty (such as stealing);
  • Case Two involves actions that are dutiful but done only because of fear of penalty or sanction (such as paying taxes);
  • Case Three involves actions that accord with duty but which the agent is already inclined towards because it is pleasurable in some way (such as a labour of love); and
  • Case Four involves actions that accord with duty but are contrary to inclination (such as not committing suicide, despite being in unbearable distress)

Examples of moral conduct used in the Groundwork

In order to illustrate his philosophy, Kant uses four examples of what he considers immoral conduct throughout the Groundwork:

  1. One who is sick of life and contemplating suicide;
  2. One who wants to make a false promise so as to secure a loan that he does not intend to repay;
  3. One who does not wish to pursue a special talent that may benefit society; and
  4. One who is financially secure but does not donate to charity.

On the Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns

Published as a supplement to the Groundwork, On the Supposed Right to Lie because of Philanthropic Concerns examines again the example of lying. Let us determine if, according to Kant's contradiction test, this behaviour is immoral. If the behaviour leads to a contradiction (that is, if it is internally incoherent or cannot be willed by an agent), the behaviour is immoral. Lies only work in an overall environment of truthfulness. The liar still wants everyone else to tell the truth, since, if everyone were to lie, no one would believe anything that anyone said, and lies would no longer be effective. Thus, we cannot will that our subjective maxim of lying be universalised without self-contradiction: if everyone were to behave thus, such behaviour would not work. Therefore, in Kant's system, lying is immoral.

For further normative interpretation of these examples see categorical imperative

Kant's argument: autonomy and freedom

Why should we want to act morally? That is, why should we will in a rationally consistent manner? Why can one not make an exception of oneself and one's case? Kant's arguments stem from his concept of freedom. He argues that the very idea of morality, the limiting of oneself from engaging in certain behaviours because they are "immoral", is the highest expression of the concept of freedom.

Freedom here refers to liberty from the influence of external forces (external to reason). If an agent is influenced by want of an object or fame or revenge, or for any other reason, Kant believes that he is not free: he is beholden to these outside influences, which state Kant labels heteronomy.

To Kant, freedom also means adherence to the moral law, having one's will determined not, as above, externally but by its own decision. The state of being free is the state of the will being autonomous, literally, in the state of "giving the law to oneself":

Autonomy of the will is the property that the will has of being a law to itself (independently of any property of the objects of volition)

This can be contrasted with:

If the will seeks the law that is to determine it anywhere but in the fitness of its maxims for its own legislation of universal laws, and if it thus goes outside of itself and seeks this law in the character of any of its objects, then heteronomy always results.

If one wishes to be autonomous, one must not be compelled to act by external influences but instead by one's own mind and rational thoughts. One such logical principle is the law of non-contradiction. P and not P (P and ~P) cannot exist simultaneously. Similarly, the snow is either white or not white; it cannot be both white and not white at the same time.

To act rationally is to abide (at least) by the law of non-contradiction, not willing that something be both true and false simultaneously. Thus, if an agent engages in any behaviour that is not governed by rational thought (i.e., is being irrational), he is influenced by external forces and is beholden to them. Immorality, then, is simply and deeply irrational. To be unfree is to have abandoned one's rational faculties. If, by contrast, one's behaviour is governed by rational thought, and is thus not contradictory, it is permissible.

Not all forces external to the will are external to the person, however. Inclinations such as greed and anger can be part of a person but are still external to the will. This is a clear example in which Kant's view of freedom differs from the opposite view, of the freedom to do what one wants. When consumed by anger, people desire to do certain things but, once the haze has cleared, often realise that that desire was for something immoral and that they were driven by factors external to their will. Inclinations, then, sometimes enslave us. Kant's theory of freedom is one of the few that take this into account.

Kant and simple utilitarianism

Kant does not encourage acting in order to attain happiness. Such actions "[...] can also be extremely bad and hurtful [...] power, wealth, honour, even health and that complete well-being and contentment with one's state which goes by the name of 'happiness.'" A rational agent will pursue happiness when on reflection the categorical imperative recommends happiness, but not as a foundational goal in itself.

Although happiness is not frowned upon, no action should be directed toward it. "[E]very rational being [...] exists as an end in himself, not merely as a means for arbitrary use." Rationality deserves what Kant calls an end, "a subjective ground of its self-determination.". It would seem that Kant advises us to ignore ourselves and consider only the situation of others. This is not true. Kant says that happiness should not be our goal, but he also says we should respect moral agents. We ourselves are moral agents with a capacity for happiness and it is our duty as rational agents to pursue happiness so long as it does not interfere with other duties. The sophisticated Utilitarian theories on the other hand do recommend what appears to be an entirely selfless moral agent.

This is all true, except... Kant writes, "A man even has an indirect duty to seek happiness. The more he is troubled by the burdens of anxiety and need, the more he may be tempted to fail in his duty. Even apart from duty, everyone has the most fundamental urge to be happy, since the idea of happiness more or less sums up in our minds the satisfaction of all our desires, cares, and needs." Section 1, Chp 3, part 1b. Although Kant may claim utilitarianism is not sufficient, he also admits in this work at the end that his own foundations are lacking as well. The Empiricists assert that the words good and evil are nothing other than pleasure and pain (See Locke, Bentham, Hume, Spinoza, etc...), to assert negatively that Kant would encourage an action that would lead to a greater amount of pain would be absurd, as this would be going against nature itself. As the first rule of the categorical imperative was "1. Always act on a maxim which you can will to become a universal law of Nature", to seek pain (evil) rather than pleasure(good) would break this first rule.

Critical reaction

In his book On the Basis of Morality (1840), Arthur Schopenhauer presents a careful analysis of the Groundwork. His criticism is an attempt to prove, among other things, that actions are not moral when they are performed solely from duty. Schopenhauer specifically targeted the Categorical Imperative, labelling it cold and egoistic. While he publicly called himself a Kantian, and made clear and bold criticisms of Hegelian philosophy, he was quick and unrelenting in his analysis of the inconsistencies throughout Kant's long body of work.

See also

Full text (Semple translation)











J. W. SEMPLE, Advocate.





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M.DCCC.XXXVI. '\ ^ y"^ ,

3 ■


Printed by Thomas Allah & Company,

265 High Street.


List of Kant's Works,


Explanation of Terms,


L On the Forms of Phenomena,

II. On the System of the Categories,

III. On the Ideas of Reason,


IV. On the Moral Law and Summum Bonum,

V. On the Falsehood of every other System,










Chapter I. Transit from the Common Notions of Mora- lity to the Philosophical, ... 1

Chapter II. Transit from Common Moral Philosophy to

the Metaphysic of Ethics, . . 18

Autonomy of Will is the Supreme Principle of Moralit y^ 59

Chapter III. Transit from the metaphysic of Ethics to

an Inquiry into the a priori Operations of the Will, 61 The Idea Freedom explains that of Autonomy, . ib.


^..JvKFreedom must be postulated as the Property of the Will

of every Intelligent whatsoever, . .63

Of the Interest attaching to the Idea of Morality, . 64 How is a Categorical Imperative possible ? . . 70^

Of the extremest Verge of all Practical Philosophy, . 73


Chapter IV. Analytic of the Principles of Practical

Reason, . . . . 85

§ I. Exposition of the notions — Principle, Rule, Max- im, Law, . . . . ib. § 2. Position I. Every material principle whatsoever is

a /)o*^mon, and so can beget NO practical LAW, 88 § 3. Position 2. All material practical principles, how different soever, agree in this, that they belong to ONE AND THE SAME SYSTEM, whether distinguish- ed or disguised by the names of Epicureanism, EuDAiMONisM, Benthamry or Utilitarianism, and rest on self-love, ... 89

iote I. On the distinction betwixt the higher and low- er powers of Will, ... 90 Note 2. On the problem — Happiness, . . (94 ^ § 4. Position 3. Under what condition maxims and laws

stand, ..... 97

Note. Contains an example illustrative,. . ib.

— ^5§ 5. The Will's Freedom demonstrated, . 99

•»>v§ 6. On the Hypothesis that a Will is Free to assign a

Formula for the law regulating its causality, 100

§ 7. The required Formula found, . . 102

§ 8. Wherein the Ethical Nature of Man consists, 105

Notes 1 and 2. Of Autonomy and Heteronomy, 106, 108

Tabular View of every possible false System of

Ethic, 113



Chapter V. On the a priori Spring of the Will, 116

-t^ Chapter VI. Farther explanation of the Will's Causal

Freedonn, • • • '



Preface, Introduction,

165 171-250




Of the Duties owed by Man to himself.— Introduction, 253-290 Apotome I. Of the Duties of Strict and Determinate Obligation, • • • *

Chapter I. Of the Vices opposed to the Duty owed

by Man to himself as an AnimcU, . »h*

(A.) Self-Murder. (B.) Self-Defilement. (C.) "Seif^bstupefaction. Chapter II. Of the Vices opposed to the Duty owed by Man to himself as a Moral Being

. , 266

smgly, ...•*""

(A.) Lying. (B.) Avarice. (C.) False Humility. Chapter III. Of Conscience : and the Duty owed

by Man to himself as constituted his own Judge, 277 Of the first Commandment of Con- science — Self-Examination, 281 Episode. Of an Amphiboly of certain Reflex

Moral Notions, . • • ~®^

Apotome II. Of the Duties of Lax and Indeterminate^

Obligation, .... 286

I. Of Physical Perfection, . • »b.

II. Of Moral Perfection, . • 288




Of the Duties owed to Others. )Av Apotome I. Of the Duty owed to others considered ^^ simply as Men, .... 291

Chapter I. Of the Offices of Charity, - ib.

(A.) Beneficence. (B.) Gratitude. (C.) Sym- pathy, . . . 297 Chapter II. Of the Vices contrary to Charity.

(A.) Envy. (B.) Ingratitude. (C.) Malice, 304

Apotome II. Of the Duty of Reverence, , . 312

(A.) Pride. (B.) Detraction. (C.) Sneering, ib.


Of the Union of Love with Reverence in Friendship, 317

Appendix : On the Social Virtues, . . 322


Apotome I. Ethical Didactics, . . . 327

Apotome II. The Ascetic Exercise of Ethics, . ib.

Conclusion of the Metapkysic of Ethics, . 340

TRANSLATOR'S APPENDIX. On Rationalism and Supra- Rationalism, . . 349


I. Critik der reinen Vernunft ; that is, Inquiry into the Reach and Extent of the a priori Operations of the Human Understanding ; first published at Riga in 1781j^

II. In 1783, Kant published a defence of the Critik, entitled Metaphysical Prolegomena. At the same time the first part of the Ethics appeared, under the title of Grundlegung zur Me- taphysik der Sitten ; i. e. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Ethics. Both works have been translated into English : the first by Mr Richardson in 1819 ; the second by an anonymous writer, who published two miscellaneous volumes in 1799, under the title of Kant's Essays. The work of Mr Richardson is to be had at any bookseller's. The Essays are apparently ren- dered by a foreigner, and printed abroad, although graced with a London title-page. The only copy of this Miscellany I have ever been able to procure, is the copy in the Advocates' Library. No translation of any other part of Kant's Philosophy has hither- to been attempted in this country.

III. In 1786, The Metaphysic of Physics. Tliis expounds the metaphysical foundations of natural philosophy.

IV. In 1788, Critik der Praktischen Vernunft; that is. Inquiry into the a priori Functions and Operations of the Will, or, as we might say, a Dissertation on the Active and Moral Powers of Man. This is the superstructure "reared upon'Hie groundwork. It treats of the Causality and Spring of the Will, and of the Sum- mum Bonum. Three chapters of this work will be found in the following sheets, under the title of Inquiry into the a priori Ope- rations of the Will.

V. Critik der Urtheilskraft, at Berlin, in 1790 : which is a Dis- sertation on the Emotions of Beauty and Sublimity, and on the Adaptation of the Material Universe to itself, and to the Logical Functions of the Human Intellect.


VI. In 1796-97, there appeared the Metaphysic of Ethics — a work which bears evident traces of the great age of the author. He died seven years afterwards, at the advanced age of eighty. In translating this book I have derived great assistance from the Latin translation of Konig^^ ^Z?^» ^^^ ^^°™ *^^ French version ofM. Tissot, 1833.

These six works constitute all that in strict propriety of speech can be called Kant's St/stem of Philosophy,

In intimate connection with this system, however, stand —

VII. His Theory of Religion. Religion innerhalb der Gran- zen der reinen Vernunft, Konigsberg, 1793.

VIII. Der Srreit der Facultiiten, Konigsberg, 1798.

These two works contain the eerm of the Rationalism of Germany. ts*.-^


IX. Anthropologic, 1799.

The extreme abstruseness and difficulty of Kant's specula- tions afforded ample room for the ingenuity of commentators, who with various success have alternately elucidated and dark- ened the text. Some comments are mere catch-pennies and bare-faced impositions on the public. Others may be consult- ed with great advantage. The best expositions are those of Beck, Kiesewetter, and Buhle.* To their labours I have been much indebted in preparing the Synopsis of the Critik prefixed to this version of the Ethic. I have taken from them, without scruple, whatever seemed needful for my purpose.

  • Beck, Einzig-moglicher Standpunkt zur Beurtheilung der Critiscben

Philosophie, Riga, 17&6. Kiesewetter, Darstellung der wichtigsten Wahrheiten der Kritischen

Philosophie, Berlin, r. y. Buhle, Entwuif der Transscendental Philosophie, Gottingen, 1798, re- produced in the eighth volume of his History of Philosophy, 1804.







To REPRESENT— REPKESENTATioN is a general expression used

to denote any state of mind whatsoever. A REPRESENTATION, combined with consciousness, is called


Consciousness is the permanent representation I— myself.

This I is just the intellect — the power of self-represen- tation is understanding.

All PERCEPTIONS are either subjective or objective.

Whatever holds or is valid only for ray own private indivi- dual subject, is subjective.

Whatever is universally-valid is objective.


or FEELING {Conf. Met. Eth. p. 172 in not.)

An objective perception is called knowledge.

A singular perception is called an i ntuition ( Anschau- ung)*

An universal perception is called a thought, notion, or conception, sometimes idea.

Knowledge is compounded of singulars and universals ; it is however called either intuitive or discursive, according as it mainly rises on the former, e. g. Geo- metry, or on the latter, e. g. Logic.

Singulars are perceived by sense.

Universals are perceived by the understanding.

  • For anschauen, to have a sikgul^r pebceftion. The Trans-

lator begs leave to propose the word to envisage.


The sensory (Sinnlichkeit) is our susceptibility of receiving IMPRESSIONS or SENSATIONS, and of CONVERTING these into INTUITIONS. As soon as an impression is spread OUT and arranged in space and time, it is intuition. This arrangement is the work of fancy : our receptive part then divides itself into two branches — the senses, whether external or internal, and imagination.

Understanding is the power of dealing with universals, and is divided into reason, judgment, and the under- standing strictly so called. To raise universals out of singulars, is the office of the


To subsume a singular under its corresponding univer- sal, is the work of judgment.

To SYLLOGIZE, i. c. to know by the intervention of an uni- versal or PRINCIPLE (the major), i. e. to conclude upon GROUNDS,* is the province of reason.

But this distinction is merely Formal or Logical. All these operations are functions of one and the same intellect. There is no material difference; and, for the most part, it is optional whether we speak of intel- lect— ^I— consciousness REASON understand- ing — powers of THOUGHT, ot the cognitive fa- culty. The difference, however, betwixt singulars and universals is not only formal, but material too. It may be otherwise expressed, by saying that we have the power of becoming aware of things, and of the rules of things. Perceiving or being aware of a thing, is an incomplex representation, i. e. is a singular, or intuition of sense.

" What is understood upon latt gKtunds, we are said to comfrehemd.


The rule of a thing is its universal, i. e. is the notion of it framed by the understanding. Thus, from the intuition of singular trees, dogSi stars, 8fc. the under- standing ABSTRACTS a GENERAL RULE applicable tO

all dogs, trees, stars, 8^. whatsoever. Thus the ab- stract notion of a DOG, or of a triangle, is nothing more than a rule I am aware of, directing me how to proceed in drawing a particular quadruped or figure infancy, or on paper.

When a universal represents a genus, it is called a general notion.

Perceptions originated by the mind itself, are said to be a parte priori ; those not so,~a posteriori.

Singulars a priori, are the intuitions — space and time,

Universals a, priori are the twelve categories of the un- derstanding, the eight reflex-notions of the judgment, and the three ideas of reason.*

The categories are, l.ofQUANTiTY or extension — unity, plu- rality, totality -^ 2. those of quality or inten- sity — reality, negation, limitation; 3. of sub- stance — substance, cause, re-action ; 4. of mo- dality — possibility, existence, necessity.

The eight reflex notions of the judgment are, 1. identity and


outward and inward ; 4. matter and form.

• There are, therefore, in Kant's system, twknty-five a priori kk- PRESENTATioNS, or,includingconsciousness — the I — twenty-six. They are all produced by the cog it akt himself. Kvery other perception HE gets acquainted with by experience and observation.

•\ From LOGIC, we know that every phoposition is determined all at[once in relation 'to four cardinal points of judoino, (Whate- ly's Logic, p. 67, 68. fifth eA), viz. 1. ocantitt, 2. auALiTV, 3. sub- stance, and 4. modality : and farther (Fries, SyUem der Logik, 1819, p. 133 et scq.\ that quantity respects the subject — quality, the predicate — substance, the copula — and modality, the certainty of the judgment. Each copula depends upon a particular function of


From the conditioned, reason advances to the uncondition- ed.* The representing of a last ground, is possible only by an idea. An idea is, therefore, always the re- presentation of a MAXIMUM or SUMMUM GENUS.f ThE

IDEAS are, the soul, the world, God.

sYKTHEsis, the abstract general notion of which synthesis is what is called by Kant a category. Thus, in regard of substance, the co- PULA of a categorical proposition is the substantive, or it may be its AUXILIARY verbs — MAY, MUST, IS ; that of a hypothetic is the illative PARTICLES — IF, THEN ; that of a disjunctive, the disjunctive con- junctions — EITHER, OR: the general notions of which various copulce give the categories substance, causality, be-action. We shall con- fine ourselves to the copula of conditional judgments, which has an ilia- five force, the notion of which illative force is just the notion of the neces- sary nexus or synthesis cogitated in the category causality. Whately (p. 108,) has these words : " A conditional proposition has in it an illative force, i. e. it contains two, and only two, categorical propositions, where- of one results from the other {or follows from the other). • • • That from which the other results is called the antecedent, that which results from it the consequent," &c. Now this notion of resulting, of following from an antecedent, is precisely that notion of necessary connection which Hume called in question, and which is understood by the word cause. And so. mutatis mutandis, of all the other categories or no- tions of intellectual synthesis.

• What falls beyond time and space is said to be transcendent ; what not so, immanent.

-f- The following quotation from Beck's Logik, p. 6, may serve to clear up the nature of this function of reason. " We divert our attention now from THINGS, and direct it solely to the understanding, and we be- come conscious of its laws when we carefully watch its operations. We find that we can become conscious of rules apart from any present per- ception of the THING itself. This is therefore the frst activity of the understanding. I. The understanding, in this part, displays itself as the power of notions. We find, secondly, II. That we can subsume a thing under such a cogitated rule, and that we are then conscious that it really and truly falls under this rule, or the reverse. Lastly, III. Where there are many such singular truths, we become convinced all at once and on a sudden, of the universality of the truth. Such a universal truth serves afterward to enable us to recognise (by syllogism) an indefinite va- riety of singular truths. There are therefore in all three functions of


Every universal is a rule. If the notion be a priori, such RULE a priori, is what is called a law.*

The terms relating to the practical or active powers are ex- plained in the Metaphysic of Ethics, p. 171, et seq. of this Translation. It may, however, be worth while to add, that although the will is practical reason it- self, yet in a wider sense the will is used, as in com- mon conversation, for the whole appetitive facul- ty. A remarkable instance of this is found at p. 36, where (line 2d) Kant gives a definition of will appli- cable to any kind of will whatever, even to the divine will, and in the rest of the paragraph uses the word WILL as it is taken in common parlance.

Maxims often mean in English proverbial sayings ; but in the following pages the word stands for rules of CONDUCT deliberately adopted by an agent-intelli- gent {regulcB quae inter maximas liaberi debent). The rule is regarded as having subjective- validity only, it is therefore no practical law of deportment. Hence we saj'

Maxim is the subjective principle of volition.

Propensity {Hang) is the subjective ground of desire ; in- stinct is the physical feeling of a want.

the understanding ; these give rise to notion, judgment, or particular knowledge, and universal or general knowledge : the notion is ascribed to the understanding in its most limited sense, particular knowledge to the judgment, and universal knowledge to reason." (^uhVe, Geschichte d. Philosophic, torn, viii.) " Reason, then, is that faculty by which the mind rises from any given judgment or conception to a still higher judg- ment or conception, and so on backwards till it arrive at that ultimate conception beyond which nothing farther can be cogitated. This process of generalization leads eventually to the notion of a Summum Genus, be- yond which reason cannot go. Such a Summum Genus is an idea, and the representation of a maximum; and in stopping at such perception, rea- son arrives at the unconditioned and absolute, as the ne plus ultra of all abstraction and generalization."

" A universal representing the genus law would be called the no- tion of LAW in genere.


Transcendental philosophy is the doctrine of the possibi- lity oi a priori knowledge ; a perception is there- fore TRANSCENDENTAL, not merely when it is apriori, but when it serves to explain the origin of some apri- ori science. Thus SPACE and time are called trans- cendental representations, when, by the theory of their being intuitions apriori, we understand how geometry and algebra arise. In the same way free- dom is a transcendental idea, for by its means the origin of the moral law, which is a synthetical a priori proposition, is understood, i. e. compre- hended,

METAPHYSic,ybr»j«% considered, is transcendental philo- sophy.

Metaphysic, materially considered, is the science by which the UNDERSTANDING passes from its knowledge of the SENSIBLE to a knowledge of the supersensible.

Ethic, formally considered, is the science of the ground whereon the moral law obliges (chap. iii. of the Groundwork).

Ethic, materially considered, is thr? doctrine of the system of the ends whereunto the law obliges (i. e. morals).

Morals, therefore, is ethic materially considered (p. 210, et seq.).



OF METAPHYSIC FORMALLY CONSIDERED. (^Critik der reinen Vermmft.)



De nobis ipsis sileraus ; de re autem, quae agitur, petimus, ut homi- nes earn non Opinionem sed Opus esse cogitent ; ac pro certo habeant, non Sectse nos alicujus, aut Placiti, sed utilitatis et amplitudinis bumanse fundamenta moliri. Eeinde ut suis commodis sequi in commune con- sulant, et ipsi in partem veniant. Praeterea, ut bene sperent, neque Instaurationem nostram ut quiddam infinitum et ultra mortale fingant, et animo concipiant, quum revera sit infiniti eiToris finis et terminus legitimus.



Shortly after the Great Advancer of Learning -A4^ had swept from its Halls the cobweb and vermiculate ^'^^<\i^^_\ , questions of the Schoolmen — England, now at length ^ e^*^^ disenthralled from the encumbrance of those Stygian Sophisters, found herself at leisure to bring forth and offer to the notice of the world new Systems and new Sciences of her own. These she owed to the Genius of a Newton and a Locke ; and the Principia, the Method of Fluxions, the elegant Theory of Light and Colours, together with the Book of Ideas, were the first fruits of this regained Freedom.

The highly flattering reception given to the " Book of Ideas," was owing partly to the native interest this inquiry has, partly to the sifting discernment of the writer, but principally to the method of investigation he pursued. The English were gratified by consider-


ing the Essay on the Understanding as a fresh shoot of the Baconian Induction, and of that new style in philosophy which was altogether insular, and which Sic Isaac had just cultivated so successfully. Locke's work was held and reputed quite a domestic and na- tional system ; and, contrasting the clearness and lu- cidness of his language with the strange and deformed jargon* usually employed on such topics, his country- men received it with enthusiasm and applause ; and, under a great variety of modifications, it still asserts the rank of the chief and principal authority in Bri- tish speculations. The work was carried by Condillac into France, where it continued for a long time after, in such esteem, that we find its author styled by Vol- taire the only philosopher who had arisen since the days of Plato.

The system of Locke was keenly contested by Leibnitz, whose controversy with Sir Isaac Newton as to the invention of the Calculus, as well as his dis- putes with DrClarke, had introduced him to thenotice of the learned in this country ; controversies, about which the Elector of Hanover, now become King of Great Britain, and naturally interested for his country- man, was pleased frequently to inquire. Owing to some such circumstances as these, we became pretty well acquainted with the theory of the monads, and the

  • Technicalities, alas I that tlevgi? can be separated from any

formal metaphysic.


doctrine of the pre-established harmony ; but, since a narrative of the revolutions in philosophical opinion is of value only in so far as it serves to explain the circumstances from which the system of Kant took its rise, it would be quite beside the purpose to tarry upon matters so antiquated and exploded as the dreams of Leibnitz. Suffice it to say, that two of the principles introduced by Leibnitz into his speculations, as explanatory of the phenomena of thought, were, the principle of the suffic ient reason, and the principle o f contradiction ; two positions taken afterwards by Wolf into his protection, and which continued to constitute, for more than half a century, the ground- work of the tenets held by philosophers in Germany. But while in Europe the schools were long regard- ed as one source of the current of opinion, the church had from time immemorial been regarded as in pos- session of another, till, about the middle of the last century, the continued march of investigation indu- ced the Protestant Church in Germany to abandon its opinion of inspiration, as incapable of defence.* With the loss of this ancient and most venerable dogma, the creed of the church fell, and with it there passed away and vanished to oblivion every part of that speculative theology which the labour of ages had been exhausted in erecting and supporting.

  • St'audlin. Geschichte d. Rationalismus und Supernatura-

lismus. Gottingen, 1826, p. 133-4.


In Britain the attitude of public opinion was dia- metrically opposed to that assumed in Germany ; for when, about the same time, Locke's system had grown in the hands of Berkeley into the most fantastical and extravagant idealism, and its insufficiency had become still more apparent, by Hume's showing, on the in- ductive method^ that we had no such notions as cause and power i our public, more inclined by their open maritime situation to active habits than to specu- lation, became disgusted with all inquiries of the Schools, and Metaphysics fell, as absurd, under con- tempt.

Again, as the Anglican establishment had ably sup- ported the Divine authority on which the church af- firms itself to be based,* when our ingenious country- man, Mr Hume, contrived to raise his doubts as to the notions cause and power, and even urged his scepticism to the extent of calling in question the fu- ture existence of the soul, and the moral government of the world, those who were bewildered by the subtlety of the schools, eagerly sought refuge in that other source of opinion, the church ; and it was even argued, that this visible weakness and frailty of the hu- man powers afforded an extra ground for distrusting the light of reason, and hastening to follow a guide which claimed to be Divine.

  • The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated, by William

Warbiirton. The Analogy of Revealed to Natural Religion, by Joseph Butler.


This fundamental dissimilarity betwixt the posture of opinion in Germany and at home, enables us to understand why a thorough reply was given to Hume in Germany, while no effective answer was ever fur- nished by his countrymen : for while Germany was distracted with the most opposite, unsatisfactory, and shallow disputes,* and the school of Wolf, resting on the postulates advanced by Leibnitz, alone pos- sessed sufficient independence to deserve the name of a philosophy, the books of Mr Hume began to gain a hearing, and the astonished followers of Wolf saw all at once, in the attack upon cause and effect, their system, which rested on the principle of the suf- ficient reason, struck at, and shaken from the foun- dation.

Accordingly, the footstep of " deliberate doubty' trod with far more destroying violence, among the Teutonic systems of opinion, than it did elsewhere ; there was absolutely nothing to oppose to it. The understanding, scathed and defenceless, had neither prop nor stay on which to rest. The abysses of unreason yawned for it from beneath. There was in Germany no system, whether human or divine, of sufficient potency to fill up the chasm — no metaphy- sic Curtius, as yet, to dash into the gap.

In such crises, master-minds usually arise; nor could the great interests of man, the independency

  • Mainly started at the Court of Frederick the Great.


and freedom of his will, the immortality of his think- ing part, and the supremacy of ordet and design, to the exclusion of chance and mechanic fate, in the frame-work and constitution of the universe, he re- signed without a desperate conflict.

After thirty years of elaborate cogitation, Kant ap- peared in support of these great interests of man, and gave to the world the most magnijficent and su- blime attempt it ever saw, in his Inquiry into the Reach and Extent of the a priori Operations of the Human Mind.

Kant had remarked, that the system of Locke, which ascribed the origin of all our perceptions to the action of the senses and to reflection, laboured under the most glaring defects ; and even Locke seems to have been in part aware of this : for it is highly im- portant to remark, that Locke himself acknowledges that he cannot account for the origin of the notion SUBSTANCE ;* and for that reason he puts off his reader by calling it an obscure expression, employed to denote something unknown. But the candid theo- rist might have applied the same remark to the no- tion CAUSE, and, in fact, to any other necessary per- ception of the mind. This Hume detected ; and, pro-

  • Book II. chap. xxii. § 2, and book I. ch. iv. § 18. I confess

there is another idea, which would be of general use for man- kind to have ; as it is, of general talk, as if they had it : and that is the idea substance, which we neither have, nor can have, by sensation or reflection.


ceediiig upon Mr Locke's principles, he showed, that by the way of observation and experience, no notion of causality could be formed, and hence inferred the representations cause and power to be fantastical. But since it is certain and undoubted that all man- kind have notions both of substance and causa- tion, a system not accounting for their origin, however praiseworthy and ingenious it otherwise may be, does not satisfy the demands a complete and exact ana- lysis of the mind must answer.

Finding that the phenomena of mind could not be explained upon the inductive method, Kant esta- blished a new postulate, which he advanced as the basis and groundwork whereon his whole system rested ; and this fundamental proposition, if admitted, is sufficient to carry us through every stage of the ar- gument. It is a principle pervading the most remote and apparently detached parts of this system, and gives coherence to every link in the chain of rea- soning.

This weighty postulate is — " What truth soever is necessary, and of univer- sal extent, is derived to the mind from its own ope- ration, and does not rest on observation and expe- rience ; as, conversely, what truth or perception soever is present to the mind, with a consciousness, not of its necessity, hut of its contingency, is ascrib- able not to the origifial agency of the mind itself,


hut derives its origin from observation and expe* rience."

And here it is of importance to observe, that an in- quiry, conducted on this principle, is, in the strictest sense of the words, that inquiry into the mind, on the principles of common sense, attempted, but not suc- ceeded in, by our Scotch Psychologists. The common sense of mankind, if any thing at all, is the aggre- gate of those sentiments and opinions, which, by the constitution and frame-work of his mind, man must necessarily and inevitably hold. Upon this account, common sense is that whereon all men in all ages are agreed ; and which, however darkly, they represent to themselves as the common notices of reason. Consi- dered from this station, it is indeed the strongest and most fatal objection that can be urged against any speculative system, to say that it is subversive of com- mon sense ; for, in other words, that is just asserting that the system militates against the necessary and immutable laws of thought. Common sense, then, so far from being lost sight of by Kant, is the very soul and principle of his investigation ; and this I point at those who talk of the " tremendous apparatus of the German school :" and pronounce his system the most plain downright common sense ever uttered.

Bearing then in mind the foregoing postulate, let us see what it is employed to solve. The matter to be explained is the origin and constitution of knowledge a priori ; an inquiry into the origin of the a priori


sciences being, in effect, just an inquiry into those a priori functions of thought whereby science has been brought about.

But this great object of investigation, in short, the stating of the " general question of the Critique^ it may be as well to express in the words of Kant him- self.

Every truth expressed in a judgment is either NECESSARY or CONTINGENT ; and again, farther, all JUDGMENTS are either analytic or synthe- tic. Thus, " in every judgment into which the rela- tion of subject and predicate can enter, that relation must be constituted in one of two ways. Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A, as something already contained, though covertly, in it, or B, the predicate, lies utterly without the idea y/, although conjoined with it. In the first case, I call the propo- sition analytic, in the second synthetic. An analytic proposition, then, is that in which the connection of the subject with the predicate arises from their iden- tity ; but that is a synthetic proposition where, with- out identity, the combination is effected. The first of these I might call explanatory propositions, be- cause they, by means of the predicate, add nothing to our knowledge of the object; but, merely resolve or dissect that knowledge into those component parts, which were already covertly contained in it ; whereas the latter add to our representation of the object a


predicate not contained in it, and which could not by any analysis have been educed out of it.

" For example, when I say all bodies are extend- ed, or gold is a yellow metal, the proposition can be regarded as analytic only, or explanatory of our know- ledge ; for I am not obliged to go beyond the con- ception I have of body or of gold, in order to find the predicates which already constitute a component part of the perception : these propositions are there- fore analytic. But when I say somebodies are heavy, or gold does not rust, the predicate is entirely differ- ent from the component perceptions contained in that of gold or body, and the addition of such a predicate gives rise to a synthetic proposition, xi ff si;

.L *' All knowledge founded on observation and expe-

rience is, without exception, synthetical ; for it were altogether absurd to found an analytical judgment on experience, it not being necessary in such a case to quit the given conception, in order to compose the proposition ; and, consequently, I do not require any farther assistance from experience to satisfy myself that body is extended, and that gold is yellow. And in my notion of the extension and colour of these sub- stances, I already find every thing requisite to frame the foregoing judgments. * aih i

" Again, although in the perception * body,' there is not involved that of * weight* nor in gold that of rust, still, from experience and observation, I may


learn to connect them ; and, in such a case, the truth rests on a posteriori evidence.

" But in the case of synthetic judgments a priori, the assistance of experience is altogether wanting. The mind here passes from the subject A, to discover a predicate B as connected with it ; and the question is, how are such propositions extending our know- ledge a priori framed ; and what is the fulcrum which supports the synthesis ?" There must be some latent function of mind, hitherto unknown and unat- tended to, giving birth to our synthetical a priori knowledge ; and to track out and investigate these deeply hidden processes of thought, is the end and aim of Kant's disquisition.

That knowledge is a priori which the mind at- tains independently of experience ; and that we really possess such, the Mathematics and Natural Philo- sophy concur to attest. When it is asserted that the asymptote and hyperbola continually approach, yet without ever meeting, a position is advanced, obviously transcending the possibility of experience, and the evidence and certainty of it cannot be sought in an inductive method plainly falling short of its extent. In like manner, when it is asserted that the hypo-, thenuse squared is equal to the sum of the squares of the sides, the proposition is not only seen to be of NECESSITY true, but to be further of universai, EXTENT (?. e. admitting no exception), and to em- brace every right-angled-triangle whatsoever, although


there are many possible triangles which have not fal- len within the scope of the geometer's investigation. It cannot, therefore, be from experimenting upon figures, that the geometer arrives at the universality of his conclusions ; for, in the former instance, expe- rience was literally impossible, and in the latter, one investigation effectuates the certainty of the conclu- sion ; nor is that certainty, as in experimental che- mistry, increased by successive observations.

Again, when the natural philosopher maintains that bodies at rest continue at rest, and those in mo- tion move on for ever, he advances a position far transcending all limits of experience, which, notwith- standing, he holds to be necessary, and of universal extent ; and which, in fact, if denied, would involve the denial of all physics. The following may serve still farther to instance the kind of position whence the physical philosopher takes his flight. The natural philosopher maintains many such positions : he holds that, amidst all the transmutation of phenomena, the quantum of substance throughout the world remains unaltered and the same ; and yet it is these mutations alone which are objected by observation and expe- rience to his senses. He goes still farther, and as- serts that all phenomena and their changes depend upon the law of cause and effect ; and, apart from these positions, physical science would have no wj aru^ and could not advance a step.

It might, upon a hasty survey, seem that every


man is just as well satisfied that the sun will rise to- morrow, as he is that two and two make four ; and, be- yond all controversy, we should rightly judge him verging on insanity, who should give himself much concern lest either should prove false. But, betwixt the two judgments, how great a difference is percep- tible, the instant we bring to bear upon them the test contained in the fundamental postulate of the system. For, while every one unhesitatingly represents to him- self as undoubted, the future rising of the sun to- morrow, no one finds the least difficulty in conceiving that perhaps it might not rise — in the nature of things, it might very well be otherwise ; but that two and two should ever come to be anything else than four, is what no man is able even to depicture, or to state to himself in thought. The internal and absolute ne- cessity of the truth, then, in the one case, leads us to hold it not taken from experience; while the other, not possessing this characteristic mark, must rest on such grounds as an induction of facts has supplied.

The difference obtaining betwixt the necessary and contingent parts of knowledge is so striking and unique, that it may perhaps not be out of place to add, that if the postulate on which the system rests is red- argued, those who refuse to grant it their assent, may be called on to assign some other and better ra- tionale^ whereby to explain the origin of necessary truth.

But not only are many synthetical judgments a


priori, but, which is exceedingly to be remarked, single perceptions, their elements, and which go to constitute the judgment, are also themselves a 'priori. Space, for example, is so ; and it is because space is a perception a priori, as we shall immediately evince, that mathe- matics consists of a continued suite of synthetic a pri- ori judgments relative to the configurations of space, all based on the a priori representing space itself. That space is a priori, any common example may serve to manifest, e. g. an orange. An inductive philosopher declares that the representation of the orange is en- tirely framed by the impressions made upon the senses from without. Now, were this the case, then Kant remarks, by decomposing the conception, i e. by ab- stracting from it the colour, smell, weight, flavour, and so on, the whole representation ought to be abolish- ed. Let us try if it really be so, and if any thing re- main after we have thrown off the different elements received by the senses, it remains that we pronounce this residuum no product of sensation from without ; abstracting then, from the orange, the colour, taste, &c., and the other particulars derived to us through the senses : let us, to make quite sure of the experiment, at last abolish it in thought, and it is immediately obser- vable that the space it occupied will still remain; the vacant form of the annihilated body still presents itself; nor can I by any force of imagination oblite- rate this part of the perception. We hence conclude, remaining true to our postulate, that the necessity


with which space obtrudes itself in consciousness teaches an origin, not from observation and experience, but from the a priori action of the mind itself.

From Psychology we receive the division of the mental faculties into sense and understanding, or, in other words, into receptivity and spontaneity. In or- der, then, to investigate the nature of our singular in- complex perceptions, let us isolate the sensory, and at- tend to its impressions in order to detect their neces- sary part, and we straightway remark, that through our external organs of sense all sensible phenomena present themselves in space, and that their whole state and mode of existence is represented to the mind in time ; in other words, the mind invariably and ne- cessarily represents all objects of experience as lying out of arid beyond one another (i. e. in space)^ and also as occurring one after another (i. e. in time). Space and time are intimately interwoven and en- twined with all our impressions ; so much so, that were space awanting, the whole external world would cease to be cogitable ; and, apart from time, no change of our internal state of mind, ?. e. no representation, could at all be conceivable of any sort. These two perceptions, then, first claim attention ; for it is plain, that if our sensitive perceptions have a necessary part, that necessary part is to be sought for in space and time ; and if so, then are space and time intuitions begotten by the mind itself, and so a priori. Space and time are intuitions a priori. But before em-



barking upon this broad speculation. Logic has died out so much in this country, that it may be requisite to make a prelude from common logic, on the specific difference of intuitons and conceptions.

The perceptions of sense are immediate, those of the understanding mediate only : sense refers its percep- tion directly and immediately to an object. Hence the perception is singular, incomplex, and immediate, i. e. is intuition. When I see a star, or hear the tones of a harp, the perceptions are immediate, incom- plex, and intuitive. This is the good old logical mean- ing of the word intuition. In our philosophic writ- ings, however, intuitive and intuition have come to be applied solely to propositions : it is here extended to the first elements of perception, whence such proposi- tions spring. Again, intuition, in English, is restrict- ed to perceptions a priori ; but the established logi- cal use and wont applies the word to every immediate incomplex representation whatsoever ; and it is left for farther and more deep inquiry to ascertain what intuitions are founded on observation and experience, and what arise from a priori sources.

The understanding is in the possession of the uni- versals ; and these it uses to hold fast the singulars, which flit across the sensory. The whole operation of the understanding consists in judging,* that is,

  • Even the raising a universal, which is thinking, may be

called JUDGING ; for, formally/ considered, every notion is a judgment. This is obvious, as both are rules.


for the most part, in subsuming singulars under their universals ; the consolidating and binding together of which with one another, gives birth to knowledge. Thus a child has for a long time nothing but sen- sations : by and by he becomes conscious of things, and this is as yet only an operation of the sensory. But from the thing the understanding extracts, and generalizes its rule ; and when the thing again recurs to sense, the child recognises it, i. e. he makes a sub- sumtion of the thing under its universal or notion, and so knows it. The understanding lays hold of the thing by help of the rule, and so fixes and deter- mines the particular impression, by superinducing up- on it the notion it belongs to. As yet, however, it is only in this given use that the child is conscious of imiversals (i. e. in concreio) ; and it is only after a while that it can represent to itself the rules of things, even apart from the presence of the things themselves (i. e. in abstracto). This is the distinction betwixt the concrete and abstract use of notions. When, for the first time, I see a star, I am conscious only of a thing, I have no knowledge of anywhat. The un- derstanding, however, takes occasion to learn to know it, i. e, to acquaint itself with the intuition {kennen). This it does by framing to itself the universal ; and when the object recurs a second time, and it applies the rule, it then recognises the object {erkennen), and this is knowledge. To frame a notion, is to get ac- quainted with the object {kennen lernen) ; to apply


the notion, is to know or recognise the object. By the universals, then, knowledge of an object is consti- tuted ; and, properly speaking, every universal is just the notion of an object which may be subsumed un- der it. Regarded from this point of view, we may explain a universal to be the notion of a poten- tial OBJECT ; for it is the predicate of some possible object whereof it may become the distinguishing mark. Exactly in the same manner, a category, or pure INTELLECTUAL NOTION, uudcr which some particu- lar intuition may be subsumed, is just the notion of a potential object, to which it may apply and be re- ferred ; and this is what is meant by saying that categories are notions of a potential object in genere.

Having premised, with all possible brevity, these remarks, which belong not to this investigation, but to common Logic merely, we go on with the disqui- sition upon the nature of the perceptions, Space and Time.



Space is Intuition a priori.

The investigation has here two points to establish : 1. That space is a representation a priori; and, 2. That the representation is intuitive^ and not discur- sive, i. e. is a singular, not a universal.

I. Space is a necessary representation ; no human subject is devoid of it, and each individual must have it, as his thinking faculty presents it to him. It is unalterably present to the mind, and by no eiFort can any man rid himself of it. It is very easy to imagine that there are no external objects, but it is impossible to figure in thought the non-existen«e of space. It is, therefore, to be regarded as independent on the ob- jects it contains, and as a fundamental representation, lying at the bottom of all our perception of external phenomena ; and since it is of the essence of our pos- tulate, that no necessary absolute perception can be explained upon the supposition of its proceeding from observation and experience, v^re infer that space is a representation originated by the mind itself.

II. Upon the same account, space cannot be held to be a representation borrowed from the impressions of external bodies. Condillac alleges that we form the perception by passing our hand along the surfaflfe of solids. But this hypothesis is unsatisfactory ; for


when he speaks of surfacCy he avails himself of a con- ception which is to be understood only by pre-suppos- ing space, which last, therefore, cannot be derived from it : — besides, it is uncontroverted that space is no object of sensation.

III. Space is a representation a priori ; for we are in possession of a priori truths concerning it : — a thing impossible, were space a perception framed by any in- duction or experiment. It is by virtue of the a priori necessity of space, that we are able to say " space has three dimensions.^' " The different parts of space are contemporaneous, and not successive ; as, on the contrary, we say, the different parts of time are not co-existent, but successive. Such positions can- not take their rise from observation and experience, for then they would have neither absolute universality nor apodictic certainty, and we could only say, such are phenomena of Space, so far as our observa- tion has extended. But we never could venture to affirm, what is the test of an a priori original, that so it must be. However, we not only state parts of space to be co-existent, but we have the necessary in- sight, that it would be absurd to figure the matter to be otherwise.

IV. Again, since space is alleged to be a discur- sive or general perception, it is to be observed that space is no abstract general notion obtained by the mind, owing to its having been impinged upon by any real actual spaces in the particular ; for every ab-


stract notion differs from the singular perceptions whence it has been taken, by containing singly the general characteristics common to all those intuitions it belongs to. For example, the abstract general no- tion " redy^ differs from any singular red, such as rose-red, or scarlet-red, or purple-red, by containing merely the general marks common to all red colours. But the representation of any given lesser spaces does not differ at all from the representation of the one great space they are in. On the contrary, indivi- dual spaces are clearly part of, and identically one and the same with, the vast, all-containing space, alleged to be abstracted from them. The one great space is therefore no abstraction of the lesser spaces, but the lesser spaces are merely partial limitations of the ori- ginary representing of an absolute and prior space. Whence it follows that space is no conception, but is intuition.

V. Space is one single, incomplex representation, for we can figure to ourselves, one space singly ; and when we talk of spaces, we mean only partial limi- tations of one and the same all-containing space; but a representation which is single and incomplex, is called intuition. Farther, were space not an intui- tion, but a conception, there could not be any axiomatic truths extensive of our knowledge regarding it. In an axiom, two representations are combined in a judg- ment : if then space were a conception, it is plain that no axiomatic proposition could be formed regard-


ing it, and the notion could give birth only to analy- tic judgments ; but never to synthetical a priori pro- positions, extending our knowledge, which the mathe- ^tnatics do. When I assert that every thing which hap- pens has a cause, I combine two conceptions, and leave the notion of somewhat which happens, in order to find the farther notion cause, which I connect with it ; but when I assert space has three dimensions, or that two straight lines do not inclose space, I continue within the representation space. The whole science of geometry consists of such propositions ; and yet it never quits, nor goes out of and beyond, the originary perception space ; and since we extend our knowledge, and yet remain within the representation, it results that space cannot be a conception, but that geome- try is given in one originary intuition space.

VI. Lastly, Space is the representing of infinite extent ; but by experience and observation are fur- nished no impressions of infinite extent. Space is therefore an originary representing. Upon the very same account it cannot be a notion ; for although a notion may perhaps belong to an infinite variety of objects, yet it is never cogitated as belonging to them all at once. Space, however, is figured as containing under it an infinite variety of lesser spaces ; whence it results that space cannot be a notion, but must be intuition.


Of Time.

What has been just advanced with regard to space, iSi mutatis mutandis, tnie of time ; and the repetition of an argument so similar, will tend greatly to facili- tate the understanding of the one just used in re- spect of space.

I. Time is a necessary and unalterable percep- tion, which lies at the bottom of all sensitive repre- sentation. In respect of phenomena, we cannot even in thought abolish time ; but we can easily remove all phenomena appearing in it. Adhering to our postulate, we conclude time to be a representation a priwi. ^

II. Time is no perception borrowed from observa- tion and experience ; for co-existence and succession could never be perceived if the representation of time did not first of all make them possible, and it is only by presupposing time that there is room to speak of things being, either one after the other or together.

III. It is upon this necessity a priori that rests the certainty of those propositions which we are able to make with regard to it. Thus, we say, time has only one dimension. Different parts of time are not together, but successive. These are facts which can- not be explained by experience, because experience and observation never yield propositions invested with


absolute universality or axiomatic certainty ; and in the above instance the mind not only perceives that so the fact is, but, which is the strict criterion to be applied, that so it must necessarily be.

IV. Time is not an abstract notion, which has been derived to the mind from the observation and expe- rience of particular little times ; for these lesser times are parts of it, and do not differ, except in limitation, from the representation of one great all-containing time : again, since every abstract notion differs from the singular perception whence it has been generalised, and here lesser times do not differ from the major representation of time, alleged to be abstracted from them, but are on the contrary parts of it, and seen to be identic with it, it follows that time is not ab- stracted or generalised from any experience of parti- cular lesser times, but is an intuition a priori.

V. Time is one single, incomplex representation ; it is therefore intuition : and if it were a notion, neither arithmetic nor algebra could be given : the moments of time are number, as the parts of space were magnitude. The whole of arithmetic consists of synthetic a priori propositions ; and since by these we extend our knowledge, arithmetic and algebra cannot consist in analysing a conception. -Again, when we say that 6 and 4 make ten, we continue within the representation of the genesis of the suc- cessive moments of time, and never quit it ; whence it follows that time is not a notion, but is intuition.


VI. Time represents an immensity of duration, but experience and observation teach no permanents of illimitable extent : time is therefore a priori, and for the same reason it cannot be a notion, but is intui- tion.

Space and Time are,therefore originary intuitions a priori ; but this is not to be understood as if space and time were two perceptions stamped upon the sensory : that were a ludicrous opinion of the matter. All human knowledge begins undeniably with expe- rience, and, prior to our being stimulated by objects different from ourselves, there is no representation whatever in the mind. Space and time are developed in the sensory, only after our receptive part has been impinged upon by objects from without ; that is to say, the impressions and sensations received by our sensory, it arranges, as external and successive. Space and Time, therefore, express two lawsof our receptivity, by virtue of which it arranges every change of its state according to its own necessary and unalterable laws of externality and succession. Of this its own ope- ration the mind is conscious, and by the originary genesis of space and time these two intuitions are presented in the sensory ; they become interwoven with every thing experienced and observed, and make a part and necessary constituent of all our singular perceptions. There is really very little difficulty in understanding this exposition of the laws of the sen- sory ; and whatever difficulty or obscurity there may


be, arises chiefly from this, that we can treat of the matter only by notions (i. e. by words), whereas, what we want to arrive at is, that our notion of space and time is that they are intuitions, i. e. are each an ori- ginary representing, and into this originary represent- ing the student must transplant himself, i. e. he must himself generate space and time ; and it is only by transplanting one's self into the originary genesis of space and time that we fully apprehend what is meant by calling space and time intuitions a priori.

From all this it is clear, that space does not repre- sent any quality of external objects, or any relation which they bear one to another, but is merely a func- tion of the sensory ; and it expresses the relation ob- taining singly betwixt objects unknown to us, and our mode of perceiving them. The objects we per- ceive are therefore modified by these a priori per- ceptions, and hence our intuitions represent pheno- mena only, not things-in-themselves, that is, we per- ceive things, not as they are, but as they appear to us in space and time ; which two last are called upon that account the forms of phenomena. Different finite intelligents may have quite different laws of perception, and it is quite possible that persons in other worlds may envisage the self-same objects in a wholly different kind of way. Space then does not in any wise adhere to bodies different from ourselves, nor would it be any predicate of them, when we ab- stract from the operations of our own mind.'


Upon these grounds, Space is 2iform of perception, by which alone external impressions are rendered possible ; and since the susceptibility of the thinking subject to be affected in any given way must pre- cede in the order of things his being so affected, we easily understand how the forms of phenomena can be a priori, and may reside within the mind, while the impressions constituting the matter of those phe- nomena are a posteriori singly. It is therefore as human subjects alone that we can speak of extension, and, apart from the conditions of our own receptivity, space and time are terms void of meaning, and wholly nothing ; but, in so far as our perceptions are concern- ed, they have all reality and meaning, constituting, as we have seen, elements of every representation which can enter into the mind ; and when we say space contains all objects, that means, so far as they are phenomena, what the objects are in themselves : independently of our mode of perceiving them, we have no knowledge.

In exactly the same manner. Time is not anything possessed of a real absolute existence, and which would remain if our perception of it were to fall away. It is only the form of all internal intuitions ; and since all impressions even of external objects pass into the mind, and there effect changes in its state, and Time is the law by which all modifications of our inter- nal state are arranged, it is clear, that while Space is the condition a priori of our receiving impressions from


without, Time is a condition apriori regulating all sen- sitive perceptions whatsoever, whether from within or from without. But the states of our mind are also in Time a form of phenomena ; whence it is clear that of mind itself we discover no more than the phenomena. What the soul may be in itself, and apart from our mode of perceiving it, we cannot tell.

I. This exposition puts us in possession of the real nature of space and time, whereas, formerly, when space and time were supposed to be realities, two huge phantoms were assumed, the nature of which was perfectly incomprehensible, and the theory of which has at all times been loaded with exhaustless difficul- ties. Again, when space and time were held to be nothing, motion, and the whole universe of things dif- ferent from ourselves, were endangered, and a system of extravagant or dreaming idealism introduced, not to say that upon this last assumption the science of mathematics remained a complete enigma ; for if space be truly nothing, then mathematics would be the science of nothing, which is unintelligible, and the axioms on which it rests would be propositions regarding a nonentity. Whereas, when we know that space and time are laws of sense, these difficul- ties are removed ; for,

II. The reason is now clearly seen of the peculiar nature of the exact sciences, space and time being intuitions a priori ; an insight this into the nature of Geometry and the Calculus unattained so long as


sipace and time were mistaken for abstract notions. It is owing to this high priori source that mathema- tics has its self- evidencing certainty, the intuitiveness of its relations, and its demonstrative method. This new theory also explains the last ground of the differ- ence obtaining betwixt mathematic and metaphysic speculation : metaphysic has to do with abstract no- tions, and so cannot attempt to copy the axiomatic intuitions of the former, nor yet its methodic march of demonstration. The topics with which metaphysic are conversant, are not intuitive or perceptible by sense, as are space and time, whereon the mathema- tics exercises itself, but abstract notions, which do not admit of being delineated in any sensible configura- tion a priori. Thus, to become convinced that 6 and 4 make ten, I depicture the notion 4 by counting over my four fingers ; the other notion 6 by the intui- tion of six fingers more ; thus I supply the intuition ten, and, rising upon this intuition of number, con- clude that the notion ten is equivalent to the notions of 6 and of 4. — But in metaphysical philosophy this is impracticable. {Comp. p. 159.)

III. A third result from this new theory of space and time is, that it teaches us the line of demarca- tion betwixt the sensory and the understanding, and affords an unerring criterion by which to discriminate them ; a point in which the Greek philosophy contin- ually erred, and which is of the most vital moment toward a clear understanding of the sciences of Geome-


try and Ethic. The Greeks mistook the groundwork of the mathematic sciences to be notions, abstract pro- ducts of the understanding, and hence fancied that metaphysic was capable of a similar extent, and of piercing beyond the senses into a world merely cogi- table, and of predicating a priori concerning things invisible and no way objected to the senses, although, on more sifting examination, those airy structures were generally sapped and overturned by the sceptics. But we now see that space and time belong to the sensory, and constitute the conditions only of sensi- tive perception ; and that whatever appears in space and time must be held objected to the sensory. Thus the territory and domain of the understanding is at once and for ever cut off and entirely separated from that of the sensory.

. IV. Lastly, there is no other intuition a priori, or law of the sensory, for there is no other condition thus fundamental to our thinking system ; for though cer- tain impressions must be pre-supposed for particular senses, as light for vision, and solidity for touch, yet these affect single senses only, and are not, like space and time, conditions of the whole sensory at large. Besides, they are obviously a posteriori; they are differently modified in different percipients. Nor are we in possession of any axioms or a priori truths concerning them.



Having thus investigated the laws of the sensory, Kant proceeds to an analysis of the operations of tlie understanding. The sensory exhibited two unalter- able intuitions, which by their necessity and univer- sality of extent, we discovered to be a priori ; and in like manner, by virtue of the same postulate, we in- stantly become aware that the understanding possesses a standing necessary a priori representation, that of MYSELF, or " /."

This standing unalterable representation of myself is called consciousness, or more particularly self- consciousness. Although uncompounded and in- complex, " /" is no singular perception, for we are in possession of no axiomatic truth concerning it. Nei- ther is it an universal, for then it might become the predicate of something different from itself, which is impossible ; it is therefore a naked representation, al- together sui generis, and is just consciousness. It is the general form of all singulars and universals what- ever. In short the " / " is the intellect itself, being neither more nor less than the understanding's self- consciousness of its own spontaneity — the power of self-representation is understanding.

The sensory receives impressions and modifications of various kinds. These it arranges by virtue of its laws, according to a system of externality and suc-



cession ; but impressions are quite detached and vague as they enter the sensory: they must be combined by the understanding, so as to constitute knowledge of an object. The orange I behold I figure to myself as ONE ; but the different elements of that objective perception, the smell, colour, weight, &c. have entered through as many different gateways into the mind, and it is plain that, so far as our receptive part is con- cerned, they lie scattered and disjointed on its sur- face. That which is represented is notwithstanding ONE ; whence we infer that the understanding must have effected a combination of those diverse intuitions; for, of all representations,coMBiNATiONor SYNTHESIS is the only one which cannot possibly be suggested by an object, or come into the mind through its senses, but must be performed by the thinking subject him- self, i. e. be operated by an act of his own spontaneity. Again, to call any perception mine, it is perfectly obvious that I must have combined it some how or other WITH myself ; this synthesis is what first consolidates the stuff and variety of sensitive percep- tion into an unum quid, or one whole, and is a com- bination which must NECESSARILY obtain between in- tuitions and the originary unalterable representation of MYSELF THE COGITANT. Every change of state, then, which can be represented on my sensory, has of NECESSITY some definite and assignable relation to that function of mind whereby I represent myself to be THE COGITANT ; for were the impressions of my


sensory not such as to admit of being combined and consolidated with this suhstratal consciousness, then I never could become aware of them so as to call them or think of them as mine ; in other words, such mo- dification of my sensory, if not conjungible with my " /,*' were for me entirely null, and void of import.

The representation of composite union* is then, as suchy no intuition, but demands composition, i. e. an act of synthesis. This notion, therefore, together with its anti-part, the uncompounded or simple {the notion of the " /"), is one not derived from any

  • The notion union implies, over and above the conception

of a stuff and variety, and of the synthesis of such multifarUms, that of UNITY. Combination is therefore the representing of a COMPOSITE UNITY of the multifarious. But this unity must not be regarded as a product of the synthesis ; on the contrary, it is the supra-accession of this unity (tJie a priori vinculum " /") to the stuff and variety which makes a synthesis first of all pos- sible ; and this originary apperception " /" it is, that does, by force of its standing identity, introduce unity into the midst of all the chequered sensations of my receptivity ; and this repre- sentation, while itself unaccompanied by any other, pervades every thought, and, by extending itself throughout all the most remote and otherwise disconnected parts of the phenomena, lends to them that order, uniformity, and coherence they are seen to have. Even Space and Time, though singulars a priori, do, so far forth as they consist oi partes extra partes, exhibit a multiplex, and are incomplex perceptions only when regard is had to their potential conjungibility with the " /." It is, therefore, merely owing to the necessary and unalterable dependency and rela- tionship obtaining betwixt the sense and the understanding, i. e. owing to what Kant calls the synthetic influence of the " /" on the sensory, that the forms of phenomena are incomplex.


intuition, but is a main-notion of the understand- ing — a notion a priori — and, moreover, the only main notion a priori which lies originally at the bottom of all representing of objects of sense.

There will therefore be as many notioniS a primi originated by the understanding, under which all things objected to sense must stand, as there are func- tions or modes of intellectual synthesis.

The inquiry into the originary main notions of the understanding has therefore now resolved itself into this very intelligible question : In what way and by what means does the understanding effect an union betwixt the multifarious stuff and variety objected to it in the sensory, and the unchanging perception of


This UNION or synthesis the understanding ef- fects according to certain laws, whereby the combina- tion is brought about, and apart from which no know- ledge of any object can be constituted. Such laws are prior to experience, not actually, but virtually ; for they develope themselves when excited by phenomena. Again, those laws {of Synthesis) express the forms according to which the understanding acts by force of its nature and constitution. They will, therefore, be stamped universally on every part of human know- ledge ; and, as inward regulators of the use of the in- tellect, they are necessarily and indelibly pre- sent to every person's consciousness.

The modes of synthesis, or forms of thought, have,


however, long been known ; and we have to thank the noble inventor of logic that our course of investiga- tion is so much shortened. The laws by which the understanding combines perceptibles in originary consciousness, are neither more nor less than the logi- cal laws of the intellect. The understanding's logical laws of synthesis are the ground-forms of thought : and when these ground-forms are cogitated in ab- stractor then such ground-forms are notions (i. e. predicates or xarjjyog/a/) a priori of all objects whatso- ever. We may therefore say that the a priori notions of the objects given in a possible intuition whatsoever {i. e. whether according to our mode of sensitive per- ception or not), are just the notions of these logical functions of the understanding.

Hence it is obvious that the category will ex- actly tally and correspond to the form of logical judgment whence it sprang ; and when a phenomenon is subsumed under a category, the category does no- thing more than determine which form of synthesis is to be applied to the phenomenon, so as to unify the singular perceptibles of which it is composed. This parallelism betwixt the categories and the formal laws of thought is exhibited in the following table.




Logical Forms of Jxidging,

I. Quantity.




II. Quality. Affirmative.

Negative. Illimitable.

III. Substance.




IV. Modality.




whence the Categories.

I. Quantity or extension.

One (the measure). Many (the quantum). All (the whole).

II. Gradation or intensity. Something («. e. Affirmation of a certain grade of in- tensity or reality). Nothing — negation. Anything — limitation.

III. Substance.

Substantiality — inherence. Causality — dependency. Reciprocity of action — re-action.

IV. Modality.

Possibility — impossibility. Entity — non-entity. Necessity — contingency.*

  • Such, then, are the main apriori notions or pure elementary

conceptions of the understanding : but from their conjunction with one another, or with the a priori forms of intuition, spring other a priori universals secundi ordinis. They might be called derivative or quasi-categories. Of this sort is the notion power : it consists of the categories causality and substance. These two are ultimate notions, and admit of no farther explanation ; but when causality is attributed to substance, the notion power emerges : the definition of power (which Hume called in ques- tion) therefore is, that it is causality considered as residing in


It must well be noted, that these categories do not presuppose or depend upon any particular intuition, or even upon any particular kind of intuition, — such as Space and Time, which may belong to us mankind only. The categories are, on the contrary, ground- forms or main-notions for cogitating any object of in- tuition whatever, and of what kind or sort soever, even although the object envisaged were supersen- sible : as to the nature of which supersensible intui- tion, we can frame to ourselves no conception at all. For we must first of all have a pure notion framed by the understanding of any object concerning which

a substance. On the other hand, should we subsume sub- stance under dependency, the compound thence arising is the notion creation. If existence (i. e. entity) be farther represented as a quantum, the quasi-category duration is be- gotten : if the quantum of duration be farther figured as incom- mensurable with time, everlasting duration is then cogitated : if existence be represented with different and contrary acci- dents, we have the notion change ; e. g. in different parts of space then we have change of place, i. e. motion, all which are, it is clear, a priori notions, and a system of such notions might be drawn up, and a complete and e^chaustive catalogue of them made out. Kant seems at one time to have intended giving a complete chronicle of all composite a priori notions. It is very much to be regretted that he never completed this gallery of the intellectual antiques. Such a museum would have been a favourite and frequented study by all future m'etaphysic dilettanti. From the combination of the category with ideas spring the various cogitations treated of in psychology, theology, and cos- mology. By subsuming the cosmological idea under the no- tion cause, we receive the idea of an absolutely unconditioned cause, I. e. the idea freedom.


we wish to predicate somewhat a priori, even though we should afterwards find that such object were trans- cendent, and for us altogether incognisable ; so that the category is in itself quite independent on the forms of our sensory {Space and Time), and may have in other sensitive percipients quite diverse and un- imaginable FORMS to work upon, provided only these forms constitute the subjective, which may go a pri- ori before all knowledge, and make synthetical a pri- ori judgments possible.

And now the main problem of the Critique is solv- ed. We see clearly how mathematical and physical science are founded. Space and Time are intuitions a priori. To convert a representation into know- ledge demands a notion and an intuition welded together into one perception ; but from the a priori singulars are derived all the notions of the configura- tions of space and of the combinations of numbers discoursed of in geometry and arithmetic. What- ever arbitrary conjunction may be made of those no- tions, is at once either proved or disproved by refer- ring to the originary intuitions whence those notions come, and when that is clearly envisaged in the cor- responding singular {e. g. Euclid, book i. prop, iv.) which is cogitated in the universal {i. e. stated in the enunciation), then we have a self-evident, intuitive, and ostensively-demonstrated truth. Physical science, in the same way, consists of the continuous synthesis of singulars with universals ; but in physics the no-


tions alone are a priori ; the phenomena to which cate- gories are applied are given only in experience and ob- servation. Consequently, natural philosophy is not intuitive, nor has it any self-evident axioms. It has, however, a mathematical part; for the universals MOTION and force are quasi-categories, into which space or time has entered. But such fundamental positions of physics as rest originally on the catego- ries, e. g. EVERY EVENT IS CAUSED, AMID ALL

CHANGES OF PHENOMENA THE SUBSTANCE PER- SISTS, are quite independent of geometry and analy- sis, and spring solely from that subsumtion of sin- gular perceptions under categories, whereby the phy- sical system is first of all represented and constitut- ed ; but how such subsumtion of singulars a poste- riori under universals a priori is effected, requires still some explanation — an explanation not needed in any mathematical subsumtion, since both notion and in- tuition were not only a priori, but also quite homoge- neous.



The categories regarded as notions are predicates of a potential object in genere ; and hence the ques- tion arises, how can intuitions a posteriori be sub- sumed under categories which are nowise like them. To effect a subsumtion, there must always antecede some given and assignable resemblance betwixt the representations compared and unified. Thus a plate has similarity to the a priori geometric notion circle ; the roundness cogitated in this last being envisaged in the configuration and shape of the former. A cate- gory, however, is quite unanalogous to any a posteri- ori perception, and it is not at first sight easy to per- ceive how the category is to apply to intuitions. In every subsumtion it is manifest that the represen- tation conjoined must adapt itself to the conception under which it is to be subsumed. Thus, in the in- stance above given, roundness is that which assimilates the representations plate and circle, and enables the understanding to subsume the one under the other ; but betwixt an a posteriori representation and an a priori form of thought, nothing homogeneous is dis- cernible ; and how, it will again be asked, can the category, Causality suppose, be applied to sensible phenomena which noway resemble it ; for that must be actually envisaged in the singular, which is no


more than potentially cogitated in the category. There must, by necessary consequence, be some mid- dle term which serves as a prop or fulcrum for the understanding, when it establishes a connection be- twixt phenomena and its own categories, which last do then become predicates of the objects thought in them.

Such an intermediate representation facilitating the subsumtion, must assimilate itself on the one hand to the a priori notion, and on the other to the sensitive perception. A representation of this sort we find in Time, which, as a Formal Law of the Mind regulat- ing all representations of sense, is homogeneous with the intuitions it arranges, and also with the catego- ries which are formal laws of understanding. Time, therefore, is the middle term we seek, and by dint of which, the synthetic a priori propositions of physics are attained.

Let us, however, try to make this statement more determinate and precise, by saying that the imagina- tion always exerts itself to supply a figure to any notion the understanding may happen to possess. Thus, when we read the Iliad, the understanding in- voluntarily frames to itself a notion of Homer, and then Fancy tries to depicture to us, conformably to the notion, an image of the poet. In reading a life of Buonaparte, whom we perchance never saw, a similar operation would unawares go on ; and, generally speak- ing, in every instance where no singular is or can be


given, fancy endeavours to supply it. In the two cases just instanced, the notions were a posteriori ; but even when the notion is a priori, the same thing happens, only that whereon fancy exercises its de- pictive power must be a perception a priori. Hence to the understanding's categories, the fancy endea- vours to supply a sensible image. This it does by certain configurations and determinations of Time, and such sensible fixing of Time is what is called the Scheme or Effigiation of the Category. Of these schemes there are eight, not twelve ; for the categories of quantity and quality differ only in degree, not, like those of substance and modality, in kind. These schemes are, moreover, to be regarded as a priori products of fancy, and so as necessary, not as ar- bitrary, as when fancy, by adjoining the figure of a horse to that of a man, paints to itself a centaur. On the contrary, the effigiation is that which stamps a necessary unity upon Time and its contents, ena- bling all the perceptions of the internal sense to com- bine in the " /," into which focus of self-conscious- ness, all intuitions converge by the instrumentality of the categories. The instant, impressions are exhibited to sense, they converge toward the "/," and this instant convergence is what stamps ofJ) both upon them and their form Time, that incomplexity whereby they are singular perceptions, and which as a necessary shaping of time, i. e. of the whole sensory, into a conformity with the laws of the understanding, is what is fitly


called the scheme or necessary effigiation of the cate- gory.

The scheme of the category extension is Time itself, i. e. number. In the genesis of Time, the mind adds successive units, in other words, generates number.

The scheme of the category intensity, is Time considered, not in its genesis, but, when generated, as either a vacuum or plenum. The synthesis of quan- tity goes from the parts to the whole, whereas that of quality begins with the whole, and thence de- scends to the parts. This is the difference betwixt extensive and intensive magnitudes ; the apprehen- sion of a steeple is an example of the former, that of the tone of a harp-string of the latter. When a chord is struck, the synthesis or apprehension begins with the whole intensity of the sensation, and this grade may decrease down to that point where the impres- sion vanishes, i. e. becomes equal to zero ; in fact, it is only by this gradual remission that the volume of sound is known to be a quantum. Now, every intui- tion, as a phenomenon in Time, must be considered as occupying or filling up a certain portion of it, where- fore the scheme of the categories of quality or degree is Time effigiated, as aforesaid — thus Reality = Time figured as a plenum. Negation = Non-implement of Time. Limitation = Transit from the former to the latter.

The categories of substance are effigiated upon


the orders or modes of Time. The modes of Time are three, Duration, Succession, and Simultaneousness. Hence the notion substance is effigiated when we represent to ourselves, not merely a self-subsisting thing, but such a thing as persists throughout all time in space, and so is the permanent groundwork of certain modifications and changes. In the same way CAUSALITY is effigiated, not merely by cogitat- ing a WORKER, but by representing such an ac- tuating thing as antecedes in time, and upon which somewhat else invariably follows. The category ac- tion and RE-ACTION is effigiated by representing as co-existent the modification of the accidents of substance.

The scheme of the categories of modality is the representing of the relation, not of phenomena to one another, but of the relation which a phenomenon bears to Time itself.

Possibility is effigiated by representing an ob- ject as at any time.

Entity or Existence is effigiated by represent- ing an object as at some fixed given time.

Necessity is effigiated by representing an object as at all times.

The scheme qua fixing of Time a pinori, is the de- termining the internal sense audits form, by the "/" and its laws; the scheme gives objectivity to the per- ceptions of sense, by enabling them to be subsumed under an universal representation of an object in ge-


nerCy which subsumtion is what both constitutes and represents the singular as the object.

This constitution of the object-phenomenon may be thus otherwise expressed by saying, all judging is twofold, according as perceptions are con- joined in a mere consciousness of my state, or in con- sciousness whatsoever : the first judgment is subjec- tively-valid only, i. e. expresses singly somewhat re- lative to my own experienced and observed states of consciousness. But when perceptibles are conjoined in an originary " /" whatsoever, then such judgment or synthesis will be valid for every " /" who may happen to be percipient as we are, by the interven- tion of a sensory. A junction of this sort in original consciousness is universally- valid, i. e. for every *' /;" but universal- validity and objective-validity are equi- valent and exchangeable, though not identic expres- sions ; for if the ground of the judgment lay in the object and not in consciousness, then every precipient would be forced to have his notion of the object as the object occasioned it, and this objective-validity would be plainly universal -validity : so that, converse- ly, when a judgment is universally-valid from a GROUND IN consciousness, such judgment, — the universal-validity being tantamount to objective, — comes to be regarded as if it expressed somewhat of the object in itself, although, strictly speaking, it does so only of the object in its phenomenon, which very


OBJECT-PHENOMENON* is moreover begotten by that very judgment.


Such extraordinary debates have been raised, since Kant wrote, on the meaning of the word object, that a brief digres- sion may be thought needful ; and since, to understand object, an exact knowledge of what is subject is indispensable, the fol- lowing farther remarks on the " /" will not be found out of place.

I AM CONSCIOUS OF MYSELF, is a thought Containing a twofold a /." « /" as Subject, and " /" as Object. How it is possible that " /" the cogitant, can become an object of my own intuition, and so contradistinguish mi/self from mi/self, is quite inexplica- ble, and yet a most undoubted fact. This does not, however, import any double personality ;* only I who cogitate and envi- sage am the person, while the " /" of the object, which " /" is envisaged, is, just like any other object different from myself, the thing.

Of the " 1" in the former signification (the Subject of Apper- ception), i. e. the logical " /," qua representation a ^n'oW, nothing can at all be known. It may be likened to the substantial which remains after abstraction has been made from it, of all the acci- dents inhering in it, yet of which I can know nothing farther, because the accidents were just that whereby I knew its nature.

But the " /," in the second signification (the Subject of Per- ception), i. e. the Anthropological " /," qua experienced and ob- served states of consciousness, affords the stuff and variety for all knowledge, — which intuitions do however show us and things to ourselves only as we and they appear, and are phenomena; whereas the Logical " /" denotes the Subject as it is in itself in pure consciousness, not as receptive, but spontaneous, and admits of no farther increment to this knowledge of its nature.

• Cicero, Tusc. Disp. lib. ii/c. xix. Tute tibi imperes. Quanquam hoc nescio, quo modo dicatur, quasi duo simus, ut alter imperet alter pareat : non inscite tamen dicitur.


Suppose now, that, with Kant, we call the act of cogitation re- flection, and the receptivity of impressions apprehension, and let us further figure to ourselves both states of mind as combined with consciousness; then Self- Consciousness (i. e. appercep- tion) will fall to be divided into (1.) that of reflection, and (2.) into that of apprehension. The former is a consciousness of the understanding, the other is the internal sense itself; — that a priori, this a posteriori, consciousness. Psychology examines the last ; logic deals with the intellectual cogitant.

This twin " /" is what has started the puzzling question, whether or not the various internal changes of state a man is conscious of, ought not to prevent him from holding himself to be one and the self-same person. It is, however, just as absurd as, and very nearly akin to, the question, if mankind have not a two- fold personality ? and the same answer replies to both ; for he is conscious of those changes only by representing himself through- out all those states (which affect only the sensitive " /") as one and the same Subject ; so that the human " /" is twain formally only, e. e. according to the bi-formal branches of our sensitive and intellectual framework ; but, materially considered, the " /'* is not bi-personal.

Farther, the latter '* 1," the internal sense, is always coupled with an external sense ; i. e. with a consciousness of a " NOT- /,"* i. e. of a thing different from all my representations, and ex- ternal to myself; the existence of which thing different from my- self, and without me, being invariably conjoined with the con- sciousness of my own existence in time, is just as certain and in- dubitable as is my own existence. But how the " /" and " NOT- I" come to be thus co-associated, is utterly inexplicable, and yet neither more nor less unintelligible than that the " J" itself should branch off into an a priori and into an a posteriori state, seeing that it is only owing to the welding of the " /" with a *' NOT- I" that there are experienced and observed phenomena of con- sciousness, whereby alone it is that the latter " /" is rendered a posteriori, and so fitly spoken of as the internal sense.

• Vorrede, p. xli. ; Critik, d. JR. V. (infra, p. Ixxxi. «t teg.) £


Having thus cleared up the nature of the thinking and perci- pient Subject, it will be the more easy to explain what it is we are to understand by the word object.

All knowledge, and indeed every perception, has a twofold re- ference, viz. to object and to subject. In the former respect, it refers to the representation ; in the latter, to consciousness. Every thing, therefore, not consciousness is fitly spoken of as object. Hence not only is the " NOT- 1," and all perceptions of external sense, an object, but even the representations of the internal sense itself, whereby we perceive nothing different from our- selves, but only our mental feelings and states are so far forth as such representations differ from the pure " /," likewise objects.

In this way it is clear that object is a very wide word. More- over, in addition to the above, object frequently means in Kant's system an intuition. The reason of this denomination is ob- vious, and it is in this sense that Space and Time, as singulars, are called objects. Farther, object often means the whole PHENOMENON into which the singular perceptions are combined by the category. In the latter sense the phenomenon is spoken of as the object of the intuition, although in the former sense the intuition is called the object of the category.

The phenomenon, as the object of intuition, may be either a REAL object or a formal object, e. g. when the phenomenon has in it no given matter or sensation. In either case the percep- tibles are brought into synthetic union ; and hence the synthetic unity of consciousness is in any event the object of our intui- tions, whether the phenomenon be only formal, or moreover rea/. Want of attention to these different uses of the word object has wrought the greatest confusion among Kant's expositors. Some of them have overlooked the difference betwixt the inward and oiitward sense, whereby the existence of the external world has been endangered, and a dreamy idealism introduced. Others for- got the bi-form phase of the " /," and so were forced to identi- fy the a priori intuitions with the a priori notions ; all which monstrous figments might have been avoided, had those hasty writers only bethought themselves, that since by object every thing NOT-coNSCiousNESs may be meant, it is necessary to con-


sider the context, in order to know which way the w«rd is to be taken.

The synthetic unity of consciousness is, then, — whatever else it may be, — always a iphenomenon formally, and thus far the ob- ject is constituted by being represented ; but that most assured- ly does not mean that the representation begets the object quoad existentiam. The object or phenomenon, materially considered, is the solidity of matter. Whatever holds true of the formal ob- ject, must also be true of the actual object ; for did this last not harmonize with the formal conditions of our knowledge, such 'mat- ter never could become for us any object of perception at all. This phrase ^/orma/ object may to some seem absurd ; but it is not : any geometrical solid may serve as an instance o^st. formal object. A cube, pyramid, or cone, regarded as a mere geometri- cal configuration of space, exhibits a synthetic unity, and the space occupied by those formal entities is penetrable. Suppose now these geometrical turned into real actual cubes, cones, &c. then is the space filled by the one, incompenetrable by the other ; and this sensation of resistance is the ground, the real, GROUND, of representing cubical or conical bodies. All the ma- thematical properties, however, of the bare geometric solid, hold true of the physical ; and thus theorems, valid for any formal ob- ject, may with all justice, and in truth mvist, be applied to the ac- tual material object. The case of any other intellectual syn- thetic unity,— a dynamical,* suppose,— is quite analogous to that of the mathematical. The geometrical, became a physical solid, by adding to it, the category substance, and to the formal intui- tion space, a material singular, i. e. one in which sensation was involved. Let us, however, abstract from the matter felt, and we have a formal phenomenon generated by a dynamical cate- gory. Such a synthetic unity differs from the synthetic unity brought forth by the mathematic categories ; but both coincide in this, that they are formal objects. As in the one, so in the other, whatever is true of the formal object, is of necessity true of

" The categories of quantity and quality are called mathematical ; those of substance and modality, dynamical.


the material. The truths of geometry held of their formal solid, and likewise of the real physical solid. Of the formal dynamical object, represented and constituted by the category substance, the position is {infra, p. Ixxii.) " Every phenomenon contains a permanent substratum," which, by parity of reason, will hold true of any given corresponding physical phenomenon. The unity generated by the categories contains all the a priori conditions, and nothing but the a priori conditions, of representing objects. The mental laws of generating a synthetic union are therefore the laws of representing o\i]eci& formally considered; and these laws will be equally valid for all material objects whatsoever. A whole physical phenomenon or object is therefore, \st, The sensa- tion, which is neither in Space nor Time ; 2d, The formal perma- nent, which is in bothj; and from the first and second taken to- gether, it is the incompenetrability of body ; and of this physical body, all synthetical a priori knowledge will be found true. And thus much with regard to the matter of the external sense, the Not-I as object.

Of the Not-I we can say nothing farther, than that we are conscious that it exists. All that we can predicate a priori con- cerning it, is of it in its phenomenon ; for, leaving the external sense and its objects in Space, all singular perceptions whatsoever must, before they can be adjoined in the " /," come into the in- ternal sense, and be objected to the understanding under the form Time ; and here we have to consider how the phenomenon is made up by joint action of the originary and derived " /." Under this light alone is the question of the constitution of a phenomenon considered by Kant — where, however, the pheno- menon is not necessarily an object formally only ; for in Time are, so to speak, Space and its contents. And yet whatever is mere- ly present in the psychological " /," is so far forth subjective only (i.e. is not knowledge;) but, when combined in ori- ginal consciousness, it becomes objective, for then it is cogi- tated according to laws valid for every logical " I" whatsoever. Again, to unify perceptions in consciousness is judging. Hence a synthesis of singulars in the sensitive " /," is a subjective judg- ment only ; for it is only a judgment in the modification of my


own private and particular state. To make such judgment ob- jective, it must be conjoined in the originary " /." But this can only be done by some one or other of the logical functions of judging, which represents the perceptibles, not as belonging to certain states of mind, whether my own or others, but deter- mines the perceptibles all at once, as necessarily related to a form of judging in genere. In effecting this, the understanding reduces the whole a posteriori " /" to the unity cogitated in one or other of the categories. Thus the form of the internal sense (Time) receives the stamp of the category ; and this effi- giation on the form of the sensitive " /" of the synthesis cogi- tated in the pure a priori notion, is called the scheme of the ca. tegory. Wherefore, we conclude, as before, that the scheme is that which gives objectivity to the category ; or, inversely, that which procures for a mere subjective synthesis, objective and universal validity.

After this explanation, we run no risk of misapprehending the meaning of Kant's famous proposition, that, by its categories,


THE PHYSICAL SYSTEM ; but need only to set forth those laws in the order of the respective categories w hence they spring.



We shall now express verbally the originary syn- thetic acts of the understanding ; and these will fur- nish eight propositions a priori, not indeed intui- tive, but nevertheless as certain and necessary as any proposition in the mathematics ; on which eight posi- tions the whole of natural philosophy depends.

I. The first position regards the category quantity. The elements here to be combined are, the category, its scheme, time or number, and an intuition to be subsumed by an originary representing under the ca- tegory. Now, since this is a procedure of the under- standing, by which quantity is what is predicated of objects, it is clear that every phenomenon has ex- tension, i. e. either magnitude or number.

Ihis first synthetic a priori judgment is what warrants the application of mathematics and the cal- culus to phenomena ; and it is already proved by showing that the above words state merely an origi- nary unalterable synthesis of the understanding.

II. Second proposition, of quality. The elements here represented and conjoined in the synthesis of quality,,Jirst, an impression a posteriori (for the intuitions a priori never are qualities), the scheme, a vacuum or plenum of time, and the category, which varies from reality to negation, according as the complement of


time, may pass through various grades of impletiou, down to zero = 0, when the impression vanishes.

Every phenomenon has intensity, i. e. a grade of reality.

Time is filled by sensation : L e. to become aware of time, I must have an a posteiimi intuition, begotten by an impression or sensation. The sensation itself is no intuition ; and we distinguish the sensation as the ground of an intuition, from the intuition itself: the sensation itself, qua mere impression, cannot be regarded as in Space or Time, although the intui- tion begotten by it is in both ; and the size of the sensation, i. e. the size of the ground of the intuition, can only be estimated by the ratio of 1 to 0.

However faint the grade of any reality may be in our perception of it, still we readily admit that a still smaller grade exists. How weak soever the sound of a harp may be, or how little vivid the green I be- hold, we still presuppose weaker and more declining grades and shades of sound and light ; even though we diminish them away till they are no longer per- ceptible. Proof sufficient almost of itself alone, to show that this law is not derived from observation and experience.

III. In respect of the categories of substance. The synthetic act of the understanding expressed in words is experience (knowledge of phenomena) is only pos- sible, by representing phenomena as conjoined in a necessary nexus.


Impressions are nowise connected, nor do we dis- cover any necessity in their sequence ; but since Time is the form of all phenomena, and we have no mode of arriving at any knowledge of the existence of phe- nomena, except by combining them in self-conscious- ness, it follows that the perceived relation of pheno- mena in Time, is fixed and determined a priori, by the necessary relation in which all intuitions stand to self-consciousness ; but a representation a priori car- ries with it necessity and universality. We shall therefore say. All experience and observation is of ne- cessity fixed, according to some one or other of the modes of Time.

Time has three modes. Duration, Sequence, and Si- multaneousness ; and all phenomena are aifected and determinable in one or other of these three modes, for either a phenomenon endures in Time, or it ensues upon some prior phenomenon, or else phenomena are represented to the mind together. .

A. Duration.

Amid all mutations of phenomena the substance endures, and its quantum suffers neither increment nor diminution.

The elements to be combined are, the category substance and accident, the scheme, a permanent throughout all time in space, and an intuition.

Time is itself a permanent, — its parts only are suc- cessive ; for, suppose that absolute or empty Time were mutable, then an ulterior time behoved to be postulated.


in which, the former's flux might become represented ; and as Time is the invariable form of all phenomena, it is plain that there is a formal permanent in all phenomena, while the phenomena themselves conti- nually vary. Again, whatever holds of the form of intuitions, must hold with regard to the intuitions themselves, — time being in itself no direct object of perception, but only so far forth as it is filled by phe- nomena. The perdurability of time must, therefore, be attached to the phenomena, and must rest on somewhat in phenomena, which is their permanent substratum. Such a permanent corresponds to, and is called, substance.

In effect, it is singly by cogitating substance, that Time itself can be represented ; i. e. the notion of a permanent, is the groundwork whereon rests the perception of Time itself; through it alone does ex- istence receive duration in time ; and apart from the representing of a permanent, the modes of time would themselves fall away.

Hence we are necessitated to attribute substantia- lity* to the phenomena, since, otherwise, all know- ledge of succession and co-existence would be ren- dered impossible and evacuated. Farther, since the substance is the permanent, i. e. is that whose ex- istence changes not, it follows that its quantum can neither be added to, nor diminished ; and the changes

  • The incompenetrability of matter is the substance of the

phenomenon. It is by virtue of this substratal solidity that it persists as a permanent in space.


experienced and observed by us, to affect phenomena, do not refer to the substance, but singly to the mode and fashion of its existence.

All phenomena, therefore, which we know, contain a permanent in Space {substance ^ i. e. the object); and a transitory {accident, i. e. the mode in which the permanent subsists in time).*

]No philosopher ever attempted a deduction of this position before ; upon it, however, rests the old well- known dogma, " De nihilo nil fieri ; in nihilum nil posse reverti ;" a position most absolutely true and certain ; but which of late has been excepted at, through the mistaken notion, that the law militated against the dependence of the world on a Supreme Creator ; an apprehension altogether baseless, for the proposition refers singly to phenomena as presented in our experience ; and as to the actual substance of the universe and its relations we know nothing, but are totally in the dark. The law expresses nothing except the necessary mode in which we cogitate the existence of things as phenomena.

B. Succession.

Against Hume.

All mutations of phenomena happen according to the law of the causaLnexv^. The elements to be combined are causality and dependence, the scheme, and a given mutation.

  • The EXISTENCE of the substance is called subsistence ;

that of the accident, inherence.


That somewhat happens, cannot be known, except in so far as a phenomenon have preceded, not con- taining the phenomenon considered in it. Every per- ception of somewhat as occurrent, supposes somewhat precedent, on which it has followed, and that too in such a manner that this order of sequence cannot be inverted. When I see a house, or other permanent, my apprehension of its diflPerent parts is optional, though successive ; and it is quite indifferent whether I begin from above or below, or effect the synthesis of its parts, backwards or forwards : the order of the sequence of perceptibles is in sucii event arbitrary ; and to this unregulated sequence, the notion cause can- not be applied. But if a ship drift down a stream, the order of the perceptibles is fixed ; and this se- quence cannot be inverted (for were it not fixed, then were no mutation given — only a subjective play of perceptibles in fancy). In like manner, upon frost, water freezes ; and this flux of events is never other- wise. But the flux of time is also necessary, and a regulated sequence, the former part of time inevita- bly determining the present. Again, whatever holds true of the form of phenomena, is rightly predicated of the phenomena themselves. And since this neces- sary sequence is just what is cogitated in the cate- gory causality, it follows that every mutation is, by virtue of the foregoing, subsumptible under the law of cause and effect.

So, theo, as it is an inevitable law of the sensory,


/. e. a formal a p?iori condition of all human per- ception, that every antecedent time draws after it of necessity the next consecutive times ; so it is as uncontroverted a law of our perception of a real succession that the phenomena of time bygone determine all entities in time following ; and that these last cannot fall out or happen except in so far as those fix to these their place and spot in time;

FOR it is only upon PHENOMENA THAT WE CAN BECOME AWARE OF THE CONTINUITY OF TIME IT- SELF. The understanding therefore represents any given mutation as a real event, by clothing it upon, with this particular mode or order of time ; and this is done by adjudging to each phenomenon, as it passes before sense, i. e. happens, its a priori assign- able spot in time, apart from which allotment, the phenomenon would not harmonise with time itself, which determines to all its parts a given and fixed place a priori.

Every effect leads back to a permanent, whereby the effect, as a change and mutation of state, can alone become perceptible. But actuation by a cause is something which happens ; whence causality refers of necessity to a permanent substratum, whereon it rests. This justifies the application of the notions action and power {i. e. substance cogitated as cause) to phenomena, and is the only and the true gi'ound why " action " is regarded as the criterion of the sub- stantiality of the agent.


The law of the causal-nexus can, it is clear, refer singly to accidents, never to substances, they being the perdurable. The origination and preterition of substances, qua effect of an intelligible cause, is what is called creation, a notion not admissible among phenomena. It consists in cogitating sub- stances qua things-in-themselves, under the notion dependency ; but this cogitation cannot be any far- ther defined or fixed.

Lastly, it is to be noted, that how a mutation hap- pens is altogether inexplicable.

G. Contemporaneousness.

yill substances which co-exist as perceptibles in space, act and re-act mutually.

Together are those things which in our a poste- riori intuition of them may reciprocally follow one another — a process of optional inversion that cannot take place with all sequences of phenomena, which last are upon that account subsuraptible under the notion CAUSE. Since my perception of the stellar system Jupiter may begin first at his moons, and proceed thence to the main star, or, conversely, may begin with Jupiter and end at the circum-jovial lumina- ries — this is the reason, viz. because the intuitions of those bodies may reciprocally follow — why I say that Jupiter and his satellites exist together. Co-ex- istence is the representing of the being of the mul- tiplex or VARIOUS at the same time. Bare time, however, is no object of perception ; so that we can-


not, by finding things in the same time, thence infer that our perceptions of them may follow ad libitum. The apprehension in the Anthropological " /," would only show that each of the above perceptions took place, while the other was not in the mind, and vice versa; but it could not suggest to us both objects were together ; i. e. would not enable us to say, while the one, so the other, in the very self-same time, and that this double occupying of time must of necessity obtain before the perceptions could mutually exchange sequences. For this an a priori notion of the un- derstanding is indispensable, viz. a notion of the re- ciprocal and mutual action of things on one ano- ther. Consequently, our knowledge of the co- ex- istence of substances in Space is first of all rendered possible by, and depends upon, the category re-ac-^ TiON, which therefore we rightly predicate of all con- subsisting phenomena, and hold that none of them are isolated or unconnected. IV. And, lastly, Modality.

A. Whatever coincides with the formal condi- tions of experience is possible.

B. Whatever is connected with sensation, and the a posteriori conditions of experience, is actual.

C. That which stands connected with the actual, as determined according to the universal conditions of experience, exists necessarily ; e. g. if the moon enter the earth's shadow, then it must be eclipsed.

These eight laws regulating all observation and


experience are fundamental laws, and so admit not of any proof, i. e. they cannot be deduced from any other proposition, otherwise they would cease to be the su- preme and uppermost laws of the understanding. Nevertheless their accuracy and justness must be shown ; and this has been effected by showing that experience is only possible in so far as these laws are valid. The possibility of experience depends on the standing identity of self-consciousness " / ;" and this again is only possible by the uniformity of the in- tellectual act whereby our spontaneity consolidates the stuff and variety of given intuitions into know- ledge. This synthetic act the understanding ope- rates according to its own laws, and these main laws of understanding, are the laws of nature, for by them detached perceptibles are wrought up into the phy- sical system. By Nature or the physical system is meant the whole of objects, or the aggregate of all phenomena, so far forth as their existence is deter- mined conformably to necessary laws ; and it is evident that the foregoing propositions are laws from which, as a base a priori, the whole physical system itself rises. But since the whole external world has been quibbled out of existence, we shall stop here to confute in form the assertion of the idealists, and so to evince , the truth and certainty of the second modal proposition.

Against Des Cartes and Berkeley.

Idealism is the theory which states the existence of objects in space, without us, to be either doubtful


and unsusceptible of proof, or declares such existence to be a falsehood and impossible. The former is the idealism of Des Cartes, who allowed only " / ami to be certain and undoubted ; the second is that of Berkeley, who expounds space, and all the things to which it adheres, as their inseparable condition, to be in itself an impossibility; and so infers that the things in space are mere figments and chimeras. This last idealism is inevitable when space is deemed a property attaching to things-in-them selves, for then it, and every thing it conditions, is a phantasm. The grounds leading to this idealism have, however, been sapped and overturned in the doctrine of Space and Time just delivered. The other idealism, which leaves the point quite undecided, and urges only the mind's inability to evince an existence separate from our own, is reasonable, and in harmony with the spi- rit of a philosophic investigation, viz. not to pronounce peremptorily until a sufficient reason has been found. Since, then, both Berkeley and Des Cartes hold the judgment " / airC for uncontrovertibly certain, the best confutation will be to show that this self-con- sciousness of my existence in time, involves and in- cludes in it the immediate consciousness of the exist- ence of external objects.


The naked consciousness of my own existence " in Tim£' demonstrates the existence of objects without me.


I am conscious of my existence as somewhat fixed and determined in Time. Every determination of Time demands a permanent. This permanent, how- ever, cannot be an intuition in me ; for all grounds determinative of my existence which can be met with in me myself, are representations, and so require a permanent different from themselves, whereby alone can be fixed, their change and sequence, and so also that my Being in Time, in which they vary and suc- ceed. The permanent, then, cannot be any what within me, since my Being in Time is first of all fixed by it. The perception of this Permanent is conse- quently only possible by a thing without me, and not by merely representing a thing without me. The determination of my own state of existence in Time appears, then, to be only possible by the existence of real things which I perceive external to myself. Again, consciousness in Time is of necessity connected with the consciousness of the possibility of this deter- mination of Time, i. e. it stands necessarily connected with the existence of Things without me, qua condi- tions of the determining of Time, i. e. the conscious- ness of my own existence is also at the same time an immediate consciousness of the Being of Things with- out me.

It may perhaps still be urged, after all, we can only be conscious of what is in ourselves, i. e. we are only immediately conscious of the representing of external objects, and that it is still left undecided, whether there



be anywhat without me corresponding to this or not. However, I am conscious of my own existence in Time (and so, consequently, of its determinableness in Time) by my own inward experience and observation ; and this is saying more than being merely conscious to myself of my representation, although quite identic with the a posteriori consciousness of my being, which consciousness is determinable singly by a re- ference to somewhat external to myself, and connect- ed with my existence. This consciousness of my ex- istence in Time is hence identically linked together with a consciousness of a relation to somewhat with- out me ; and it is therefore experience, and not fancy, which indissolubly connects an external to my inward sense. In fact, external perception is in itself a re- ferring of the intuition to an actual without me ; and the reality of such perception, as contradistinguished from imagination, depends just on this, that it is in- separably linked to internal experience itself as the condition of its possibility.

If I could combine with the intellectual conscious- ness of my existence included in the representation " / am" which accompanies all my judgments and acts of understanding, a determination of that exist- ence by an intellectual intuition, then no conscious- ness of a relation to somewhat external and different from myself would be required. And although un- doubtedly such intellectual consciousness precedes, yet ray inward intuition of myself, on which alone


my existence can be determined, is sensitive, and con- ditioned by time, and since yet farther this determi- nation {i. e. inward observation and experience of my- self) depends on somewhat perdurable not within me, i. e. without me, towards which I stand in some re- lation, it will follow that the reality of external per- ception is indissolubly linked with that of the inter- nal, both concurring to constitute the possibility of experience in general ; i. e. I am as certainly conscious of the existence of external objects which stand in connection with my senses, as I am conscious that I myself exist in time. To which may be added this farther remark, that the representing of somewhat perdurable in existence, is not the same with a per- manent representation ; for this last may be very mu- table and changing, as are all representations, even the representations of matter, which, however, depend on somewhat permanent, which permanent must there- fore be an external thing, different from all my repre- sentations, the existence whereof is necessarily exclud- ed in the determining of my own existence, both to- gether just constituting one single experience, which experience would not exist at all inwardly, were it not also at the same time in part outward. How this twofold existence is conjoined, is as inexplicable as how we cogitate a standing permanent in Time.

The reader will have remarked, that in the above line of proof the Idealist is payed back in his own coin. He asserted that the only immediate expe-


rience was our inward, and that from that, we could only conclude upon externals, and that unconfident- ly, as is always the case when we conclude from given effects to individual causes ; and in the present case, the Idealist contended that the last ground of our perceptions might lie in ourselves, which ground we, by a mistake, transferred to external objects. But in the foregoing paragraph we have proved that outward experience is strictly immediate, and that singly by its means could be brought about, not, of course, the consciousness of my own existence, but the determi- nation of that existence in Time. It is true that the representation " / am" expressing that conscious- ness which goes hand-in-hand with every thought, is a perception which includes immediately the exist- ence of the thinking subject himself. But this affords as yet no knowledge of it, i. e. the bare "I AM" gives us no experience ; for to constitute this last there belongs, over and above the cogitation " Being^'^ some intuition in regard to which the subject can be determined, i. e. in Time, and for this, externals are indispensable; whence it results that inward experience is only indirect, and rendered possible by the outward.

^^ 91? ylf * sIp

The preceding analysis of the powers of mind af- fords a full and satisfactory explanation of the origin of the synthetic a priori truths which constitute the sciences of mathematics and physics. The object of the mathematics is the combination of Time, i. e.


number, and the configuration of Space ; and since all phenomena occur in Space and Time, the relations and configurations of these last must be met with in every appearance presented in them. Hence the truths of mathematics hold universally of all pheno- mena. It is, however, obvious, that that science is not applicable beyond the phenomena occurring in Space and Time. Physics has no other end and aim than the fixing and ascertaining of those a priori laws, agreeably to which we know nature. We can have impressions, and can become aware of objects, only under the conditions of Space and Time ; and in the very same way the connection and relation of phenomena can only be understood by help of the ori- ginary Laws of the Understanding. If, therefore* Physics, i. e, a systematic arrangement of phenomena a prior it is to be possible to the human mind, it can only become such by resting on the synthetic propo- sitions generated by the understanding; in other words. Natural Philosophy is seen to be possible, when the causes and relation of phenomena are cogi- tated agreeably to the a priori rules of thought, which categories regulate and determine our acquaintance with the world of sense ; phenomena being only ad- mitted into the mind, conformably to the necessary and invariable laws of the understanding.

From these remarks it is sufficiently apparent that all our knowledge and science extends to phenomena only, i. e. to things as we perceive them, and not in


any wise to things-in-them selves ; and we are confin- ed entirely to experience and to the precincts of sense. There is then no transcendent use of the a priori no- tions, as Plato, Cudworth, and others, have imagined ; for while the Categories denote the mode of combi- nation whereby the understanding introduces unity amidst heterogeneous impressions, the unity can be effected singly by the intervention of the Scheme ; and apart from the Scheme no subsumption of an object under the Category can be effected, and the functions indicated by the Category could not be put into opera- tion. Categories have, therefore, no meaning, beyond that of being mere empty forms of thought, except when applied to impressions of experience and observation ; for the Scheme Time is itself in the sensory, and therefore restricts the exercise of the Category, and prevents it from going beyond the reach and extent of what is exhibited in the sensory. A transcen- dent operation of the understanding were such a one, where it operated, not on objects as phenomena, but on objects as things in themselves ; but there is no such function of intellect, although a very natural illusion might induce us to fancy, that since the Scheme thus visibly restrains the use and em- ployment of the Categories to sensible objects, the Categories ought to have a more extensive flight when the scheme is dropt, and, instead of referring to things as they appear, to refer to them as they are in themselves. But, in such a case, there would be no


object given to which they could be applied : they are mere logical forms of thought, empty notions of an object in genere ; and as impressions are vague un- til subsumed under a notion, so Categories are them- selves blank and empty till realised by the sensory, which, however, at the same time, circumscribes their use.

When the perceptibles presented to the mind are thought agreeably to the a priori conditions of our sensory, and to the synthetic unity of the Categories, then such objects are called phenomena. It cannot, however, be denied, that an understanding is con- ceivable, which might perhaps be able directly to en- visage objects without the intervention of a sensory at all ; and such objects would not be phenomena, but noumena, i. e. things in themselves. It is upon this fancy that Plato divided things into things sensible and things merely cogitable {mundus sensibilis, and mundus intelligibilis). But how situated soever other Intelligents may be, there are for man no enti- ties of the understanding ; and long experience has taught that, apart from the entities of our sensory, knowledge is denied to us. We conclude, therefore, that there is no world of noumena different from the world of phenomena which we know, a fact pretty ap- parent from the cogitable realms of Plato, where the store of impressions from his sensory is by no means scanty. But although a world of noumena, in Plato's sense, is quite inadmissible, viz. as a


world of entities which are the objects of intellectual intuition; still, in a negative sense, the notion of noumena is not only admissible, but is in effect abso- lutely necessary ; for the very statement, that the things we behold and deal with are phenomena, forces us to assume somewhat lying at the back of pheno- mena, which cannot be again itself a phenomenon, but which is the thing in itself. And hence, although we cannot have any knowledge of objects as things in themselves, but singly as phenomena, still we must cogitate the very self-same objects as things in them- selves, otherwise we should arrive at the monstrous absurdity of holding, that there were appearances, without any thing which appeared ; this negative co- gitation of a noumenon merely serves to show that the sensory is not the limit of all possible knowledge, and reminds us that knowledge not merely sensible is suggestible as to its possibility. This remark comes to be of weight when we treat of the Ideas and Anti- nomies of Reason : these remind us that we have to do with a world only in its phenomenon, at the back of which aspectable system lies the world in its re- ality, of which we can know absolutely nothing ; in which cogitable world we are already, while at the same time we exist in a phenomenal system, objected to our senses, and where we are, like every thing else, known to ourselves only as phenomena.




In the operations of the understanding and the judgment, the intellectual synthesis was attached, mediately or immediately, to a given singular percep- tion. But when the operation of the cognitive facul- ty is grounded on a universal as its datum, then the logical synthesis of perceptibles is called a syllogism, and the intellect is in this particular use called rea- son.

Again, as the originary procedures of the under- standing had in the former chapter a double use, lo- gical and metaphysical, where the logical forms of judging, thrown into a notion of the intellectual syn- thesis of singulars, gave birth to categories ; exactly in the same way reason has, over and above the logical form of syllogising, a metaphysical or transcendental use, and gives birth in this capacity to the a priori ideas of the absolute and unconditioned.

In a syllogism, the major is plainly the ground or condition assigned by reason for the conclusion. Reason is therefore the power of comprehending upon principles or last grounds. These ultimate principles, reason endeavours to reduce to the smallest possible number, thereby to arrive at the supreme rationale of all phenomena. This reference of phenomena to their last grounds, reason endeavours to accomplish in a


threefold manner; — thus, one part of the physical system is, as we have seen, exhibited to us as an in- ternal phenomenon, by being the object of our in- ward intuition, and another part of nature is objected to our outward senses. Wherefore, 1. The idea of a last and absolute ground of all internal phenomena, is the idea of the substratum of the soul ; and this formed the groundwork of the metaphysical psychology of the schools. 2. The idea of the unconditioned of all external phenomena gave rise to the theories of cos- mology. While, 3. and lastly, Reason undertook to assign a last ground whence to deduce the substratum both of external and internal phenomena, and had in the idea of such ultimate and unoriginated essence the object of theology.

These ideas of the unconditioned are what have constantly misled man to try to pierce the veil of space and time, and to bring about a science of the supersensible. But all our knowledge is of pheno- mena only, 2. e. of the conditioned in space and time ; and hence the metaphysic sciences of which reason projects the idea, cannot be realized by man, for from the conditioned to the unconditioned, the step is synthetic ; although, from the conditioned, analysis would guide as far as the condition : the question is then, as before. How are the synthetical a priori judgments on the unconditioned to be thought as possible ? and the answer is, that, unless an intuition of the absolute and unconditioned were given to be sub-


sumed under its universal, no such science can exist, — a circumstance which Kant shows at length, by going into a detailed examination of the falsehood of the speculations of the old Greek and modern schools.

This abortive philosophy we will discuss with all brevity, and only so far as to show the logical illu- sion whereby mankind have been so long beguiled ; adding, however, in a note, the more important heads of the Cosmological Antithetic, which alone, of all the ideas of reason, opens to us a view into a cogitable order of things, beyond all bounds of space and time, and so prepares a way, and facilitates the transit of the understanding from natural to moral philosophy.

But, before embarking in this part of the system, it may be advisable to state how categories and ideas differ, and likewise to show how the ideas above enu- merated admit likewise of being found from the table of the logical forms of the syllogism. Syllogisms are either categoric, hypothetic, or disjunctive. Every major contains the totality of the conditions, whence the conclusion conditioned by it flows. But the un- conditioned alone can contain the totality of its sub- ordinate conditions, as, conversely, the totum of conditions must of necessity be unconditioned.

Advancing in the direction of the first syllogism, reason impinges on the idea of the unconditioned, which lies at the bottom of all inherence. II. Of the second form of syllogism, at the unconditioned and absolute ground of all dependency ; and, lastly, in


the direction of the third syllc^ism, at that idea of the absolutely-unconditional, whereon is grounded all concurrerice.

A pure idea of the absolute and unconditional is therefore no more than a notion of substance expand- ed to a maximum ; and the difference betwixt the ca- tegories of substance raised by the understanding, and the ideas begotten in the mind by reason, is, that ca- tegories are anterior to all experience, and make it possible ; whereas ideas presuppose experience, and serve to cogitate the totality of its conditions. They discriminate betwixt the world of sense and the world in idea — ^its groundwork — and are laws bringing all phenomena under ultimate prindples.

To realize the sciences of the unconditioned and supersensible, the human mind has applied its a priori perceptions to the ideas, and so endeavoured to beget knowledge a priori. Thus :

The idea of the unconditioned, on which all acci- dents ultimately depend, is the idea of a substratal THiNG-iN-iTSELF. A scicncc of the thing-in-itself qua object, constituted ontology, and the science of the thing-in-itself g'l^a subject, constituted psycho- logy.

I. The old metaphysic science of ontology must be abandoned ; for all our knowledge is of things as phe- nomena, and of things-in-themselves we know abso- lutely nothing. When we look into any old treatise of ontology, we observe immediately that the author


deals merely with universals^ and that there is indeed somewhat cogitated, but nothing known; it is there- fore an elusory science only.

II. In precisely the same way, psychology was given out as the science of the substance of the human mind. Combining the idea of the soul as a thing-iw- itself, with the different categories, various conceptions are formed, but with regard to which, no knowledge is at all attainable. Thus, by subsuming the pyscho- logical idea under the category unity, the seeming judgment arises, that the substance of the soul is one, and that the man himself is always numerically identic. When combined with the notion of gradation, i. e. uncompoundedness, and with the category sob- stance, then we have the psychological dogma, the soul is a simple substance. From these different propositions come the current opinions of the soul's spirituality, that it is indivisible, indestructible, and immortal. But of the soul, all that we know are its phenomena. We know, indeed, that the " /" exists, but what the absolute soul in itself may be, is incomprehensible and totally unknown. The above positions cannot therefore be supported ; they cannot, however, be denied or redargued, and are therefore perfectly allowable cogitations, to which in- deed reason even seems to invite, although scientific insight into such a matter is utterly unattainable.

III. Cosmology was given out to be the science of the world, not as the object of natural philosophy, but


as the object of an unconditioned idea and absolute THiNG-iN-iTSELF. It pretended to be a demon- strated theory of the origination and dependency of all cosmical arrangements, not as phenomena, but as to their last and unconditioned ground. It undertook to prove that only one world existed, — that only one world could exist,— that this world was the best pos- sible world, — that it was caused, contingent, and bounded, both in regard of its extent and duration. But such predicates as these teach knowledge of phe- nomena only, and, when transferred to the idea of an absolute universe, found only a play of notions, to which no objective reality can be ascribed. But, as in the case of psychology, so in the present, these pos- sible cogitations are very fruitful and allowed, even while we declare all pretence to cosmological science an absurdity. There is, however, one very peculiar and striking difference betwixt the cosmological and the psychological idea. Reason did not afford any grounds for contradicting its own psychological concep- tions ; but in cosmology, for every statement advanced, reason supplies a counter-statement, and supports either side of this Logical Antithetic* with equally good arguments. Thus, when it is said that Space and Time have bounds, i. e. that the world in Space and

  • The cosmological debates are called by Kant the Antino-

mies of reason, or the battle of reason with itself. Following the order of the Categories, the four Antinomies may be exhi- bited by the following table. ,


Time is not infinite, every body knows, who is at all acquainted with the cosmological debates, that the

Thesis. The WORLD has an origin in Time, and is quoad Space shut up in boundaries.

Antithesis. The WORLD has no begin- ning, and no bounds in Space, but is, as well in regard of Time as of Space, illimitable.


Every compound substance in the WORLD consists of simple parts ; and there exists nothing but the simple, or that which is compounded from it.

No composite consists of simple parts ; and there exists nowhat simple in the world.


There is no FREEDOM. Every thing in the world happens according to the laws of na- ture.

The causal-nexus, according to laws of nature, is not the only sort of causality from which the collective phenomena of the WORLD are to be deduced. It is requisite to assume a free causa- lity, in order to their satisfactory explanation.


To the WORLD there belongs There exists no absolutely-

somewhat which, either as its necessary Being, neither in

part or its cause, is an absolute- the world nor out of the

ly necessary Being. world, as its cause.

This product of human reason is unquestionably its most ex- traordinary phenomenon, and is exactly what is most cogent-


infinitude of Space and Time has been one of the main hobbies of the schoolmen ; the infinite divisibi-

]y fitted to waken reason from its dogmatic slumber, where- in it dreams that the world in Space and Time is not an appear- ance, but a reality. For whenever we begin to hold that the phenomena of the sensible universe are real entities, and wlien we hold the laws of the synthesis of perceptibles to be laws of the things themselves, then on the instant there emerges the above embarrassing and unexpected dialectic, which has agi- tated the metaphysic schools for two thousand years, and of which no end was, or ever will be, attainable, because both the- sis and antithesis can be supported on equally solid grounds of reason, so long as the universe in Space and Time is mistaken for a world in itself.

Now two contradictory positions are inevitably both false, though rigidly demonstrated, when the notion around which the argument revolves is itself an impossible and contradictory sup- position (intellectual entity). Thus the theorems, a quadrilate- ral circle is a curve, and a quadrilateral circle is not a curve, are both false, because the notion four-sided circle, which is the common groundwork of either, is itself a surd and impossible cogitation.

At the bottom of the two first antinomies, called mathematical, because they speak of the quantity and quality of the homogene- ous, there lies such a self-contradicting notion ; and hence we get rid of the difficulty by at once declaring that both Thesis and Antithesis are false, and say nothing. And this fundamental absurdity consists in transferring to the world in itself predi- cates which can be applied only to a world of phenomena.

But though the two latter antinomies, called dynamical, can be escaped from in the same way, yet as another solution of the difficulty can be given, we must hold, that while the four first propositions are absolutely false, the four last are only hypotheti- cally false ; in which last case the false supposition, which makes them seem to be a contradiction, would consist in representing


lity of matter, the question of freedom and necessity, and, lastly, the cosmogony of the world, its origin

that which may be in harmony, as repugnant, and so both thesis and antithesis may perhaps be true.

The synthesis in the mathematic categories demands neces- sarily, homogeneousness of the perceptibles conjoined in the ca- tegories ; not so the dynamic. When regard is had merely to tlie quantity of an extended, then all the subordinate parts must be similar to the whole ; but in the connection of a cause with an effect, such homogeneity is not demanded : the effect and the cause may no doubt be of like kinds, but this is not necessary ; at least it is not requisite to the notion of causality.

But still, even in this latter case, were the objects of sense taken for things-in-themselves, and the laws of the physical sys- tem taken for the laws regulating the existence of real entities, then the above repugnancy were in any event inevitable. In like manner, if the Subject of Freedom is figured again as a phe- nomenon, like phenomenal events, then he would be at once subsumed under contradictory notions, and the same things would be at once affirmed and denied of the same object regai'ded under the same aspect. If, however, physical necessity is predicated only of the phenomena, and freedom only of things in themselves, then there is no repugnancy whatever, even although we hold or admit both kinds of causation, how difficult soever, or even impossible, it may be to make comprehensible a causality of this latter sort.

In the sequences of phenomena, every effect is an evenly i. e. something which occurs in time ; and precedent to it must go, agreeably to the general laws of nature, a state of its cause, upon which it follows, according to an universal rule. But this determi- nation of the cause must itself be somewhat which happens or takes place. The cause must itself begin to act, for otherwise no flux could be cogitable betwixt it and its effect ; and the effect would have been for ever, just like its cause. There must therefore be found among the phenomena, the determination of the cause to act ; and therefore both the cause, as well as its effect, is an event



from chaos, or whence, are notorious as the sand-banks on which, from time immemorial, reason in its specu-

which again must be derived from some ulterior cause, and therefore physical necessity must be the condition upon which all efficient causes are determined. If, on the other hand, free- dorji is to be admitted as a property of some causes of pheno- mena, then it must be in respect of the latter as events, a power to originate these by itself alone (sponte) ; i. e. its causality does not itself need to begin, or be originated, so that it requires no further ground to determine its commencement. Now, in such a case, the spontaneous cause cannot stand under conditions of time, i. e, can be in no sense a phenomenon, but must be a thing- in-itself, and its effects alone can be regarded as phenomena. Dare we now, without a contradiction, to ascribe such an influ- ence upon phenomena to our understanding, then it will still be true that physical necessity is to be predicated of the sequences of cause and effect in the world of sense, whereas to that cause which is no phenomenon (although the groundwork of pheno- mena) freedom will be attributed. Necessity and freedom may therefore be predicated of the self-same thing, but in different significations ; in the first as phenomenon, in the second as a thing in itself.

Now, it will appear from ethics that we have a faculty which is not merely connected with subjectively-determining grounds, viz. the physical causes of our actions, and which therefore is so far forth a faculty of a being which does itself rank among the phenomena, but is at the same time connected with objective grounds which are pure ideas, which synthesis is denoted by the word shall. This faculty is called reason ; and, in so far as we regard a being merely according to this objectively-deter- minable reason, it cannot be regarded as a mere sensitive exist- ent, but the aforesaid property is the property of a thing-in-it- self, whereof the possibility is totally incomprehensible, viz. how the SHALL can determine its activity, and become the cause of actions, the effect of which is a phenomenon in the sensible world. But how incomprehensible soever this may be, such


lative course has stranded. Both thesis and antithe- sis are susceptible of proof, and it is in the solution of

causality of i-eason must be, in respect of its effects in the world of sense, freedom, so far forth as objective grounds, which are ideas, are figured as determining it ; for then its acts would de- pend on no subjective conditions, and so on no conditions of time. They would also be absolved from the law of the causal- nexus, which regulates the sequences of events in time ; for grounds of reason assign rules to actions upon principles, irre- spective of any circumstances of time and place.

There is, then, no contradiction in holding that all action of reasonable beings, so far as they are phenomena, and are met with in experience and observation, are subjected to the neces- sary mechanism of the physical system, although the very same action merely referred to the rational subject, and its causality to act upon reason, is free. For what is reqtiired to constitute the necessity of nature ? Nothing farther than the determinable- ness of every sensible event, according to perpetual and imva- ried laws, consequently a reference to a phenomenal cause, where the thing-in-itself, which is its groundwork, remains un- known. I say, then, the laws of nature remain, whether the ra- tional agent is by its reason, i. e. by freedom, cause of the ef- fects produced to sense, or whether its causality is determined upon no ground of reason at all. For if the former happen, then the action happens according to maxims whose phenome- nal eifect must at all times be subject to certain and unvaried laws. If the latter, and the action follow not according to prin- ciples of reason, then it is subjected to the laws of sense, and in either case the effects will follow a necessary rule. More is not needed for physical necessity ; and this is indeed all the knowledge we have of it. But in the former case, reason is the author of the given mechanism, and is on that account still free; in the se- cond the events flow along the railroad of the sensory, reason exercising over them no control at all, remaining equally unaf- fected and undetermined by the sensory, and so still free. Freer dom thferefore does not hinder the necessary nexus of pheno-


this extraordinary antinomy that Kant is considered to have displayed his highest grade of dialectical acu-

mena, as little as does this nexus abridge the freedom of our rea- son, which stands connected with things-in-themselves as its de- termining grounds.

Practical freedom, that freedom in which reason possesses causality upon objectively determining grounds, is therefore vin- dicated ; and yet the physical necessity of its effects as pheno- mena, is not in any way impaired. Freedom and necessity are therefore conjungible ; for, so far as the first is concerned, every origin of the acting of an intelligent on objective grounds, is when regard is had to these determining grounds, a first be- ginning, although the very same action has in the flux of events a SUBALTERN COMMENCEMENT Only, before which a state must have preceded the cause, and determined even it, which state must again have been itself determined by the next preceding : from all which, it results that we can, without any absurdity, as- cribe to intelligents, or indeed to beings so far forth as their causality is determined within them as things-in-themselves, a power of commencing sponte a series of events. For the rela- tion of an act to objective grounds of reason is no relation in time : here that which determines the causality is quoad time not before the act ; for such determining grounds represent no refer- ence of objects to sense, and so not to causes in their phenome- non, but represent determining causes as things in themselves which stand under no conditions of time. Hence an act may be in respect of the causality of reason a first beginning, while yet, in respect of the sequences of phenomena, it is no more than a subordinate commencement, and so be, without any contradic- tion, in the first respect free ; but in the second, as mere phe- nomenon, fettered by the law of the causal-nexus.

As for the fourth antinomy, it is cleared up and explairied in the same manner; for when the cause qua phenomenon is contradistinguished from the cause of phenomena, so far forth as this last may be a thing-in-itself, then both propositions may consist together ; and the thesis would mean, that of the


men. A sketch of this dialectic is given in the note beneath, where the table and accompanying remarks

sensible world, no cause (regulated by like laws of causation) is to be found, whereof the existence is absolutely necessary, and the antithesis would then mean that this world is notwithstand- ing related to a necessary Being as its cause (a cause, however, different in kind, and exempt from the law of the causal se- quences of phenomena), the incompatibility of which two asser- tions depends entirely on the misunderstanding of extending what holds only of phenomena to things-in-themselves, whereby we mix up and confuse both in one foggy idea.

Kant's inference from this table of antinomies is, that since it is quite impossible to escape from such a labyrinth of rea- son, so long as the objects of sense are mistaken for things- in-themselves, and are not recognised to be, as they truly are, phenomena, this debate and dialectic of reason seems to have been implanted in the mind, for the very purpose of telling us, that the world we have to do with in these debates is a pheno^ menon, and to force our cogitations beyond the sensible into the supersensible ; and here we see the entire consistency and coherence of Kant's system in all its parts. The clue to escape from the labyrinth was given us in the discovery that Space and Time are forms of phenomena, and the conclusions then arrived at, from an analysis of the lower power of sense, that we know ob- jects only so far as they appear to us, is now corroborated by the separate and independent investigation just instituted into the nature of reason. Nay, the solution of the dialectic, while it confirms the results obtained from the inquiry, How is ma- thematics possible ? has helped us on a step to the science of ethics, since, by speaking of freedom, a vista is opened into the supersensible, and the transit is already prepared from the mere speculative to practical metaphysic, and to an inquiry into the a priori operations of the will ; and thus the cosmologi- cal debates, long deemed the stronghold of the Sceptic and the opprobrium of reason, are now seen to be the understanding's highest metaphysic good.


are taken from the Prolegomena, p. 142. The brief limits of this Introductory Outline compel me to re- quest my reader to take the arguments 'pro and con for granted ; but indeed they are generally to be found in any Encyclopedia {voce Metaphysic). The point to be observed is, that Kant declares both positions equal- ly tenable : the reason of which is, that both sides of the question proceed on a common mistake, to wit, that of holding the world objected to sense to be a thing in itself, instead of, as it really is, a phenome- non. The debate and seeming antagonism of rea- son with itself is therefore avoided, by duly discrimi- nating betwixt the phenomena and their groundwork, and taking heed that we do not transfer to the uncon- ditioned, predicates, which hold only of the conditioned. Of such vital consequence was the distinction with which we first set out, viz. the ideality of Space and Time as mere forms of phenomena, — a doctrine which led, by necessary consequence, to the further assump- tion of an existence somewhere, of the same things, not as phenomena in Space and Time, but as existencies beyond all bounds of Space and Time whatever, in a world of absolute and unconditioned reality. Hence the theory of Space and Time is a doctrine of the supersensible negatively considered, while cosmology does in its third and fourth antinomy deliver a doc- trine of the supersensible positively. But this posi- tive SUPERSENSIBLE IS only as yet problematically THOUGHT, not assertively known. It is only by


the help of ethic that the understanding achieves its passage from the speculative knowledge of the sen- sible to a practicable knowledge of the supersensible. All the metaphysic taught and sketched under this head can therefore be regarded as no more than formal.

IV. Theology pretended to be the science of the Godhead, so far as pure reason could examine this. It was usually opposed to revealed theology, whose source was supposed to fall altogether beyond the sphere of reason. The three methods of argument which reason took to bring about a science of this idea, were the ontological, the cosmological, and the physico-theological arguments. But the ontological argument may be considered as dismissed, when, as previously stated, ontology is itself an impossibility ; and the same remark holds with regard to the cos- mological argument. Only the third is worthy of examination : it founds on the order and design ob- servable in the material universe, and infers the final causes for which, and the origin ary cause by which, all things were founded. Here, however, as before. Theologians have overstrained the inference. It does not follow that this Intelligence, which is observable, must have been the originator of the matter of the universe. The argument is only valid to support the conclusion of a highly wise and skilful Architect.

The result of this whole inquiry into the reach and extent of the human understanding, is, that specu-


lative reason is utterly unable to support any one proposition which has hitherto been advanced in on- tology, psychology, cosmology, or theology.


PART 11.

OF METAPHYSIC MATERIALLY CONSIDERED. (Critik der reinen praktischen Vernunft.)



As perceptions were divided into singular and uni- versal, so every determinator of choice is either a sin- gular or an universal one. That singulars are exhibit- ed by sense, we know ; universals, by the understand- ing. These denote a rule ; and when the universal is raised by the understanding itself, the universal a parte priori is a rule a priori, i. e. is a law. When the starving cannibal falls upon his victim and devours him, his choice is determined by the sin- gular hunger ; but the representations of reason are general, never singular. The causality of reason is called will, and the function of reason, whereby it as- signs universal determinators to choice, is just this practical causality, whence it results that the will and practical reason are identic. Suppose now that free- dom is a real idea, viz. that freedom is just reason's, i. e. the will's self-consciousness of its own practical spontaneity as a thing-in-itself, then may the idea freedom be explained as an universal law in the abstract ; and since this law refers to actions, it is a PRACTICAL LAW, or, in other words, and as it is com- monly called, the moral law. The idea of an uni- versal practical law in the abstract, when thrown into words, may run in the following tenor : Act from a nujuvim (i. e. a general determinator) at all times Jit for law universal.


But we must now endeavour to represent this legis- lation as actually obtaining a priori. In every case where reason begins to act, it annexes to actions the predicates " righV and " wrongs* and this is a necessary and universal operation of thought. The notion right refers manifestly to law ; and the predi- cate " rectitude" can be annexed to an action, in con- sequence only of such action being subsumed under some law or other, and judged of as in harmony or at variance with it. Again, we remark that the law to which actions are referred as a standard, is cogitated as applicable to every rational being ; and the rule " thou shalt not promise falsely, is valid not only for man, but reason cannot even figure to itself any Intelligent throughout the universe at liberty to de- ceive. Such a rule of conduct is, therefore, recognised not only as necessary, but as possessing likewise uni- versal extent ; arid the legitimacy here predicated of truth has both necessity and universality, i, e. is a priori, and is no perception taken from observation and experience. That reason enjoins every Intelli- gent (i. e. itself) to act rightly, i, e. conformably to an ideal practical law, is from the foregoing to be inferred ; and since the law, being a priori, has ob- jective and universal validity, the formula expressing it may be thus couched : " So act that the maxim of thy will might be announced as law in a system of universal iiwral legislation. That this moral law is a synthetic proposition a priori is obvious, and


every man has, however darkly, an unchanging and necessary perception of it ; so that the question recurs as before, how is such synthetic a p?iori proposition possible. But in the former paragraph we took oc- casion to show, that were the idea freedom real, which transplants us at once into the supersensible system, then this law would necessarily flow from it, as a corollary ; and since we have here expounded the necessity and universality of the law, we conclude regressively upon freedom of will as the alone idea whence we can comprehend the origin and constitu- tion of the imperatives of reason, and apart from freedom, which establishes a synthesis by making mankind a member of two worlds {Chap. Hi. of the Groundwork), the synthetic a priori propositions of morality cannot be explained.

To almost every intellectual representation theref corresponds an emotion of the sensory. Thus to the representing of the mathematical extent of the firma- ment, responds the emotion of the sublime ; to other perceptions, the emotion of the beaiitifu/. To the immediate representing of the moral law corresponds in the sensory the emotion of reverence : and reverence is begotten in the sensory when the moral law is it- self the sole and unconditionate determinator of the will ; and this reverence is the spring or mobile of will. (Chap. V.) Reverence for law is, however, identic with reverence for a man's own self; the law being in fact only the dictate of his own rea-


son, and, which is observable, the law itself gains more easy entrance into the mind from the actual positive worth it gives a man in his own eyes, and the reve- rence it makes him feel for his humanity, now at length conscious of its supersensible dignity and freedom. Upon this emotion of self-reverence every good senti- ment and disposition may be grafted; and when a man dreads nothing so much as the risk of falling under his own contempt, and of finding himself sunk, upon examination, under the ban and self-damnation of his own reason, then is such state and frame of mind the only and the best guard man can have within, against the inroad of ignoble and defiling feelings.

This reverential determination of will is, however, only Jbrmal ; for the law is nowhat except the limi- tation of the will to the conditions of harmony with the idea of law whatsoever, A positive determina- tion of will, and one which is material, must there- fore enter ; for no will can be devoid of ends. But in this case the end must be assigned to the will by the law itself, otherwise, were the end chosen without re- gard had to the law, the determination could not be moral ; an end ordained by the law to be willed is what is called good.

But as, for every series of conditions, reason, in its speculative use, demanded the unconditioned to give systematic unity to its cogitations ; so, in its practical use, reason extends its notion of the good to a maxi-


MUM : and under the name of summum bonum rea- son figures to itself the last end and aim of all its exertions, and insists on knowing, or at least cogitat- ing the unconditioned exit all its good actions are to take.

Now, the end aimed at by reason is absolute mo- rality, or entire conformity with the law ; and the end aimed at by the sensory is happiness. These are by no means inconsistent, and the union of those two as a TOTUM is the last object reason projects as assigned to it ; but yet, in such a manner, that he only who by morality is worthy of happiness, should become a partaker of it.

The EXACT CONFORMITY of the WILL with the LAW is called holiness: this conformity must be regarded as possible, it being no more than what is commanded. But holiness is an ideal of rea- son, and a representation of a maximum, to which nothing adequate can be found as a phenomenon : in other words, no sensitive existent can at any point of time exhibit this required coincidence ; and still, since reason unremittingly calls for the realization of its ideal standard of perfection, the law must be understood as meaning that man has continually to advance in an infinite progression towards its realization — which series, when regarded as exhausted, may amount to an expression tallying with the formula of the law ; and the principles of practical reason make it neces- sary for man to postulate as real this unbroken and


perpetual progression for ever onwards. But an in- creasing approximation of this sort is only possible on the supposition of the continued existence of the agent himself, called the immortality of his soul. Whoso, therefore, determines his will conformably to the law, must, when he reflects on the end aimed at in such volition, postulate for that behoof the con- tinued existence or immortality of his thinking part. But an opinion which a man adopts upon grounds not objective, but subjective only, is not knowledge, but a belief: the morally minded man is, therefore, a believer in the immortality of his soul.

For the same reason, he believes in God, as a per- son upholding a moral order of things, and who will assist him to realise that junction betwixt morality and happiness, which man perceives himself unable at any point of time to effect. Practical reason repre- sents a bent of will regulated upon the law, as the worthiness to become happy, and so cogitates a syn- thesis a priori betwixt virtue and happiness. Again, to bring about such an impartial, disinterested ad- justment, he postulates a last ground somewhere esta- blishing this harmony and necessary dependence of happiness on morality. Now, since the laws of na- ture effect no such establishment and connection, and man has himself no control or power over the physical system, he postulates or believes a Supreme Cause establishing this connection : i. e. mankind observes that the summum bonum is only conceiv-


able by presupposing a causality superior to nature, and different from it, dealing out happiness and misery in exact proportion to desert and guilt. This distributive allotment plainly requires that this cau- sality superior to nature must be guided in his deci- sions by the representation of the law, not only to square the actions of other intelligents, but also that his own award may be consistent with the requisi- tions of the law. But such a person is plainly the ETHICAL LEGISLATOR himself, i. 6. IS GoD. The ethically minded is hence likewise a believer in the existence of a Sovereign Creator and Moral Governor of the World, But this faith in immortality, and in the being of his God, is no knowledge at all about the matter. These two articles in the credenda of reason express merely our conviction, that somehow or other the summum bonum will be eventually re- alized.

Thus, ethic issues in religion, by presenting the will with a new kind of determination, and one which is no longer Jbrmal ; and since the moral law is involved in the conception of the summum bonum, the determination of the will by the idea of the ele- ments of the summum bonum is quite disinterested, although it involves a prospect of happiness. But the two points of religious belief are quite free and unextorted.* There is no constraint, or obligation, or

  • Kant's Preisschrift, p. 115-117.



compulsion to assent to either of them ; and this ethical belief is called ethico-theology. The belief in this ethico-theology possesses in itself a moral worth ; and does, by its re-action on the sub- jective principles of morality within, quicken and en- liven the practical growth of moral conduct, and so entitles mankind to give to such ideas practical in- fluence on his determinations, as if he received them from a given object.*

The result of this whole inquiry into the reach and extent of the a priori operations of the Will is, that, for a practical behoof, 1. a belief in God as the Upholder and Administrator of the moral law is suf- ficiently established ; 2. that freedom, as a super- sensible causality and unconditioned Might of the Human Will to execute its duty, is an idea whose REALITY has been proved; and, 3. that a belief in IMMORTALITY, as a State where mankind's weal and woe will be found adjusted in due proportion to his ethical worth or uuworth, is likewise inevitable. Of these three ethical Ideas of the Supersensible, the reality of freedom alone can be apodictically demon- strated; but since they make up a system among themselves, the real truth of any one being given, draws after it a solid conviction of the real truth of the others.

That is to say, the idea God belongs to ethics alone,

♦ Preisschrift, p. 135.


not to physics, or to any part oi formal metaphysics ; consequently there is an ethical argument for the ex- istence of a moral lawgiver, and an ethical belief of the same, after whicht the physico-theological {strictly teleological) argument may be used and listened to.




The exact sciences bear the most imcontroverted witness to the light, stability, and fixity of the works of reason ; and hence they found not only the hope of achieving still farther systems of synthetic a priori knowledge, but they are likewise the exemplar and pattern of the necessary evidence and certainty upon which every system pretending to be a science ought to be fashioned.

The metaphysic just expounded claims to be such a scientific system, and the reader must have noted with what fidelity it is trained to follow in the foot- steps of its forerunners ; for the inquiry into the a priori operations of the mind consisted in solving these two questions :

(1.) How is mathematics possible ?

(2.) How is physics possible ? these two sciences being the undoubted and ac- knowledged operations a priori, wherein to the in- quiry desires to search. And the answer, that Space and Time are intuitions a priori, satisfied the demand made in the former; while the exhibition of the categories in answer to the latter explained how the physical system itself was possible, and so how a phi- losophy of nature arose. Up to this point, the whole investigation was manifestly a priori ; and as it was


neither mathematical nor yet physical, and yet alto- gether a parte priori, such science is a system of a primi knowledge quite peculiar, and sui generis, i. e. in one word, is transcendental philosophy, or meta- physic.

The inquiry into what the understanding does when it brings about a science, teaches what ought to be done in order to bring about any farther science which may perhaps still be a desideratum ; and in this way having detected the latent and deeply hidden functions of thought exerted in establishing a science, and manifested only by that its marvellous and re- splendent effect, Kant was enabled to cause a new science to step forward into sight, the Science of Ethics, which he fashioned in every point, after the light, and stability, and evidence of those others, when he threw out the third question, viz. How is a categorical im- perative a priori possible ? This ethic is, however, itself metaphysic, being only a shoot from the roots of metaphysic laid open by those prior disquisitions.

The system of metaphysic ethic is now laid before the reader ; and the falsehood of every other system of metaphysic, which may usurp the name of science, will become patent, when this standard test is brought to bear upon it,— How is synthetical a priori KNOWLEDGE POSSIBLE : for the fiiture metaphysic must first confute Kant's answer to the question. How geometry and physical science are attained ; it must next give a different and satisfactory answer to


those questions, and so pave the way for the march of the new coming metaphysic. Where this is not done {and in a case of this kind, silence is confession), the system must needs of necessity be false ; and the advantage of knowing this beforehand is, that hence- forward mankind may spare themselves the lost time and trouble of reading theories like those of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, or Herbart, which, being founded on wilful mistakes, keep moving ever after thjough a sad labyrinth of inextricable errors.











There is nothing in the world which can be termed absolutely and altogether good, a good will alone ex- cepted. Intellectual endowments, wit, and extent of fancy, as also courage, determination, and constancy in adhering to purposes once formed, are undeniably good in many points of view ; but they are so far from being absolutely good, that they are qualities capable of being rendered bad and hurtful, when the will, under whose control they stand, is not itself absolutely good. With the bounties of fortune it is no otherwise ; power, wealth, ho- nours, even health, and those various eleinents which go to constitute what is called happiness, are occasionally seen to fill the mind with arrogance, and to beget a lordly and assuming spirit, when there is not a good will to control


their influence, and to subordinate them, by stable maxims of conduct, to the final scope and end of reasonable agents. Nay, so paramount is the value of a good will, that it ought not to escape without notice, that an impartial spectator cannot be expected to share any emotion of de- light from contemplating the uninterrupted prosperity of a being whom no trait of a good will adorns. And thus it would appear, that, reason being judge, a good will con- stitutes a prior condition, without which no one is deemed worthy to be happy.

There are qualities which greatly aid and strengthen a good will ; but they have not any inward worth of their own, and will be found always to presuppose a good will, which limits the praise they deservedly carry, and prevents us from regarding them as absolutely and in every respect good. Temperance, self-command, and calm considera- tion, are not only good for many things, but even seem to compose part of the worth of personal character. There is, however, much awanting to enable us to designate them altogether good, notwithstanding the encomiums passed upon them by the ancients. For, apart from the maxims of a good will, they may be perverted ; and a calm, re- solute, calculating villain, is rendered at once more dan- gerous and more detestable by possessing such qualities.

Ilstf A good will is esteemed to be so, not by the effects which it produces, nor by its fitness for accomplishing any given end, but by its mere good volition, i. e. it is good in it- self; and is therefore to be prized incomparably higher for its own sake, than any thing whatsoever which can be pro- duced at the call of appetite or inclination. Even if it should happen that, owing to an unhappy conjuncture of events, this good will were deprived of power to execute


its benign intent, still this good will (by which is not meant a wish) would, like a diamond, shine in itself, and by virtue of its native lustre. Utility or uselessness could neither enhance nor prejudice this internal splendour: they resemble the setting of a gem, whereby the brilliant is more easily taken in the hand, and offered to the atten- tion of those not otherwise judges, but which would not be required by any skilled lapidary to enable him to form his opinion of its worth.

fi • Still this idea of an absolutely good will, and the state- ment just advanced of its unconditioned worth, quite ir- respective of any considerations of its expediency or con- duciveness to use, startles the mind a little, and gives birth to the suspicion that these opinions may be founded only on some phantastic conceit ; and that we mistake the end proposed by nature, when we imagine that reason is given to man as the governor of his will — ^by its sway to consti- tute it altogether good.

To make this matter as clear as possible, let it be re- membered that it is a^undamental position in all philo- sophy, that no— mean s are employed, except~tKose only most appropriate and conducive to the end and aim pro- posed. If, then, the final aim of nature in the constitution of man {i. e. a being endowed with intelligence and will) had been merely his general welfare and felicity, then we must hold her to have taken very bad steps indeed, in selecting reason for the conduct of his life ; for the whole rule and line of action necessary to procure happiness would have been more securely gained by instinct than we observe it to be by reason. And should her favoured creature have received reason over and aboA^e, and in superaddition to its instincts, such gift could only have


answered the purpose of enabling it to observe, admire, and feel grateful for the fortunate arrangement and dis- position of the parts of its system ; but never of subject- ing the appetitive faculties to the weak and uncertain guidance of the contemplative. In a single word, nature would have taken care to guard against reason's straying into any practical department, and would have prevented it from daring, with its scanty insights, to project any schemes of happiness, and to sketch plans for attaining them. Both end and means behoved, on this supposition, to have been determined exclusively by nature, and to have been intrusted to instinctive impulses implanted by herself.

So far is this, however, from what is in fact observed, that the more a man of refined and cultivated mind ad^ diets himself to the enjoyment of life, and his own studied gratification, the farther he is observed to depart from true contentment : and this holds true to so great an extent, that some have acknowledged they felt a certain hatred of reason, because they could not conceal from themselves, that, upon a deliberate calculation of the advantages aris- ing from the most exquisite luxuries, not of the sensory merely, but likewise of the understanding (for in many cases science is no more than an intellectual luxury), they had rather increased their sources of uneasiness than really made progress in satisfactory enjoyment ; and felt inclined rather to envy than think lightly of those inferior condi- tions of life, where man comes nearer to the tutelage of in- stinct, and is not much embarrassed by suggestions of reason as to what ought to be pursued or avoided, — a cir- cumstance furnishing us with a key to explain the senti- ments of those who state at zero the pretences of reason to afford satisfaction and enjoyment, and enabling us to


understand that they do so not out of spite or Aigratitude towards the benign Governor of the world, but that there lies at the bottom of so rigid and severe a reckoning, the idea of a far higher and nobler end aimed at in man's exist- ence ; and that this it is, not happiness, for which reason is bestowed, and in exchange for which all private ends are to be renounced.

For, since reason is insufficient to guide the will so as to obtain adequate objects of enjoyment and the satisfac- tion of all our wants, and innate instinct would have reached this end more effectually, and yet reason is be- stowed on man as a practi cal faculty of action, i. e. such a faculty as influences his will and cTibice, it remains that the true end for which reason is implanted, is to pro- duce a will good, not as a mean toward some ulterior end, but good in itself. This will is to be considered, not the only and whole good, but as the highest good, and the condition limiting every other good — even happiness ; and in this case it quite coincides with the intentions of nature, that a high cultivation of reason should fail in producing happiness, this last being under the condition, i. e. subordinated to the production, of the first, viz. a good will, which is the absolute and unconditional scope and end of man ; and yet, that in so failing, there should be no inconsistency in the general plan of nature, because reason, re^ognisingits-deatined use tojconsist in the foun- daUion^fa_gpod will, is only susceptible of a peculiar satis- faction, viz. the satisfaction resulting from the attainment of a final end, given alone by reason, and given indepen- dently and witRouT~respect to the objects proposed by inclination. In order to explain tlie conception of a good will, so highly to be prized in and for itself (and it is a \



notion common to the most uncultivated understanding), which it is alone that makes actions of any worth, we shall analyse the jnotion jliity ; a notion comprehend- ing undeFTrihat of a good will, considered however as affected hy certain inward hinderances 5 hut these last, str- far from ohscuring the radical goodness of the volition, render it more conspicuous hy the contrast*

In proceeding to examine the cognate notion Duty, I omit all actions confessedly at variance with it, how expedient soever, and useful, and conducive to this or that end ; for, with regard to them, no question can he made, whether they have heen performed out of duty, it being already admitted that they collide with it. I also leave out of this investigation actions which are in accordance with duty, but are performed from some by-views or oblique incentives of appetite and inclination ; the dif- ference cannot be overlooked when an action is performed upon motives of private interest, and when upon a dis- interested principle of duty ; but the difference is not so easily detected when an action is in harmony with the requirements of duty, and the agent is likewise at the same time strongly biassed by the constitution of his na- ture to its performance. Thus, it is consonant to duty that a merchant do not overcharge his customers ; and, wherever trade flourishes, every prudent trader has one fixed price, and a child can buy as cheaply as any other person. In this way the public are honestly dealt by ; but that does not entitle us to hold that the trader so acted out of duty, and from maxims of honesty ; his own pri- vate advantage calledfor this line of conduct ; and it were too much to suppose that he was so charitable as to deal fairly with all comers, out of pure benevolence ; in which


case his conduct resulted neither from a principle of duty, nor from affection towards his customers, hut from self- love and a view to his own advantage.

Again, to preserve one's life is a duty ; and, indepen- dently of this, every man is, by the constitution of his sys- tem, strongly inclined to do so : and, upon this very ac- count, that anxious care shown by most men for their own safety is void of any internal worth ; and the max- im from which such care arises is destitute of any moral import {i. e. has no ethic content). Men in so far pre- serve their lives conformably to what is duty, but they do it not because it is so ; whereas, when distress and secret sorrow deprive a man of all relish for life, and the suffer- er, strong in soul, and rather indignant at his destiny than dejected or timorous, would fain seek death, and yet es- chews it, neither biassed by inclination nor by fear, but swayed by duty only, then his maxim of conduct posses- ses genuine ethic content. To be beneficent when in one's power is a duty; and, besides this, some few are so sympathetically constituted, that they, apart from any motives of vanity or self-interest, take a serene pleasure in spreading joy ai'ound them, and find a reflex delight in that satisfaction which they observe to spring from their kindness. I maintain, however, that in such a case the action, how lovely soever, and outwardly coincident with the call of ^duty , is entir ely devoid of true mora l worth, and r ises no higher than actio n s founded on o ther affections, e. g. a thirst for glory, which happening to con- cur with public advantage, and a man's own duty, enti- tles certainly to praise and high encouragement, but not to ethic admiration. For the inward maxims of the man are void of ethical content, viz. the inward cast and bent


of the volition to act and to perform these, not from incli- nation, but from duty only. Again, to take a farther case, let us suppose the mind of some one clouded by sorrow, so as to extinguish sympathy, — and that though it still re- mained in his power to assist others, yet that he were not moved by the consideration of foreign distress, his mind being wholly occupied by his own, — and that in this condi- tion he, with no appetite as an incentive, should rouse himself from this insensibility, and act beneficently purely out of duty,^ — then would such action have real moral worth; and yet further, had nature given this or that man little of sympathy in his temperament, leaving him callous to the miseries of others, but, instead, endowed him with force of mind to support his own sorrows, and so induced him to consider himself entitled to presuppose the same qualities in others, would it not be possible for such a man to give himself a far higher worth than that of mere good nature ? Certainly it would ; for just at this point all worth of character begins which is moral and the highest, viz. to act beneficently, irrespective of inclination, because it is a duty.

To secure one's own happiness is indirectly a duty ; for dissatisfaction with one's lot, and exposure to want and penury, might easily become occasions of temptation to overstep the limits prescribed by duty ; but, prior to and apart from all considerations of duty, mankind have a strong and powerful appetency to their own happiness (happiness being in fact the gratification of all the ap- petites whatsoever), only the access to this happiness is so rugged and toilsome, that in passing along it, many appe- tites, with their gratifications, have to be surrendered; and the sum total of the gratification of all the appetites call-


ed happiness is a notion so vague and indeterminate, that we cannot wonder how one definite and given appetite should, at such time as its inebriate gratification is possi- ble, entirely outweigh a faint conception (of happiness) only obscurely depicted in the mind. Hence we under- stand why a patient with gout chooses to satiate his appe- tite, and then to suflFer as he best can ; for, in his general estimate, the present enjoyment appears equal to his ex- pectation (perhaps groundless) of some general happiness called health. But even in such a case as this, where the bent of inclination does not excite to secure happiness as consisting mainly in health, still the command of rea- son remains to promote one's own health, not because man likes it, but because it is his duty; in which last case alone his actions have any moral worth.

It is thus, without all question, that we are to under- stand those passages of Scripture, where it is ordained that we love our neighbour, even our enemy ; for, as an affection, love cannot be commanded or enforced, but to act kindly from a principle of duty can, not only where there is no natural desire, but also where aversion irresis- tibly thrusts itself upon the mind ; and this would be a practical love, not a pathological liking, and would con- sist in the original volition, and not in any sensation or emotion,of the sensory ; a practical love, resulting from maxims of practical conduct, and not from ebullitions and overflowings of the heart.

2d, The second position is, that an action done out of duty has its moral worth, not from any purpose it may subserve, but from the maxim according to which it is determined on ; it depends not on the effecting any given end, but on the principle of volition singly. That the


end aimed at in a given action cannot impart to it abso- lute moral worth, is, from the foregoing, plain. Wherein, then, consists this value, if it is not to be placed in the re- lation of the will to its effected action ? It can consist only in the r elation betwixt th e will and the ^ principle or maxim^according to wHich the volition was constructed, and this apart from all regard had to any ends attainable by the action, for the will lies in the midst betwixt its formal principle oprtore, and the material appetites apos- teriori ; and since the choice must be determined by some- thing, the principle a priori alone remains, all a posteriori considerations being taken away when actions are to be performed from duty only.

3c?, The third position results from the two preceding. Duty is the necessity of an act, out of reverence felt for law. Towards an object, as effect of my own will, I may have inclination, but never reverence ; for it is an effect, not an activity of will. Nay, I cannot venerate any incli- nation, whether my own or another's. At the utmost I can approve or like. That alone which is the basis and not the effect of my will can I revere ; and what subserves not my inclinations, but altogether outweighs them, i. e. the law alone, is an object of reverence, and so fitted to be a commandment. Now, an action performed out of (propter) duty has to be done irrespective of all appetite whatsoever; and hence there remains nothing present to the will, except objectively law,^ and subjectively pure reverence* for

• Perhaps some may think that I take refuge behind an obscure feel- ing, under the name of reverence, instead of throwing light upon the subject by an idea of reason. But although reverence is a feeling, it is no passive feeling received from without, but an active emotion gene- rated in the mind by an idea of reason, and so specifically distinct from all feelings of the former sort, which are reducible to either love or fear.


it, inducing man to adopt this unchanging maxim, to yield obedience to the law, renouncing all excitements and emo> tions to the contrary.

The moral worth of an action consists therefore not in the effect resulting from it, and consequently in no principle of acting taken from such effect ; for since all these effects (e. g. amenity of life, and advancing the well- fare of our fellow-men) might have been produced by other causes, there were no sufficient reason calling for the intervention of the will of a reasonable agent, wherein, however, alone is to be found the chief and unconditional good. It is therefore nothing else than the representation of the law itself — a thing possible singly by Intelligents — which, and not the expected effect, determining the will, constitutes that especial good, we call moral, which re- sides in the person, and is not waited for until the ac- tion follow.

What I immediately apprehend to be my law, I recognise to be so with reverence, which word denotes merely the consciousness of the immediate, unconditional, and unreserved subordination of my will to the law. The immediate determination of the will by the law, and the consciousness of it, is called reverence, and is regarded, not as the cause, but as the effect, of the law upon the person. Strictly speaking, reverence is the repre- sentation of a worth before which self-love falls ; it cannot, therefore, be regarded as the object of either love or fear, although it bears analogy to both. The object of reverence is therefore alone the law, and in par- ticular that law which, though put by man upon himself^ is yet not- withstanding in itself necessary. As law, we find ourselves subjected to it without interrogating self-love ; yet as imposed upon us by ourselves, it springs from our own will ; and in the former way resembles fear, in the latter love. Reverence, even when felt for a person, results from the law whereof that person gives us the example (Cato, of integrity). If to cultivate talents be a duty, then we figure to ourselves a learned man, as if he presented to our view the image of law, enjoining us to be conformed to his example, and thus our reverence for him arises. What is called a moral interest, is based solely on this emotion.


But the question now presents itself, What kind of law is that, the representation of which must alone determine the will, if this last is to be denominated absolutely and al- together good ? Since I have deprived the will of every spring resulting from obedience to any one given parti- cular law, there remains nothing except the form of law in general, which can serve as the mobile of the will ; which ideal legality, reduced to words, is couched in the following formula : " Act from a maxim at all times fit for law universal." Here nothing is expressed except gene- ral legality (dispensing with any particular law pointing to any given act), which serves the will for its determin- ing principle, and which must in truth do so, unless the whole notion of duty is to be abandoned as chimerical and absurd. The above position is in entire unison with the notices of the most untutored reason ; and the princi- ple of universal fitness is, however darkly, ever present to the mind. A few examples will set this beyond doubt.

Let the question be put, if, when in difiiculty, I may not promise, although determined to act otherwise than I say, — and every one will at once see the vast distinction betwixt an inquiry, whether or no it be prudent, and whether it be right {i. e. conformable to laws of duty), to promise deceitfully. That it were cleverly done is quite conceivable ; nay, it would require much adroitness, since it were not enough, by this evasion, to secure for once my by-ends and interests, but it would be requisite to ponder the posterior disadvantages, and to study whether the consequences of this deceit might not issue in depriv- ing mankind of all confidence in me, — an evil perhaps gi-eater than that from which I proposed rescuing myself. So that it might be needful to consider if it were not,


even in point of prudence, better to act from a maxim pos- sessed of universal fitness, which could serve me for ever, and to adopt the principle, nev^er to promise apart from the intention to perform. But still, in this latter event, it is obvious that the maxim were based on an apprehen- sion of the troublesome consequences attendant on decep- tion ; and it is quite different to adhere to truth out of a principle of duty, and to adhere to it from an apprehen- sion of unpleasant sequents. In the former case, the very notion of speaking truth involves in it its own law, com- manding how to act ; the second compels me to look be- yond the action, to ascertain how I may be affected by it. For, when I swerve from the principle of duty, I know for certain my action to be evil ; but if a maxim of pru- dence (expediency) only be departed from, I cannot tell whether the result may not fall out highly conducive to my advantage, although the safer plan were to abide by it. Now, in order to know whether a deceitful promise consists with duty, I put the question, Can I will my maxim (to free myself from embarrassment by a false promise) law, in a code or system of universal moral le- gislation ? and the answer is, that the thing is impossi- ble ; for it were then vain for any one to say what he would do, others not believing the declaration, and repay- ing one another after the same fashion ; consequently my maxim, if elevated to the rank of law, would become self-destructive and inconsistent, i. e. unfit for law uni- versal.

• What, therefore, I have to do, in order that my volition be morally good, requires no great acuteness. How in- experienced soever in the course of external nature, I only ask, Canst thou will thy maxim to become law uni-


versal ? If not, it is to be rejected, and that not on ac- count of any disadvantages emerging to thyself and others, but because it is unfit for law in a system of universal moral legislation. For this potential legislation, reason forces me to entertain immediate disinterested reverence. And though we do not yet descry on what this emotion is founded, still we understand thus much of it, that it is the representing a worth far transcending the value of whatever is addressed to appetite and inclination ; and that the necessity of an act out of pure reverence for the law, is that which constitutes duty, before the represen- tation of which law every other mobile recedes; that being the condition of a will good in itself, the worth of which is above all.

And now we have evolved the principle whereon de- pend the common ethic notices we find mankind gene- rally possessed of; a principle not of course cogitated in this abstract form, but which is notwithstanding, how darkly soever, always at hand, and made use of daily by all mankind in their common practical opinions and judg- ments. The task were easy to show how, with the aid of this principle for a compass, reason can in every instance steer for good and evil, and all this without teaching man- kind any thing new or unknown ; provided only, as Socra- tes did, we made reason attentive to her own latent opera- tions ; and consequently, how we stand in no need of sci- ence or philosophy to know what it behoves us to do that we may become honest and good, nay, even wise and vir- tuous. This might have been surmised from the nature of the case, that an acquaintance with what was to be done, which for that reason it concerned every man to know, would have lain at the door of the most common


person. Nor can we sufficiently admire how the practi- cal and active powers of man are so much more easily ex- ercised than we find the same powers to be in their theo- retic and speculative use ; for whenever untutored rea- son ventures upon this last, and quits the field of expe- rience and observation, she gets involved on the instant in the incomprehensible, and becomes entangled in her own operations, or, however, errs through a labyrinth of inextricable doubt and uncertainty. But as soon as man has for a practical end excluded all a posteriori motives (every mobile taken from experience and observation) from the action of the moral law, then it is that his rea- son, all untutored as it may be, shows itself in the great- est vigour ; it becomes even subtile, and chicanes with its own conscience as to the demands of duty, or sometimes may seek for its own instruction to determine accurately the worth of actions, and, what isilhe point to be observ- ed, may expect to do so as successfully as any sage ; nay, may solve such practical questions better ; for the philoso- pher can, after all, have no other principles to proceed on, than what the unlettered aud vulgar have ; and his deci- sion stands in hazard of being biassed by a multitude of foreign considerations, and so of deflecting from the right road to truth. And this leads us again to the further question, if, since all this is so, it were not better to leave these ethic notions unphilosophized upon ; at least to bring in the aid of science only to make the system more complete, or to assign rules for the purpose of polemical debate ; but not to employ it for any practical behoof, and so distort the common sense of mankind from its native innocence and simplicity.

Innocence is indeed invaluable, but then it does not


know how to defend itself, and is easily seduced. Hence it comes, that even wisdom (which consists not in knowledge, so much as in what man practically pursues and avoids) stands in need of aid from science, not to learn any thing, but to procure an inlet and stable foundation for her de- crees. Man feels within him a mighty counterpoise against those edicts of duty which reason represents to be so highly august and venerable ; a counterpoise arising from his physical wants and instincts, the aggregate gra- tification of all which he calls happiness. Reason, how- ever, unremittingly issues her inexorable command, and holds out to the appetencies no prospect or promise of any sort ; and so seems to disregard and hold for nought their tumultuous and yet plausible claims, although these are not put to silence by the law. From this there results a dialectic within a man's own self, i. e. a propensity or proneness to quibble ikvay these rigid laws of duty; at least to raise doubts as to their extent and severity, and to shape them, if possible, into a form coinciding with man's appetites and wants ; that is, in other words, to corrupt at the source the fountain of duty, and to tarnish and cloud all its dignity, which, however, again reason comes to revolt at, and disapproves.

We see, then, how it happens that even unlettered and vulgar reason is forced to step from home, and enter the fields of practical philosophy ; not certainly to satisfy a speculation (by no fit of which the reason of the vulgar, so long as he is sane, is at any time invaded), but in or- der to be resolved as to her practical doubts, and to gain information there as to the origin and foundation of her own principles, and to be enabled to fix their weight and importance, when contrasted with those other maxims


which rest siugly on appetite and want, and so to be ex- tricated from the double embarrass caused by these two- fold claims, and shun the hazard of making peril of ge- nuine ethic principles. And as reason, in its speculative use, fell into a dialectic with itself, in the same way we find that the practical reason, even of the unlettered, ar- rives unawares at the same antagonism with itself. Nor can either the one or other hope to attain security and re- pose, except by instituting an accui*ate inquiry into the reach and extent of their own a priori functions and ope- rations.




Hitherto we have investigated the notion duty, as we found it occurring in everyday practice ; but it must not on that account be fancied that we have been occupied with a mere a posteriori notion. On the contrary, when we attend to what experience teaches of the conduct of mankind, we hear many complaints, the justice of which we must admit, that no certain instance can be adduced, of actions flowing from the inward bent of the will, to act singly out of regard to duty ; since, even in the cases where an action is quite in accordance with what duty would demand, experience and observation leave it entirely in doubt how far the action emanated from a principle of duty, and so possessed any moral worth. Accordingly philosophers have at all times been found who denied the real existence of such inward dutiful intent, and who have insisted on ascribing all to self-love ; not that they called in question the accuracy of the idea of morality, but regretted rather the frailty and improbity of human nature, which, while so noble as to start from the con- templation of so highly reverend an idea, was at the same time too weak to keep moving in its track, and employed reason, the legislator and governor of the will, to no other end than to adjust and settle the discordant claims of appetite and passion.


So little, in fact, is this notion borrowed from experience and observation, that it is utterly impossible to assign any instance where the maxims Oi an action outwardly conformable to duty rested singly upon moral grounds, and flowed directly from the representation of its law : and although there are unquestionably cases where, after the severest self-examination, we can discover nothing but the ethic sway of duty sufficiently mighty to have moved the will to this or that action, and to such vast self-de- nials ; still we are unable to conclude that self-love may not have co-operated with the law, or that somewhat as- suming the place and likeness of duty may not, after all, have been the real determining ground of acting ; where- upon we falsely ascribe to ourselves the nobler motive, although in point of fact the most sifting scrutiny cannot carry us into those secret springs. Since, where question is made of the moral worth of a person, the question turns not on what we see, but on the inward principle regulat- ing the causality of the will ; and to this no experience and observation can extend.

It is impossible to do a greater service to those who laugh to scorn the idea of absolute morality, as fantastical and absurd, than to admit that duty and its cognate no- tions are a postermri^ and taken from observation and ex- perience (a position extended by some, out of sheer indo- lence, to all perceptions whatsoever) ; for then we prepare for them a certain triumph. I am ready to grant that the major part of our actions coincide with duty : on exa- mining, however, the aim and designs of mankind, self is generally found predominant, and actions spring from self, not from the stern law which in most cases ordains self-denial. Nor need he be deemed an enemy to virtue.


bat a calm observer simply — not inclined to mistake his good hopes of mankind for the reality he wishes — who may at times be led to doubt whether genuine virtue is anywhere to be found throughout the world ; and, in such a state of things, nowhat can guard against our to- tal apostacy from the idea duty, and uphold in our soul reverence for its law, except the clear insight — that even although there never yet were actions emanating from this pure source, that cannot affect the question : since we do not now inquire what phenomena may in fact happen, but whether or not reason, irrespective of all phenomena, legislate for herself, and ordain what ought to happen ? i. e. whether reason do not unremittingly call for conduct, whereof perhaps the world never yet saw an ex- ample, and the practicability of which would be doubted or denied by those who advance singly on experience and observation ? — and the consequent conviction that, — dis- interested friendship (for example) is not the less justly expected from mankind, although possibly there may never yet have been any moral friends, — friendship being a duty indicated as such, independently of and prior to all expe- rience, and given with the idea of a will determined a priori upon grounds of reason.

Again, when it is added, that unless whei'e morality is totally denied, no one doubts that its law is figured to be of catholic extent, and valid, not adventitiously or con- tingently, but absolutely and necessarily, and that not merely for man, but for every intelligent nature ; such universality and necessity reminds us at once that no ex- pei'iment or observation could even suggest to us the possibility of thinking such an apodictic legislation. Nor rould we have any right to bring into unlimited reverence,


as an edict addressed to every Rational, a law dependent on the particular and accidental structure of humanity ; nor could we hold laws determining our will, for laws determining all wills, regarding them in fact on this last account alone as likewise laws for us, were their origin in experience and observation, and were they not entire- ly originated by the pure a priori spontaneity of practical reason.

Nor can morality fall into the hands of worse defenders than when it happens into the hands of those who attempt to found it on examples ; for every example given to me of it must first be compared with a principle and stan- dard of morality, to know if it be worthy of being elevat- ed to the rank of an archetype or pattern, and so of course cannot originate in us the notion. Even the Holy One in the gospel is only recognised to be so when compared with our ideal of moral excellence. So much is this the case, that he himself said. Why call ye me (whom ye see) good ? there is none good (the archetype of it) but God only (whom ye do not see). Whence this idea God, as the supreme archetypal good ? singly from that idea of ethical perfection, evolved by reason a priori, and connected by it indissolubly to the notion of a free will. Imitation has no place in morals- Examples serve only to encourage to moral practice, — to put beyond doubt the possibility of performing those duties unremittingly commanded by the law, — and to exhibit to sense, in a tangible and outward substance, what the legislation of reason expresses only in the abstract and general ; but their use is perverted when their original in reason is overlooked, and conduct regu- lated upon the model of the example.

If there be no genuine and supreme principle of mora-


lity given apart from all observation and experience, and resting upon reason only, then I think it were idle so much as to inquire if it were 'good to treat these a priori notions, and to deliver their principles in the abstract ; un- less indeed we merely wished to separate betwixt the com- mon ethic notions of the unlettered, and a system of them which might aspire to be called philosophical. And yet in the present age this last may well be necessary ; for were we to collect voices as to whether a popular practi- cal philosophy, or metaphysic of ethics (t. e. rational cog- nition divested of every a posteriori part), were more eligi- ble, I know full well on which side I should find most votes.

To accommodate a science to the common conceptions of the people is highly laudable, when once the science has been established on first principles ; and that, in the present case, would amount to founding ethics on tlieir true basis, metaphysics ; after which a popular dress may carry and spread the science more widely; but to attempt such a thing in a first investigation is folly. Not only would such procedure have no claim to the signal and rare merit of true philosophic popularity, but it would lie open to the objection of amounting to no more than an odious and revolting mixture of random remarks, crude and half-fledged opinions, — a mad attempt, which would furnish the shallow with materials to talk of and quote in conversation, but which could only embarrass the more profound, who, dissatisfied, avert their eyes, and remain unaided ; although those who see through the illusion are little listened to when they insist on the abandonment of a futile popularity in order to become then only popular when clear and definite insight has been attained.


To illustrate this remark, it were only requisite to exa- mine popular modern treatises which have been got up in this taste, and we find at one time the destiny of man, which is particular, at another, the idea of an intel- ligent nature, which is general, — here perfection, there happiness, — then somewhat of the moral sense, and of the fear of God, — all mixed up in one huge heterogeneous mass. But nowhere do the authors seem to have impinged upon the cardinal question, whether principles of morality were to be sought for in the psycology of human nature ? (which we know only from experience and observation), — or whe- ther, if this be not the case, they are not to be met with wholly a priori in pure ideas of reason, and nowhere else ? Nor did it ever occur to them, in this last event, to com- mence an investigation of these first principles, as a par- ticular and separate department of philosophic science, called, if I may be allowed the expression, " metaphysic* of ethics," — to isolate and keep it by itself, in order to ex- haust and complete its entire circuit and extent, — divert- ing in the mean time a public impatient for popularity till the issue and conclusion of the investigation.

Such a system of metaphygic ethics, isolated and clear- ed of all theology, anthropology, physics, hyperphysics, and occult qualities, which I may call hypophysics, is not merely a substratum indispensable for all theoretic know- ledge in the department of duty, but is likewise a main

" As pure mathematics and logic are distinguished from the same sciences when mixed, the pure philosophy of morals (metaphysic of ethics) may be distinguished from the " mixed" i. e. when applied to hu- man nature and its phenomena. Such an appellative reminds us that the principles of ethics cannot be founded on any peculiarity in man's nature, but must demand an establishment a priori, whence will flow a practical rule of life valid for all Intelligents, and so for man likewise.


desideratum towards the actual fulfilment of its law ; for the naked representation duty, unadulterated with any foreign charms, in short the moral law itself, is so much stronger a mobile to the will than any other motive, that reason first learns by this method her own causal-force and indepe ndency on every sensitive determinator ; until at lengthft(!waking fully to the consciousness of her own su- premacy and dignity, she scorns to act from any such, and comes in the sequel to be able to control and to command them ,• which things a system of ethics, not defecated from the emotions of the sensory, cannot effect; for there the mind is at once perturbed by opposing causes, and is for- ced to waver betwixt feelings and ideas which cannot be reduced to any common principle, and is accordingly, ow- ing to this instability and uncertainty, led sometimes wrong — sometimes right.

From the above it is clear that all ethical ideas have their origin and seat altogether a priori in reason (in the reason of the unlettered, of course, as much as in that of the most finished sage), that they are not susceptible of explanation upon any a posteriori system ; that in this highjonm source consists their dignity and title to be su- preme practical principles of life; thatihe addition of any posteriori motive lessens their native force upon the will, and destroys to that extent the absolute unconditioned worth of the action ; and that it is absolutely necessary, in adjusting the speculative theory of ethics, as well as of the last practical importance in the conduct of life, to deduce the laws and ideas of morality from naked reason, to deliver these pure arid unmixed, and to examine and exhaust the whole circuit of this originary science of reason {?• e. to ihvestigate the a priori functions and operations of reasonj



as a practical faculty of action) : in which investigation we cannot, as in speculative philosophy, examine the par- ticular operations of the human reason, but are forced to examine reason as such, abstractedly and apart from the nature of man ; the moral law having ethical virtue to oblige all will whatsoever, and so demanding a deduc- tion from the abstract notion of intelligent existence. And in this way alone can ethics (which, in their applica- tion to man, stand in need of anthropology) be fully clear- ed and purged of this last, rendered a pure philosophy, andsofit to be prelected on as an entire metaphysic science; bearing, the while, well in mind, that, apart from possess- ing such metaphysic, not only is it vain to attempt to de- tect speculatively the ethical part of given actions, but that it is impossible, in ethical instruction {i. e. in the most common practical case), to base morality on its true foun- dation, to eflfcctuate genuine moral sentiments, and deter- mine the mind, by the idea of the summum bonum, to ex- ert itself onwards toward the advancement of the general welfare of humanity.

Now, to advance in this investigation from the common opinions, Avhich are highly venerable, to the philosophi- cal, as was done in the former chapter, and from that popular tentative philosophy which I have just denoun- ced, up to a system of metaphysics containing no a pos- teriori part, and rising in its course even to ideas where all examples fall away, it is needful to pursue reason in its active function, from its general law of determina- tion, up to that point where the notion duty is evolved.

Every thing in the world acts according to laws ; an Intelligent alone has the prerogative of acting according to ihc representation of laws, i. e, has a will : and since


to deduce actions fi*om laws, reason is required, it follows that will js_ii othing e lse than practical reason. When reason invariably determines the will, then the agent's actions which are recognised as objectively necessary, are subjectively necessary too ; that is, tHe will is then a fa- culty to choose that only which reason, independently on appetite, recognises to be practically necessary, i. e. good. But if reason do not itself alone determine the will, and the will be subjected to inward impediments and stimuli not always in unison with the law, — in one word, if reason and the will do not exactly tally (as is the case with man), — then are the actions recognised as objectively necessary, subjectively contingent ; and the de- termination of such a will, conformably to objective laws, is necessitation ; that is, the relation obtaining betwixt objective laws and a will not altogether good, is repre- sented as the determining an Intelligent's will upon grounds of reason, but to which the will is not by its na- ture necessarily conformed.

The representation of an objective principle, so far as it necessitates the will, is called a commandment (of rea- son) ; and a formula expressing such is called an impe- rative.

All impei'atives are expressed by the words " shall or ought, and thus denote the relation obtaining betwixt an objective law of reason, and a will so constituted as not to be necessarily determined by it (necessitation). They say that somewhat were good to be pursued or avoided, but they say so to a will not always acting be- cause it is represented to him that somewhat is good. That is practically good which determines the will by the intervention of a representation of reason, i. e. not by


force of subjective stimulants, but objectively, i. e. upon grounds valid for every Intelligent as such. In this respect the good differs from the agreeable,* which last affects the will by means of subjective sensations, valid for the parti- cular taste of individuals only ; not like a principle of rea- son, which is possessed of universal validity.

A perfectly good will would, equally with a defective one, come to stand under objective laws (of good) ; but with this difference, that it cannot be regarded as neces- sitated by the law to the legal action, — its very nature be- ing such as to render it capable of determination only by the representation of what is good. Hence no imperative is valid for the Divine Will, nor indeed for any will figur- ed to be Holy. Thou shalt were misapplied to such a will — the will being already spontaneously in harmony with the law. An imperative is then no more than a formu- la, expressing the relation betwixt objective laws of vo- lition and the subjective imperfection of particular wills (e. g. the human).

  • The dependency of the will on sense is called appetite, and it al-

ways indicates a want or need ; but the dependency of the will on prin- ciples of reason is called an interest. This last obtains, therefore, only in a dependent will, not spontaneously conformed to reason. To the Di- vine Will no interest can be ascribed ; the human will may take an inte- rest in an action, without on that accoimt acting out of interest ; the first is the practical interest taken in an action ; the second would be the pathological interest taken in the end aimed at by the action. The former indicates merely the dependency of the will on reason as such; the se- cond dependency on rational principles subserving an appetite, i. e. where reason assigns a rule how the wants oi appetite may be best appeased. In the first case, the action interests me, in the second the object of the ac- tion (in so far as agreeable). We saw in the former section, that in an action out of duty, the interest lay not in the object and end attained by the action, but singly in the act itself, and its principle in reason (». c. the law).


An imperative commands either liypotlietically or cate- gorically. The former expresses that an action is neces- sary as a mean toward somewhat further; but the latter is such an imperative as represents an action to be in it- self necessary, and without regard had to any what out of and beyond it, i. e. objectively necessary.

Because every practical law represents some action or another as good, it represents it to a being determinable by reason, as in so far necessary ; and hence, upon this ac- count, an imperative may be further explained to be a for- mula potentially determining an action deemed necessary by a will good in any sort of way. If the action be good only for somewhat else, i. e. as a mean, then the impera- tive is hypothetical ; but if represented as good in itself, t. e. necessary according to the principles of a will self- conformed to its own reason, then it is categorical.

An imperative, then, declares which of the actions I may have it in my power to perform is good ; and it presents to view a practical rule taken in connection with a will, not constantly choosing an action because it is good, and this for two reasons : in part, that it often does not know what action is good ; and also in part, because, when it knows this, its maxims militate against the law objected to the mind by reason.

A hypothetical imperative expresses merely the relative goodness of an act, viz. as good for some ulterior end, re^ garded either as in posse or in esse. In the prior case it is a problematic ; in the latter, an assertive position. But the categorical imperative which propounds an act as in itself objectively-necessary, independently of every far- ther end or aim, is an apodictic practical position.

But as it may be needful to investigate more in detail


the nature and constitution of these three kinds of im- peratives, I observe,

First, We may consider whatever the power of an agent may accomplish, as the potential end of his will ; whence there spring as many principles of action as ends, which the being may regard as necessary in order to gain some given purposes. Even the sciences have a practical part, consisting of problems demanding a solution, and of im- peratives announcing how such solution (the end) is to be effected ; and imperatives of this kind are imperatives of art. Whether the end be good or rational, is no ele- ment of the investigation, but simply this — what it is re- quisite to do in order to reach it. The recipe of a phy- sician for thoroughly re-establishing his patient, and that of an assassin for poisoning him, have this value in com- mon, viz. that of teaching surely how each may gain his end ; and since mankind do not know what ends may oc- cur in life, youth is taught as many things as possible, and care is taken to advance his skill and accomplish- ments so as to facilitate the practice of various ends, though no end can yet be fixed on as the fit choice of the youth himself — among which ends he is left to choose, since it may be presumed that some one of them will be his. Nay, this care is frequently so great, that mankind ne- glect to instruct their youth how to estimate the worth of those things they have ultimately to accept or decline as ends.

Secondly, There is, however, one end, which we con- clude that every finite being has, and that by the physical necessity of his nature, viz. the end and aim called happi- ness. The hypothetical imperative announcing the prac- tical necessity of an act as a mean for advancing one's own


Imppiuess, is assertive. The imperative is necessary, not for any vague, indefinite, unknown end, but for one which we can certainly presuppose in the case of every man, such end being engrafted into his very Being. Now adroitness in choosing the means conducing to the greatest amount of one's personal happiness, is prudence (in the limited sense of that term) ; whence it follows, that the imperative of pru- dence, referring to the choice of such means, is hypotheti- cal, i. e. the action is ordained, not absolutely on its own account, but as a mean toward somewhat ulterior.

Lastly, There is an imperative, Avhich, irrespective of every ulterior end or aim, commands categorically. Such imperative concerns not the matter of action, nor that which may flow from it, but its form and principle ; and the act's essential goodness consists in the formality of its intent, be the result what it may. This last imperative may be called one of morality.

The difference of the volition in these threefold impera- tives is perceptible when we attend to the dissimilar grades of necessitation expressed by the imperative ; and in this point of view they might, I think, be fitly called, 1. rules of art; 2. dictates of prudence; 3. laws (com- mandments) of morality: for law alone involves the con- ception of an unconditionate, and objective, and univer- sally valid necessity; and a commandment is a law to which, even with violence to inclination, obedience must be yielded. A dictate expresses likewise a necessity, but then it is no more than a subjective and conditioned one ; whereas the categorical imperative is restrained to no condition, and it can alone, as absolutely necessary, be a commandment. The first sort are technical, the second pragmatic, the third ethical imperatives.


This brings us to the question, how all these imperatives are possible, — a question which asks, not how they may be reduced to practice, but how the necessitation expressed in each imperative can be depicted to the mind. How an ; imperative of art is possible, requires no further explana-| tion. Whoso wills the end aimed at, wills also th^ means indispensably requisite for attaining it. This posi- tion is analytic, for in willing an object as my own effect, I represent my own causality as employing the means toward it ; and the imperative merely developes the con- ception of acts necessary to this end, out of the concep- tion " willing that end itself." To determine the means requisite for attaining the end may no doubt be difficult, and will require synthetic propositions ; but these do not concern the ground, the originary act of will, but respect singly the realization of its object. That in order to bi- sect a line with certainty, I must describe from its extre- mities segments of intersecting circles, is taught in the mathematics by synthetic propositions only ; but when I know that these steps must take place in order to that end, then it is an analytic proposition to say, that when I will the end, I will also the intervening steps ; for to repre- sent somewhat as an effect possible by me in a given way, and to represent myself as acting in that way to- ward the effect, are quite identical.

The imperatives of prudence would stand exactly in the same situation with those of art, were it alike easy to frame a definite conception of what is happiness ; and in either case we should say, he who wills the end, wills likewise all the means toward it, which are within his power. But unfortunately the conception happiness is so vague, that although all wish to attain it, yet no one is


ever able to state distinctly to himself what the object willed is ; the reason whereof is, that the elements consti- tuting the conception happiness are cognizable a poste- riori only, and must be inferred inductively from expe- rience and observation; while at the same time, as an ideal of imagination, happiness demands an absolute whole^ i. e. a maximum of well-being, both in my present and every future state ; and what this may in real fact and event amount to, no finite Intelligent can explain, nor can he tell what it is he chooses in such a volition. Is wealth the object of his desire ? how much envy and de- traction may that not entail upon him ? in what perturba- tions may that not involve him ? Are superior parts and vast learning the object of his choice ? such advantages might prove but a sad eminence whence to descry evils at present hidden from his sight ; or they might become a source of new and previously unknown wants, and he who should increase in knowledge might eminently in- crease in sorrow. Does he choose long life? whatif it should turn out a long misery ? or, even if health were his cho- sen object, must he not admit that indisposition has often guarded from excess and screened from temptations, into which exuberant health might have misled him ? In short, it is quite beyond man's power to determine with certainty what would make him happy. Omniscience alone could solve this question for him. In these circumstances, man can fix on no determinate principles of conduct issu- ing in happiness, but is forced to adopt such dictates of prudence, i. e. such maxims of economy, politeness, and reserve, as experience and observation show on an aver- age to promote the greatest quantum of well-being. From all which we infer, that, strictly speaking, imperatives of


prudence do not command, actions not being i*epresented by them as objectively necessary ; and that they are ra- ther to be regarded as suggestions {consilia)^ than as de- crees of reason. The question, what action would infallibly promote the happiness of a reasonable agent, is altogether unanswerable ; and there can consequently be no impera- tive at all with regard to it. However, if the mean to- ward happiness could be successfully assigned, the impe- rative of prudence would, like the technical, be an ana- lytic proposition ; for it differs from the imperative of art in this singly, that in the latter the end is potential, in the former, given ; both enjoining merely the means necessary for reaching somewhat already willed as end ; but where this is done, the position is analytic, — there can therefore be no difficulty in comprehending how this im- perative is possible.

But how the imperative of morality comes to be pos- sible, is beyond doubt a very difficult question, and is in fact the only problem requiring a solution ; the imperative not being hypothetic, and its objective, absolute necessity, not admitting any explanation from suppositions. Neither can we in this investigation aid ourselves by examples ; for experience and observation would always leave us in doubt whether the imperative were not hypothetic, although appearing apodictic : Thus, when it is said, " Thou shalt not make any false promise," and the necessity announced in such an imperative is understood to be unconditional, so that it could not have been expressed thus, Make no false promise, lest thou destroy thy credit," then it is plain that no example can make exhibitive such categoric de- termination of will ; for the example cannot satisfy us that every other mobile was excluded from the will, and that



the law was itself alone, abstracted from all other consider- ations, the only spring of action ; and it is quite conceiv- able that some secret fear of shame, or apprehension of other evils, may have co-operated with it ; nor can we establish the non-existence of such motive-causes by any experience, this showing nowhat farther than that we have not observed them ; and should this turn out to be the case with our example, then the ethic imperative, while appa- rently categorical and unconditional, would be at bottom no more than a dictate of expediency, making us attentive to our own advantage, and teaching how to keep it in view.

The possibility of a categorical imperative must there- fore be investigated altogether a priori, its reality not being susceptible of illustration by examples ; a circum- stance rendering the theory of its possibility requisite, not only for its explanation, but a preliminary indispen- sable for its establishment. This, however, is plain, that the categorical imperative alone announces itself as law; the other imperatives may be principles, but they never can be laws of volition ; and what is necessary to attain some given end may yet in itself be contingent, and man may detach himself from the imperative whenever he renounces the end it rests upon, whereas the unconditioned command leaves no option to the will, and has alone that necessity which is of the essence of a law.

Again, the ground of the difficulty of comprehending the possibility of the categorical imperative, i. e. of the mo- ral law, is very great ; the imperative is a synthetical pro- position a priori ; and as we felt so much difficulty in com- prehending the possibility of this kind of proposition in speculative metaphysics, we may presume the difficulty will be no less in the practical.


In this inquiry we shall examine whether or not the mere conception of a categorical imperative may not involve in it a general formula, furnishing us with that expression which can alone be valid as a categorical impe- rative ; for how such an absolute commandment can be possible, even after we know its tenor, will demand a pe- culiar and laborious disquisition, which we defer till the third chapter.

When I represent to myself a hypothetical imperative, I do not know beforehand what it contains, till the ulte- rior condition on which it rests is put in my possession ; but with the very conception of a categorical imperative is given also its contents, for the imperative can in this case contain only the law ordaining the necessity of a maxim to be conformed to this law ; and since the law is attached to no condition which could particularize it, there remains nowhat except the form of law in genere, to which the maxim of an act is to be conformed; and this conformity is, properly speaking, what the impera- tive represents as necessary.

The categorical imperative is therefore single and one :

    • Act from that maxim only when thou canst will law


If, then, we are in a condition, from this single impe- rative, to derive all imperatives of duty, then we have ascertained the import and content of the idea, and un- derstand what it is we think of when we name it ; al- though we still, for the present, leave undecided whether duty may not after all turn out an imaginary and blank idea.

Because the unvariedness of the laws by which events take place is the formal notion of what is called nature.


I. e. an order of things determined according to an unva- ried, universal law, the formula of the ethical imperative might be expressed thus : " Act as if the maxim of thy will were to become, by thy adopting it, an universal law of nature."

In illustration of this last formula, I shall take a few examples, according to the popular and received division of duties into that of duties of determinate and indetermi- nate obligation toward ourselves and others.*

1. An individual harassed by a series of evils, and sickened with the tedium of life, proposes to commit self-murder ; but first inquires within himself to know if the maxim regulating such an act would be fit for law universal. His intended maxim would be, to deprive him- self of life whenever existence promised more of misery than of pleasure ; and the question is, can such a princi- ple of self-love be regarded as fit for an universal law of nature ? and it is instantly observable, that an order of things whose law it were to destroy life, by force of the sensation intended for its continuance, could not be up- held, but must return to chaos. Whence it results that such maxim cannot possibly be regarded as fit for an un- varied law of nature, but is repugnant to the supreme principle of duty.

2. A second finds himself under the necessity of bor- rowing money. He knows he cannot repay ; but he foresees

  • The systematic division of the duties I postpone to the metaphysic

of ethics, and the above division is merely adopted in order to arrange my examples. By a determinate duty, however, I understand such an one as admits of no exceptions in favour of appetite ; whence I arrive at both external and internal determinate obligations ; and though this run counter to the common terminology of the schools, it is immaterial to ray present purpose whether this be conceded to me or not.


that nothing will be lent to him if he do not stoutly promise to repay within a given time. He intends giving such a promise, but has so much conscience left as to put the question, whether it be not inconsistent with his duty to have recourse to such shifts for his relief? Suppose, however, that he notwithstanding adopts this resolution, then his maxim would sound as follows : As soon as I fancy myself in want of money, I will borrow it upon a promise to repay, although I well know I never will or can. Such a principle of self-love may be easily brought into accommodation with one's other desires and wishes. But when the question is put as to the integrity of such conduct, I convert my maxim into law universal, and in- quire how it would suit if such a principle were every- where adopted ? Whereupon I immediately observe, that it is quite unfit for a universal law of nature, and would become contradictory to itself, and self-destructive, if made so ; for a uniform practice by which every one should be entitled to promise what he liked, and not to keep it, would defeat the intent and end for which such promises might be made ; these becoming by such a law incredible, and not possible to be acted on.

3. A third finds himself possessed of certain powers of mind, which, with some slight culture, might render him a highly useful member of society ; but he is in easy cir- cumstances, and prefers amusement to the thankless toil of cultivating his understanding and perfecting his na- ture. But suppose him to put the question, whether this sluggish maxim, so much in harmony with his appetite for pleasure, harmonize equally with duty ; and he ob- serves that an order of things might continue to exist under a law enjoining men to let their talents rust, and


to devote their lives to amusement. But it is impossible for any one to will that such should become an universal law of nature, or were by an instinct implanted in his sys- tem ; for he, as Intelligent, of necessity wills all his facul- ties to become developed, such being given him in order that they may subserve his various and manifold ends and purposes.

4. A fourth, possessing wealth, observes others strug- gling with difficulties ; and though he might easily assist them, he says, what concern is it of mine ? Let every one be as happy as he can. I neither hinder nor envy any one ; nor can I take the trouble to exert myself to ad- vance his welfare, nor to redress his sorrows. Now, un- questionably, were such sentiments constituted universal laws of nature, our species might still continue to exist, and in fact might advance better, than when people mere- ly talk of sympathy and charity, or even than when they exercise such virtues, but at the same time, and by the by, deceive and otherways invade the rights of man. Now, although an order of things might subsist under such an universal law, yet reason cannot will that this should be the case ; for a will ordaining such would con- tradict itself, when, in the course of events, it would wil- lingly avail itself of the compassion and kindness of others, and yet would see itself deprived of these by the harsh law emanating from its own maxim.

These are some few of what mankind deems his duties, evolved clearly from the foregoing formula. An Intelli- gent must be able to muII his maxims of conduct laws of catholic extent. Such is the canon of ethical volition. Some actions are of such a stamp that they cannot be pre- sented to the mind even in thought, without their unfitness


for law being flagrant ; and in other cases, where no such internal impropriety existed, it was out of the question that an Intelligent should will his maxim to become an universal law of nature ; the first kind of duties are those of strict and determinate obligation, the second those which are indeterminate, and admit a certain latitude : whence we see that all kinds of duties are exhibited by the above examples in their connection and dependence on the single principle previously stated.

When we attend to what passes in our own minds when we overstep the bounds of duty, we find that we do not really will our maxim to become a law of catholic ex- tent ; for that is impossible, and the contrary is inevita- bly willed ; however, we sometimes assume the license, for a single time as we think, to make an exception from this universality. And were we to examine things singly from the vantage-ground of reason, we should des- cry contradiction in our own will in not adhering to duty, viz. that a certain principle should be regarded as a law objectively necessary and of catholic extent, and yet at the same time as subjectively not of universal validity, but admitting exceptions ; the reason whereof is, that in the one case reason guides our choice, in the other our will is biassed by an appetite ; so that in truth there is no contradiction in the mind itself, but only an opposition from the part of inclination against the dictates of reason ; by all which the universality of the law is frittered down to a mere generality, and reason constrained to meet the appetites half way. But, on impartial self-examination, we cannot justify to ourselves this departure ; which shows that the mind does in fact recognise and acknowledge the categorical imperative as possessing ethical virtue to oblige


its will ; and it is in spite of all our reverence for it that we allow ourselves a few occasional exceptions.

We have pursued this investigation so far as to establish, that if duty be a conception of any import, and contain laws applicable to human conduct, these laws are expres- sed in categorical imperatives, not in hypothetical. We have likewise, which is no small matter, determined the expression of the formula of the categorical imperative, which ought to be susceptible of expansion in terms ap- plicable to every duty (if there be at all any such). But we have not yet been able to show a priori that there is any such imperative, that there is a practical law com- manding absolutely and independently of every sensi- tive determinator, and that the observance of this law is duty.

In prosecuting our attempt to achieve such a demon- stration, it is of the last moment to bear constantly in mind that the reality of this law cannot be deduced from any peculiarities incident to human nature ; for duty is to be the unconditionate necessity of an act, and must have force to oblige all Intelligents whatsoever, and upon this account alone, therefore, also man. But whatever is derived from the particular structure of human nature, — from given feelings or emotions, or from any bias ad- hering to our reason, but not essentially biassing all wills whatever, — may be a maxim for conduct, but never can be a law ; e. e. may be a subjective principle we like to fol- low, but never can be an objective law, ordaining how to act, even although appetite, the vis inertice of our consti- tution, and an original bias in the will itself, were all thwarting its behest ; which opposing circumstances would in fact only show the high supremacy and internal


dignity of the law of duty, the less they proved able to eifect any diminution of its ethical necessitation.

And now philosophy seems placed in a very perilous situation, since she is allowed no peg either in heaven or in earth from which to suspend her principles. Now she has to show her integrity, as self-upholder of her own laws, not as the herald of those which some innate sense or guardian nature had whispered in her ear, and which, though better than nothing, never afford statutes of con- duct, ordained by reason from a source altogether a priori .- statutes which have thence alone, their authority — to com- mand mankind, to expect nowhat from the solicitations of his sensory, but all from the supremacy of the law and the reverence he owes it, or, if he fail to do so — to hand him over to his own contempt and inward detestation.

Any a posteriori part, added to the principle of mora- lity, is not only no improvement, but is in fact highly de- trimental to the purity of morals ; for the proper worth of an absolutely good will consists just in this, that the prin- ciples of action are thoroughly defecated from every admix- ture of foreign and adventitious grounds. Nor can I suffi- ciently warn against the sluggishness, or, I would even say, low cast of thinking, which seeks its motives of action a posteriori, whereon reason, when fatigued, willingly re- clines, and substitutes to morality a changeling bastard, which looks like any thing you please, except virtue, in the eye of him who has once beheld her in her true form.*

The question amounts, then, to this,— is it a law incum-

• To behold virtue in her proper form, is just to exhibit morality di- vested of all false ornaments of reward or self-love- How she then eclipses whatever seems charming to sense, every man of uncorrupted reason at once perceives.


bent upon every rational nature whatsoever, to order and arrange its actions conformably to such maxims as it could will elevated to the rank of law in a system of general moral legislation ? If this be so, then such a law must needs be inseparably connected a priori with the very idea of the will of a reasonable agent ; but to obtain a view of this connexion, we must enter the domain of metaphysic reason, and, quitting speculative philosophy, betake ourselves to a disquisition in the metaphysic of ethics. In practical philosophy we have not to do with that which happens, nor to take our principles from it, but with an objective practical law, announcing what ought and should happen, although in fact and event it may never be so. Accordingly we do not here inquire why something pleases or displeases, as in the case of taste, nor yet whether this satisfaction may differ from a com- placency of reason ; neither do we investigate on what the feeling of pleasure and pain may depend, nor how desire and its concurring with reason may give birth to maxims ; for these all belong to psychology, and Sive a posteriori, and to be solved by an induction. But we are going to in- quire of objective necessary laws, i. e. regarding the rela- tion of the will to itself, in so far as it is determined by reason, and where everything relating to experience and observation is overlooked ; because, if reason of itself de- termine the practical conduct of life, it must needs do so altogether a priori, the possibility whereof we now set ourselves to examine.

The will is cogitated as a faculty to determine itself to act conformably to the representation of given laws ; and such a power can be met with in reasonable agents only. Now what serves the will for the ground of its self-determi-

Metaphysic of ethics. 43

nation is called the " end;" and such end, if objected by reason only, must extend equally to every reasonable be- ing. What, on the other hand, contains no more than the ground of the possibility of an act, the ulterior effect of which last is the end, is called the " mean." The sub- jective ground of desire is a spring, the objective ground of volition is law ; hence the distinction betwixt subjec- tive ends which rest upon springs, and objective ones which attach themselves to laws, and are valid for every Intelligent whatsoever. Practical principles are formed when they abstract from all subjective ends; they are " material" when they presuppose these last and their springs. The ends which an Intelligent may regard as the product of his own activity, and which it is in his option to pursue or to decline, are not absolute ends, but rela- tive and adventitious merely ; for their value depends upon the relation obtaining betwixt them and the appeti- tive faculty of the thinking subject, and so they cannot found necessary principles of volition, nor laws of catho- lic extent, — thus relative ends can be the ground of hypo- thetical imperatives singly.

, Let there, however, be granted somewhat whose exist- ence has in itself an absolute worth, and which, as in it- self an end, is itself the ground of its own given laws. Then herein, and here alone, would lie the ground of the possibility of a categorical imperative, i. e. of a practical law. Now I say that man and every reasonable agent exists as an end in himself, and not as a mere mean or instru- mental to be employed by any will whatsoever, not even by his own, but must in every action regard his existence, and that of every other Intelligent, as an end in itself. Objects of appetite and inclination have a conditioned va-


lue only ; for, apart from the appetite, and the want felt as springing from it, its object would be regarded as en- tirely worthless ; and appetite itself, so far from possess- ing any absolute worth to make it desirable, is, on the contrary, as the source of all our wants, what every Intelligent must wish to be freed from. Upon this ac- count the value of every thing produced by our own exer- tions is conditioned. Even those external things where- of the existence rests not on our will, but depends on na- ture, have, as irrationals^ a relative value only, and are used as means and instruments for our behoof, and are therefore called THINGS ; whereas an Intelligent is called a person, he being by the constitution of his system distinguished as an end in himself, i. e. as somewhat which may not be used as a mere mean, and as restraining to his extent the arbitrary use which other wills might make of him, and becoming, by force of such restraint, an object of re- verence. Persons are therefore not subjective ends, whose existence is valued by us as an eifect resulting from our active exertion ; but are objective ends, whose very existence is itself an end, and that too of so eminent a sort, that no other end can be assigned to which they could be subordinated as means. For if this were not the case, then were no absolute and unconditioned value given ; and if all value were merely hypothetic and for- tuitous, it would be impossible to discover any supreme practical position on which to ground the operations of reason.

Thus it is seen, that if there is to be a supreme practical position, and in respect of the human will a categorical imperative, it must be such a principle as may constitute a law by the bare representation of that which is an end


for every man because it is an end in itself; the ground of the principle is, " every intelligent nature exists as an end in itself."* All mankind must of necessity thus figure to themselves their own existence, and to this extent it is a subjective principle of conduct. Again, in the very same way, all other rationals thus cogitate their own ex- istence, by force of the same grounds of reason which de- termine man to think so ; wherefore the above is likewise an objective principle, and from it, as the supreme prac- tical position, all laws of the will must be capable of being deduced. In this way the practical imperative may sound as follows : "So act that humanity, both in thy own per- son and that of others, be used as an end in itself, and never as a mere mean."

This formula we shall now illustrate, to see how it holds, and whether it tallies with the former. We shall instance again in the above examples.

First, in the case of duty owed toward ourselves. He who proposes to commit suicide, has to ask himself if his ac- tion be consistent with the idea of humanity as an end in itself. The man who destroys his organic system to escape from sorrow and distress, makes use of his per- son as a mean toward the supporting himself in a state of comfort and ease until the end of life. But humanity is not a thing, i. e. is not that which can be dealt with as a mean singly, but is that which must at all times be re- garded as an end in itself. I am therefore not at liberty to dispose of that humanity which constitutes my person, either by killing, maiming, or mutilating it.

Second, in reference to the duty owed to others. He

  • This position is here stated as a postulate. Its ground is assign-

ed in the next chapter.


who intends to promise deceitfully, must at once perceive that he makes use of his neighbour as a mere mean, not regarding him as an end in himself (not making him, at the same time, the end and aim of his conduct) ; for he who is thus misused«to a private and by-end, cannot possi- bly approve of such a line of conduct, nor can he contain in himself the end of such a promise. This repugnancy to the position that humanity is its own end, comes out more prominently when we take examples of inroads made on personal freedom or property. In such cases it is pal- pable that the violator of the rights of man serves himself of the personality of his fellow as a mere mean, not tak- ing into account that an Intelligent must, if a mean, be notwithstanding the end of any given action (i. e. be regarded as such a mean as may also be the end of the action). ^

Thirdly, in respect of the indeterminate duties we owe to ourselves, it is not enough that the action do not sub- vert one's own humanity ; it must coincide with it, so as to advance it as its own end. Now every person possesses sundry dispositions and endowments capable of being in- definitely perfected, and which obviously belong and con- duce to the end aimed at by nature, in constituting the humanity of our person ; to disregard these indications might no doubt consist with the physical preservation of mankind, but not with its advancement as an end.

Fourthly, with regard to the indeterminate obligations due from us to others, the physical end which all men have is happiness. Now, it cannot be doubted that hu- manity could consist, although each man left indifferent the happiness of his fellow, and was concerned merely not to off^r to it any detriment ; but then this would be a


mere negative, and no positive coincidence of actions with humanity as an end in itself, so long as no one en- deavoured to advance the ends and interests of others ; for the ends of that subject who is in himself an end, must of necessity be my ends too if the representation of huma- nity as an end in itself is the all-effective mobile of my will.

This position, that humanity and every Intelligent is an end in himself, is not established by any observation or experience, as is seen, first, from the generality by which we have extended it to every rational whatsoever ; and, second, because humanity was exhibited, not as a subjec- tive end of mankind (e. e. not as an object which it stood in their option to pursue or to decline), but as their objec- tive end, which, whatever other ends mankind may have, does, as law, constitute the supreme limiting condition of such subjective ends, and which must consequently take its rise from reason a priori. Now, the ground of all prac- tical legislation lies objectively in the rule, and its form of universality, whereby it is fitted for law, agreeably to the first formula. But subjectively in the end ; and the subject of all ends is each Intelligent himself, as an ulti- mate or last end, according to the second formula ; from which two, when combined, there emerges a third expres- sion, which comprises at once the form and the matter o* the supreme practical law, and presents us with the idea of the will of every Intelligent as universally legisla- tive.

Agreeably to this formula, all maxims are objectionable which do not harmonise with the universal legislation of man's own will. His will is therefore to be regarded as not subjected to the law simply, but so subjected as to be


self-legislative, and upon this account alone, subjected to the law of which himself is the author.

The imperative, as above represented, viz. as importing an uniform sequence of actions similar to the uniformity of events in the physic system, or as founded on that pre- rogative of an Intelligent whereby he is an end in him- self, excluded from its authority the co-operation of any interest as a spring ; an exclusion understood from the very categorical exhibition of it. The imperative was pos- tulated as categorical, since without this the idea duty could not be explained ; but that there really are practi- cal principles a priori^ containing a categorical command- ment, could not yet be proved, nor can we attempt it in this chapter ; but this one thing still remained to be done, to show that (self-detachment from interest) disinterest- edness is, in a duteous volition, that which constitutes the specific difference betwixt a categorical and hypothetical imperative, a notion which ought to be denoted by the imperative itself; and this is now done in the last formu- la, viz, the idea of the will of every Intelligent as a will universally legislative.

For when we figure to ourselves a will supremely legis- lative, it is clear that it cannot be dependent upon any interest (although a will subjected to a law simply may be attached to it by the intervention of an interest) ; for then the will universally legislative, and yet dependent, would require a further law, restricting its private in- terest to the condition of being fit for law in a system of universal moral legislation.

It is now obvious that the position of a will, universally legislative by all its maxims (supposing such a thing were established), would suit very well for a categorical impera-


live ; because, being rested, on the idea of an vinirersal le- gislation, it is not founded on any interest; and thus, amidst many imperatives, is the only unconditioned one. Or, by converting the proposition, if there be a categori- cal imperative, it can only ordain to act according to that maxim of a will which could at the same time regard it- self as universally legislative ; for then the practical prin- ciple and imperative which it obeys are unconditional, being founded upon no interest.

And now we may cease to wonder how all former at- tempts to investigate the ultimate principle of morals should have proved unsuccessful. The inquirers saw that man was bound to law by the idea duty ; but it did not occur to them that he was bound singly by his own law universal, the prerogative of his nature fitting him for an universal legislator, and so subjecting him to the law emanating from his own will. For, so soon as we regard him subjected to law simply (no matter of what sort), then this law must have carried some interest, whereby either to allure or to co-act; for, not springing from his own will, the will was legally necessitated by some- what else to act in a given manner. This inevitable con- clusion rendered fruitless and abortive every .attempt to establish a supreme principle of duty ; for there resulted, never duty, but the necessity of an action conformably to some given interest. This might be either a proper or a foreign interest, but in either case the imperative was con- ditioned ; and this, we have seen, is invalid for a moral law. I shall therefore call this fundamental position the principle of the autonomy of the will, in contradistinction to every other, which I call heteronomy.

This principle, that every Intelligent ought to regard


himself as legislating (by his maxims) throughout the uni- verse of Intelligents, in order, from this vantage-ground, to pass judgment upon himself and his own actions, leads to this very important and fruitful consideration, — the representation of all things whatsoever, under this charac- ter of ends, constituting one vast whole of ends, which, from its analogy to what we call " the realm of nature," may be styled " the realm of ends."

By a " rea/w," I understand the systematic conjunction of all intelligent nature under an uniform and common law. But since the law admits those ends singly which be valid universally as ends for all, we shall have, by abstracting from the personal difference which may exist between Intelligents, and also from their peculiar and per- sonal ends, an aggregate of ends (comprising both the In- telligents as ends in themselves, and likewise their own farther ends), in systematic union ; that is, " a realm of ends^^ is cogitable, and is, by virtue of the foregoing prin- ciples, possible.

For Intelligents stand one and all under this common law : " Never to employ himself or others as a mean, but always as an end in himself." But from this common objective law arises a systematic conjunction of Intelli- gents, i. e. a realm, which, though extant in idea only, may, because these laws regard the relation of Intelligents to one another, as means and ends, be called " the realm of ends."

An Intelligent is a member in the realm of ends, when he is, in addition to being universally legislative, himself subjected to these laws. But he belongs to it as its sove- reign, when, in legislating, he is not subjected to the will of any other.


Ev^ery Intelligent must therefore at all times regard Inmself as legislating in a potential realm of ends, realiza- ble by his freedom of will, and that too either as its mem- ber or as its sovereign ; but the room of this last he can- not occupy merely by force of the maxims of his will, but only then, when he is altogether independent, exempt from wants, and endowed with power commensurate to his will.

Morality, therefore, consists in referring all action to that legislation whereby the realm of ends is possible. This legislation, however, must be met with in every In- telligent, and take its rise from his will, whose principle is, never to act from any maxim which it could not will an universal law ; or this, always so to act that the will may regard itself as enouncing its maxim an universal law, t. e. as universally legislative. When an Intelligent's maxims are not, by the constitution of his system, neces- sarily conformed to this principle, then is the necessity of acting agreeably to this principle, practical necessitation, ». e. duty. Duty cannot be predicated of the sovereign in the realm of ends ; but it can of every member, and of all equally in degree.

The practical necessity of acting conformably to this principle, i. e. duty, rests not on feelings, interests, or in- clination, but singly on the relation betwixt Intelligents, where the will of each must be regarded as universally le- gislative, apart from which he could not be figured as an end in himself. Reason applies every maxim of will as universally legislative to every other will, and also to every action whereby it is affected ; and this not out of any regard had to its own future advantage, or to any other private end, but singly on account of its idea of the dig-


nity of an Intelligent, obeying no law except that which itself originates.

Everything in the realm of ends has either a " price" or a " dignity" That has a price in the room of which something as an equivalent may be put ; but that which is above all price, and admits not substitution by an equi- valent, has a dignity.

What is subservient to human wants and wishes has a market-price ; and what, when there is no want, serves only to gratify a taste (e. e. a complacency in stimulating the aimless play of fancy), has a fancy-price. But that which constitutes the condition, under which alone any- what can be an end in itself, has not merely a relative va- lue, i. e. a price, but has an inward worth, i. e. a dignity.

Now, morality is the condition under which alone an Intelligent can be figured as an end in himself, since by it alone can he become a legislator in the " realm of ends." Wherefore morality, and humanity in so far as it is sus- ceptible of that morality, is alone that which has the dig- nity. Diligence, attention, and adroitness, have their market-price. Wit, gaiety, and good temper, have a price of affection. But incorruptible justice, charity, and un- broken faith, have an inward worth. Neither nature nor art contain, in their vast domain, what, if those were awanting, could be brought to supply the void ; for their worth consists not in their conduciveness to any end, not in their profit or advantage, but in the sentiments ; i. e. in the maxims of the will in which they are causally in- seated, although opportunity should now prevent such will from stepping forth to act. Actions of this sort need no recommendation from the part of taste, nor do they require any propensity or sense to cause them to be beheld


with inward favour and approbation, nor do they ad- dress tliemselves to any adventitious whim or caprice ; they exhibit the will giving them birth as the object of an immediate reverence, and are actions to which reason summons up, demanding them from the will, — whereto she invites, by no flattery or blandishment, which last mili- tate with the very idea of a duty. Such reverence ena- bles us to estimate the inward worth of such a frame of mind as a dignity, as incomputably advanced above all price; nor can we compare or liken it to such barter ^vithout in a manner violating its sanctity.

What, then, is it which entitles the morally good sen- timent, i. e. virtue, to make a claim so lofty ? It is no- thing else than the share imparted thereby to the Intel- ligent in the universal legislation, making him fit to be- come a member of the realm of ends, for whicb indeed the constitution of his nature destined him, making him an end in himself, and, upon that account, a legislator in the realm — absolved from every physical law, and obedi- ent to those only which he gives himself — by which laws also his maxims may pertain to that universal legislation, whereunto at the same time he subjects himself; for no- thing has any worth except that assigned to it by the law. But that law which determines, and is the standard of all worth, must upon that account have a dignity, i. e. an un- conditioned, incomparable worth ; and reverence is the only beseeming expression whereby to state that estimation in which an Intelligent ought to hold it. Autonomy is there- fore the ground of the dignity of humanity, and also of every other intelligent nature whatsoever.

The three expressions just adopted, enouncing the prin- ciple of morality, are no more than three " formula^* of


one and the same law, each involving in it the other two ; and any difference is subjectively, not objectively, practi- cal. They vary by giving a sensible delineation, according to different analogies, to an idea of reason, approaching it thereby to the mental vision and its feelings. According- ly all maxims have —

I. A form, consisting in their universality ; and here the tenor of the categorical imperative was, " All maxims sliall be such only as are fit for law universal."

II. A matter, i. e. ar^end ; where the formula ordained, that each Intelligent, being by his nature an end in him- self, should subordinate to this end the maxims of all his casual and arbitrary ends.

III. An aggregate determination, by the formula, that all maxims of the self-legislative will must be totally sub- ordinated to, and resolved into, the potential idea of the realm of ends, like as if it were the realm of nature. The three formulae advance in the order of the categories, from the unity of the form of the will {i. e. its universality), to the plurality of its matter (t. e. of the objects willed — the ends), and thence to the aggi'egate or totality of the system of its ends. It is better, however, to adhere to the stricter formula of the categorical imperative : Act according to that maxim which thou couldst at the same time will an universal law. But when the law has to be conveyed into the mind, it is extremely useful to avail one's self of these different expressions.

And now we have arrived at the point from which we first set out ; namely, the conception of a good will. That we now know is a good will whose maxim, if made law universal, would not be repugnant to itself. This principle is its supreme law : " Act according to that maxim whose


universality, as law, thou canst at the same time will." This is the sole condition upon which a will can never contradict itself; and this imperative is categoric. And since such a will, if considered as realizing its maxims, is analogous to that uniform and systematic order of events in the physical system which we call nature ; the cate- gorical imperative might be couched thus : " Act from maxims fit to be regarded as universal laws of nature." These are the formulae indicating what an absolutely good will is.

An Intelligent has this prerogative over every other being, that he can assign to himself and fix his own end. Such end would be the matter chosen by every good will ; but since, in the idea of a will absolutely and uncondi- tionally good, we must abstract from all ends to be effec- tuated (which ends could make a will relatively good only), this end must be cogitated, not as one to be effect- ed, but as an independent self-subsisting end, that is, ne- gatively only ; in other words, as an end against which no action dare militate, and which must, in every voli- tion, be stated, not as a bare instrumental or means, but always as an end. This, however, can be nothing else than the subject of all possible ends himself; he being likewise the potential subject of an absolutely good will, which will cannot be postponed to any other object with- out an inconsistency. And the position, " So act in re- ference to all Intelligents (thyself and others), that they may enter as ends into the constitution of thy maxim," is virtually identic with the former, " Act according to a maxim possessed of universal validity for all Intelligents ;" for that I ought, when employing means to any end, so to limit and condition my maxim that it may be valid to oblige



as law every thinking subject, says exactly the same thing with this, that the subject of all ends, i. e. the Intelligent himself, may never be employed as a means, but must, as the supreme condition limiting all use of means, enter as end into the constitution of all maxims of acting.

From all this we infer, that every Intelligent must, as end in himself, be able to regard himself as universally legislative, in respect of all laws to which he may at the same time be subjected ; this fitness of his maxims for law universal being exactly that which indicates him to be an end in himself: and we infer further, that this his dignity and excellency above every other creature forces him to construct his maxims, from the consideration of himself and other Intelligents as legislators (called up- on this account persons). In this way, a world of Intelli- gents (mundus intelligibilis) may be cogitated, — and that ideal, which we have denominated " the realm of ends," is possible by the self-legislation of all its members. Conse- quently every Intelligent ought so to act as if he were by his maxims a person legislating for the universal empire of ends in themselves. The formal principle of these maxims is, " Act as if thy maxim were to become law universal" (for an universe of Intelligents). The realm of ends can only be figured as possible from its analogy to the realm of nature, — that proceeding upon maxims, i. e. self-imposed laws, this by virtue of the law of the ne- cessary-nexus; and yet this physical system itself, although, so far as we know, a mere machine, is, when viewed in its connection with Intelligents, as the end why it is there, called, upon this very account, the realm of nature. The realm of ends would likewise really come into existence were every Intelligent to adhere to the maxims dictated


by the categorical imperative; and although an Intelligent cannot infer that, even were he punctually to adhere to the categoric maxims, all others would do so too ; nor yet, that the realm of nature, and the uniformity of its se- quences, might be so found in harmony with his endea- vours to realize the realm of ends, as to answer his expec- tation of happiness : the law does nevertheless ordain with undiminished force, for the command is categorical, " Act agreeably to the maxims of a person ordaining law universal in the realm of ends." Nor can this paradox cease to astonish us, that the mere dignity of humanity as an Intelligent entity, abstracted from all by-views or ul- terior considerations, that is, in other words, that reverence for a bare idea, should furnish the will with an unchang- ing and inexorable law, and ^Ao^just in this independency of the will's maxim on all such outward motives should consist its majesty and augustuess, and the worthiness of every thinking subject to occupy the station of a legislator in the realm of ends, — since, apart from this independency, the Intelligent must needs be subjected to the mechanic law of his physical wants. And even if we were to figure to ourselves the realms of nature brought into union with the realms of ends under the sovereignty of a Supreme Head, whereby the latter state would cease to be a mere idea, but would become reality, then would the idea dig- nity gain force from the addition of so strong a spring, but it could receive no augmentation of its intrinsic worth ; for, notwithstanding all this, the Sovereign Lawgiver must himself be cogitated as judging of the worth of In- telligents only according to their disinterested adherence to the line of conduct prescribed to them by that idea. The essence of things cannot be altered by any external


circumstance ; and that which, independently of this last, constitutes the absolute worth of man, must serve as the standard by which to judge him. Moral it y is, then, th e relation obtainin g betwixt ru ction and the autonomy^ of the will ; actions in harmony with autono my of w ill are allowed and lawful. What actions are incompatible with it are disallowed and unlawful. A will whose maxims coincide of necessity with the laws of autonomy, is a Holy Will, or an absolutely good will ; the dependency of a will not altogether good, on the principle of autonomy, is ethi- cal necessitation, and is called obligation. Obligation cannot upon this account be predicated of a Holy Will ; the objective necessity of an action, on account of this ob- ligation, is what is called duty.

These observations enable us to understand how, while the idea duty imports subordination to law, we yet con- ceive a certain elevation and dignity to belong to that In- telligent who discharges all his duties ; for to this extent there is no ground of elevation that the will is subjected to law : but herein consists the elevation, that the person is himself the legislator, and on this account alone bound to subject himself to it. We likewise explained above, how neither fearj nor inclination, but only reverence for the law, could be the spring conferring on any action mo- ral worth. Our own will, in so far as it acts only under the condition required to fit its maxims for law universal — such potential state of will — is, I say, the proper object of reverence ; and the dignity of man just consists in the ability to be universally legislative, although upon this condition to be at the same time subjected to his own le- gislation.


Autonomy of Will is the Supreme Principle of Morality.

Autonomy of will is that Quality of will by which a will ( independently of any oj ^ect willed) is a law to itself. The principle of auton omy, thci'efore, is to choose suctT I maxims singly a s may be willed law universal . That this practical rule is an imperative, i. e. that the will of every Intelligent is necessarily attached to this condition, can- not be evinced by merely analysing the notions contained in the position, for it is a synthetic a priori proposition. We must, in short, pass from the investigation of the ob- ject, to an investigation of the subject ; i. e. to an inquiry into the functions of practical reason itself; for this syn- thetic position, which commands apodictically, must be cognisable altogether a priori. But this inquiry is not within the limits of the present chapter. However, that this principle of autonomy is the alone principle of ethics, can be sufficiently evinced from a bare analysis of the cur- i-ent notions regarding morality ; and we found that its supreme principle must needs be a categorical imperative, and that the imperative again ordained just this autono- my. How such a synthetic practical position a priori is POSSIBLE, and why it is necessary, is a problem beyond the limits of the metaphysic of ethics. However, whoso admits morality to be anywhat, and not a mere fantasti- cal conceit, must admit at the same time the above prin- ciple. But that MORALITY IS NO CHIMERA, will follow,

then, when the categorical imperative, and the au- tonomy it enjoins, is true, and absolutely necessary as a position a priori. But this requires a potential syn- thetic use of practical reason a priori ; an assertion we


cannot hazard, without first premising an inquiry into the causal functions of that faculty, which we shall now do in the next chapter, at least so far as to satisfy this purpose.




The Idea Freedom explains that of Autonomy of Will.

WiTj, is that kind of causality attributed to living agents, in so far as they are possessed of reason^ and free- dom is such a property of that causality as enables them to originate events, independently of foreign determining causes; as, on the other hand, (mechanical) necessity is that property of the causality of irrationals, whereby their activity is excited and determined by the influence of foreign causes.

This explanation of freedom is negative, and there- fore unavailing to aid our insight into its essence and na- ture; but there emerges from it a positive idea of free- dom, much more fruitful : for since causality brings^ with it the notion of law, conformably to which, an antecedent gives ofliecessity the existence of somewhat else, its se- quent ; the idea freedom, though unconnected with mecha- nic laws, is not cogitated for that reason as altogether de- void of lawj but merely as a causality different in kind, and carrying with it laws suited to that generic difference ; for if otherwise, a free will were a chimera. The mechanical


necessity observed in the physical system is lieteronomy in causation, where each event happens only by virtue of somewhat else foreign to the cause determining its effi- ciency. On the contrary, freedom of will is autonomy, i. e. that property of will by which it determines its own causality, and gives itself its own law. But the position, the will is in every action a law to itself, is equivalent to the position that it acts from no maxim unfit to be objec- tively regarded as law universal. This, however, tallies with the formula of the categorical imperative, i. e. with the supreme principle of morality. Whence it results that a freewill, and a will subjected to the moral law, are one and identic.

Upon the hypothesis, then, of freedom of will, mora- lity and its formula are arrived at by a mere analysis of the idea. The formula is, however, a pure synthetic pro- position a priori, viz. a good will is one whose maxim can always be regarded as law universal ; and no analysis of the notion good will can guide to this further one of that property of the maxim. Such synthetic propositions are alone possible when there is a common and middle term combining the extremes which meet in the synthesis. The POSITIVE idea freedom is this middle term, which cannot, as in physic causes, be any part of the system objected to the sensory. Now what this is to which freedom points, and of which we have an idea a priori, requires elucida- tion ; and to make comprehensible the deduction of the idea freedom, together with the grounds of the possibility of freedom and a categorical imperative, requires still a little preparation.



Freedom must be postulated as a property of the Will of every Intelligent whatsoever.

It is not enough to attribute freedom to our will, unless we have sufficient grounds to ascribe it likewise to every reasonable being ; for, since morality is our law, only in so far as we are Intelligents, it must be so also for every other being endowed with reason : and since it can be evolved only from the idea freedom, freedom must be represented as the property of every InteKigent's will whatsoever. It is not enough to deduce it from exi)eri- ence of human nature (although this is impossible, for it demands an investigation a priori) ; but it must be evin- ced as indissolubly attached to the energy of all beings possessed of reason and will. Now, I say that every be- ing who can only act under the idea freedom, is^for that reason to all practical ends really free ; t. e. aH>Jaws binj^ h im, whi c h go han d in hand with th e^^a free dom ^ just as much as if his will had been in speculative"pKflosopby ascertained to be free ; and I assert farther, that we must ascribe to every Intelligent possessed of will the idea free- dom, under which idea he can alone act. For in such Intelligent we figure to ourselves a reason which is prac- tical, t. e. has causality in respect of its objects. Now, it is impossible to figure to ourselves any reason conscious of receiving any foreign bias in constituting its judgments and notions ; for then the person would ascribe the deter- mination of his judgments, not to his reason, but to an ex- traneous impulse. Reason must therefore regard herself as the author of her own principles, independently of fo- reign influences. Consequently she has as practical rea-


son, i. €. as will of an Intelligent, to regard herself as free ; that is to say, the will of an Intelligent can he his own will only by presupposing freedom ; and this must, therefore, for a practical hehoof, be ascribed to all Intel- ligents whatsoever.

Of the Interest indissolubly connected with the Idea qf Morality.

We have now rediic fid the ide a of morality to that of freedom of will ; but we have not yet shown such freedom to exist as real in human nature. We only saw that we must presuppose freedom when we try to figure to our- selves an Intelligent conscious of its own causality with reference to its own actions, i. e. endowed with will. Upon the same grounds, it was requisite to attribute to every agent endowed with intelligence and will, a proper- ty of determining its own agency by virtue of the idea of its own freedom.

Upon the pre-supposition of those ideas there resulted further the consciousness of a law making it imperative how to act, viz. that the subjective rules of conduct ought always to be so constituted as to be objectively, i. e. uni- versally valid, and so fit for proper catholic legislation. But still a question may be raised, why am I bound to subject myself to this principle ? and that too so sheerly as Intelligent that every other Intelligent must be figured as standing in the same situation. I admit that no interest urges to this subjection; otherwise the categorical impera- tive were abrogated. Still I cannot be devoid of all interest to do so, nor without interest to comprehend on what such


interest is based ; for this word shall denotes properly a state of WILL valid for all Intelligents, which would alone obtain, if reason, unimpeded, were the alone actor. For beings like ourselves, affected by sensitive excitements, totally different in kind from the causal-laws of reason, .e^

and whose actions fall out, vastly discrepant from what ^ naked unimpeded reason would have done, such abstract i necessity of acting is spoken of as what one should or OUGHT, and the subjective is distinguished from the objec- / tive necessity.

It looks very like as if we set out with the idea freedom for a vehicle to the moral law, and the principle of the au- tonomy of the will, but could not, apart from this presup- position, prove the law's reality and proper objective ne- cessity. However, even were it so, we should gain a very considerable end, viz. the fixing more closely than hereto- fore the true foundation of morality, even although we should not yet have succeeded in establishing its validity, and the practical necessity incumbent on man to subject himself to it. And this really has been done, although we should never be able to answer satisfactorily the ques- tion, why the universal validity of our maxims for laws should be a condition limitary of our conduct ; nor yet be able to tell whereon we base that worth, figured to attach to this mode of conduct, and which is alleged to run so high, that no higher interest is at all conceivable ; nor whence it happens that man in these circumstances alone learns to feel his personal worth, in exchange with which a painful or a happy state shrinks equally to no- thing.

It is found, indeed, that mankind are susceptible of an interest in a personal property, unconnected with any



pleasurable state, provided such personal qualification may make us capable of the latter, in the event of a reason coming to distribute it ; i. e. that the mere worthiness to become happy has an interest abstracted from any regard had to such happiness itself. But then this judgment and this susceptibility is itself a product of the admitted weight and importance of the moral law (when we, by force of the idea fi'eedom, detach ourselves from every sensitive ex- citement and emotion) ; but how we are at all able thus to detach ourselves, i. e. to cogitate ourselves as free, and why, in doing so, we ought to find an increased worth in our personality, requiting us for every loss we otherwise undergo, i. e. upon what grounds the moral law has virtue to oblige, cannot be comprehended by dint of the forego- ing remarks.

It seems, I confess, as if the whole argument moved in a circle, from which there is no escaping. We assume

/ ourselves free to explain our subjection to the moral law, and then we figure ourselves subjected to this law, be- cause we have attributed to ourselves this property of free- dom ; for freedom and self-legislation issue both in auto- nomy of will, and so are convertible ideas ; from which cause it comes that the one cannot be used to explain the other, nor can be assigned as its ground, but at the far- thest may be put to the logical use of reducing seemingly

\ different representations of the same object to one single \iotion (as in the mathematics, fractions equal, but with different denominators, are reduced to similar expressions by their common measure).

Only one escape remains to us from this labyrinth, namely, to inquire if we do not occupy an entirely differ- ent station, when we regard ourselves, as by means of free-


dom, spontaneous a priori causes, from that station which we hold when we represent to ourselves our actions as events in the system we see objected to our senses.

It is a remark, not calling for much subtle penetration, but one made from yore by the most common understand- ing, that the representations we are possessed of through the intervention of the sensory, never teach knowledge of objects otherwise than how they affect us ; and so, what they are in themselves remains latent and undiscovered ; consequently that, notwithstanding the greatest efforts of the understanding with regard to such representations, we arrive at knowledge of the appearances of things only, and can attain none of things in themselves. So soon as this distinction has been made (even did it merely spring from the observed difference between the representations given us from without, and in receiving which we are pas- sive, and those which we produce entirely within our- selves, and exert our own self-activity upon them), it fol- lows at once, that something must be assumed, lying at the bottom of phenomena, which cannot itself again be a -phenomenon, viz. the thing itself, although we are at the same time perfectly aware, that since we never can know it further than how we are affected by it, we can come no nearer to it, nor detect its real nature and being. This may be the first separation made by man betwixt a cogi- table WORLD and the world objected to his senses, which sensible system may differ continually with the dif- fering sensories of different percipients, although the su- persensible system, its groundwork, remain unaltered and the same. Nay, even what man knows of his own nature and constitution by his inward senses, is an appearance only, and no acquaintance with what he is in himself;


for his perception of himself coming through the sensory is a mere phenomenon in nature, and can only take notice of the mode in which his consciousness is affected ; and yet at the same time he must of necessity pass, from this phenomenal composition of himself, to that which lies at the bottom of it, viz. his I, figured as a thing in itself. Thus man, in regard of his sensory and receptive faculties, deems himself a part of the sensible system ; hut in re- gard of that within him, which may be his own pure spon- taneity {i. €. that which is immediately present to consci- ousness, without any modification of the sensory), he deems himself likewise a member of a cogitable and unseen SYSTEM, of which he has however no knowledge.

This conclusion must follow and hold with regard to every thing presenting itself to man : probably it obtains to some extent in every human understanding ; for the most untutored have always been inclined to figure to themselves an invisible and unknown at the back of the objects impinging on their sensory, and have expected to find there somewhat self-active ; but then they immedi- ately ruin this discovery by giving this invisible an exter- nal and tangible configuration, and so halt on the thres- hold of discovery.

Now, in point of fact, mankind finds himself endowed with a function, by which he distinguishes himself from all other objects, nay even from himself, in so far as he is affectable through the sensory ; and this function or power is REASON. This, as pure self-activity, transcends in ex- cellence even the faculty of understanding; for though this last is likewise self-activity, and does not, like the sensory, contain mere representations which result from its re-action, when impressed by things, yet it begets



no conceptions, excepting only such as serve to regu- late AND order the IMPRESSIONS OF THE SENSORY, and so to combine them in the identity of self-conscious- ness, without which union and combination of perceptibles the intellect could furnish no thought. Whereas reason, in supplying the ideas, shows so original and high a power of pure spontaneity, that it passes altogether beyond the field of the sensory, and has for its most principal and chief function, to separate and disjoin the sensible and cogitable systems ; and, by assigning the limits and boun- daries of these respectively, to fix at the same time those laws beyond which the understanding cannot pass.

Hence it happens that a reasonable agent must, as In- telligent, cogitate himself a member, not so much of the sensible, but rather of the supersensible system. He has therefore two stations from which to regard himself, and a twofold set of laws regulating the conduct and exer- cise of his powers. The onb kind of laws import hete- ronomy, and subjection to the mechanism and necessity of the physical system. The second connect him with a cogitable system, are quite independent on mechanic in- fluences, and have their gi'ounds in nowise in the physical system, but in reason only.

As Intelligent, and member of a cogitable world, man- kind can represent to himself his proper causality only by force of the idea freedom ; for independence ofr the de- termining causes of the physical system (which indepen- dency reason must always attribute to itself) is freedom ; but to the idea freedom that of autonomy is indissolubly attached ; and with this last there goes hand in hand the principle of morality, wliich does in idea He at the bottom^ of the actions of every rational, in exactly the same


way as laws of nature lie at the bottom and are the groundwork of all phenomena.

And now the suspicion previously stated is removed, as if there were a latent and vicious circle in our concluding from freedom upon autonomy, and from autonomy upon the moral law ; as if we set out with the idea freedom merely for the sake of the moral law, and in order to de- duce this law from it, and so could give no account, and could assign no grounds for this idea, but had begged it merely as a principle, which the charitable might kindly grant us, but which could never be set up as a position resting on its own independent grounds. For now we see that, cogitated as free, we transplant ourselves into a su- persensible system, whereof we recognise the law of au- tonomy, and its sequel morality ; but that again, when we figure ourselves obliged or beholden to an act, we re- gard ourselves as members at once both of the sensible and of the cogitable systems.

How is a Categorical Imperative possible ?

Every reasonable being reckons himself on the one hand as Intelligent in a cogitable system ; and merely as an efficient in this system does he call his causality a will. On the other hand, he is conscious that he is a part of the physical or sensible system into which actions step forth, as the mere appearances or phenomena of that causality, the possibility of which, however, cannot be understood, as they have a descent from sources we know nothing of; but which appearances must, on the contrary, be regard- ed as determined by other and antecedent phenomena,



namely, appetites and desires obtaining in the physical system. Regarded purely as an inhabitant of the cogi- table world, all man's actions would exactly tally with the autonomy of a pure will ; while, again, regarded as a mere link in the chain of causes and events, all human actions are locked up under mechanic laws (heteronoray), and would ensue exactly according to the physical im- pulses given by instincts and solicitations in the sensory. But because the world of Noumena contains within

IT THE last ground, NOT ONLY OF THE WORLD OF PHE- NOMENA, BUT ALSO OF THIS last's LAWS, I, as Intelli- gent, though likewise a phenomenon, must recognise my- self as immediately attached to the intellectual law of the first, i. e. of reason, which by the idea freedom gives a law, and ordains autonomy of will ; from which it follows, that the laws of the cogitable and noumenal world are immediate and categorical imperatives ; and the actions flowing from these principles it behoves me to judge of as duties.

Thus categorical imperatives are seen and comprehend- ed to be possible, the idea freedom making me an inhabi- tant of a cogitable system ; where, were I such alone, my every action would fall out in harmony with autonomy of will, and, so far as I am likewise connected with a differ- ent but dependent system, ought and should so harmonize ; WHICH CATEGORICAL SHOULD, expresses a synthetic pro- position a priori ; the constitution and origin of which synthesis is understood and comprehended, when we un- derstand, tliat over and above my consciousness of a will, stimulated by sensitive instincts and wants, there is super- added an idea of the very same will, but figured to be in a cogitable system, as pureseif-active will, which likewise


contains in it the last grounds and supreme conditions of the other :— pretty much as where, over and above the in- tuitions of the sensory, there are superadded notions of the understanding, which notions are in themselves nothing but legislative forms, and yet constitute, by the conjunc- tion, synthetic propositions a priori, on which all know- ledge of physics and of the laws of nature rests.

The practical use of the plainest understanding corro- borates the accuracy of this investigation. No one, not even the most hardened ruffian, can fail to wish a change of state and character, when he has laid before his men- tal vision examples of sincerity and plain dealing, of un- wavering steadfastness in adhering to good resolutions, of active sympathy, of inward good will, and universal bene- volence. Such he too would willingly become, but he finds he cannot, in consequence of appetites and perturbations obtaining in his sensory ; and this forces from him the fur- ther wish that he were disenthralled from the bondage of a servitude now felt to be intolerable. He therefore de- monstrates, that he, by force of the idea of a will defecat- ed from the perturbations of the sensory, does in thought waft himself into an order of things where none such in- trude, and where he expects no real or imaginary gra- tification, but expects singly an advancement of the in- ward worth of his personality. This better person, how- ever, mankind figures himself to be, when he regards himself, in his station, as an inhabitant of the cogitable system, whitherwards the idea freedom {i. e. independency on the determinators of the physical system) must of ne- cessity transplant him. There he is conscious of a good will, and recognises it as the law and standard for his wayward and phenomenal one. What he therefore mo-


rally should and ought, he sees to be his own proper ne- cessary will, as member of a cogitable world; and he speaks of this his necessary will under the term shall, when, recognising its authority, he considers himself at the same time as residing in the system objected to his senses.

Of the Extreme Verge of all Practical Philosophy. «=ra^

All men regard themselves, quoad their wills, as free ; hence comes those judgments passed with regard to ac- tions, that they ought to have happened, although in fact and event they happen kot. This freedom is no conception taken from experience and observation, for it remains unaltered, even while all experience exhibits the very contrary of what, according to laws of freedom, ought to be; and yet, on the other hand, it is equally necessary to think of every event as inevitably determined by laws of nature. And this necessity in the physical sequences, is no conception either, borrowed from observation and experi- ence ; for it is the notion of a necessity, and is part of knowledge a priori. Now this conception of a necessary- nexus in the physical system is substantiated by expe- rience, nay behoved to be presupposed, if experience and observation, {i. e. regular and uniform knowledge of the i objects of sense,) are to be possible. Hence freedom is 1 only an idea of reason, and the objective reality of it is doubtful ; but the mechanic nexus is a notion of the understanding, and proves its reality in experience and observation, and must prove it.

Thus reason finds itself involved in a dialectic, for the freedom attributed to it seems to collide with the necessity


obtaining in thephysical system. And altliougli, in this di- lemma, reason, for speculative purposes, finds the path of mechanical necessity much smoother, and more unim- peded, yet, for all practical ends, she finds the nar- row path of freedom the alone and single, along which she can exert herself in action. Hence the most subtle philosophy, and the plainest understanding, have both found it alike impossible to quibble themselves out of freedom : they have therefore been both conscious at bot- tom, that there was no real contradiction betwixt freedom and the laws of nature, considered both as regulating hu- man actions ; for reason can no more give up the notion of nature, than she can divest herself of the idea freedom.

But at any rate, the appearance of contradiction must be

f removed, although how freedom is possible remains totally

incomprehensible ; for if the idea freedom be repugnant

to itself, or to the causal laws of nature, which are just as

necessary, it must be abandoned for the sake of the latter.

But this contradiction cannot be avoided, unless the subject attributing to itself freedom, thinks itself under different relations, when it at one time calls itself free, and yet regards the same action as fixed and subject- ed to the causal mechanic law determining phenomena. The problem is one which cannot be declined by reason, at least to show that the deceptive appearance of contra- diction consists in this, that we cogitate mankind in a to- tally different point of view when we deem him free from what we regard him in when, as a phenomenon in space and time, we deem him subjected to their laws. Nay, to show further, that these two are not only consistent, but must of necessity be combined in the same subject, since we could not otherwise assign a ground why reason is to


be embarrassed with an idea, not perhaps giving the lie di- rect to an old and well-established notion, but which idea exposes her to a very unnecessary and needless dilemma. This duty is incumbent on speculative philosophy, that it mayprepare the way for the practical ; there is therefore no option left to the philosopher, whether he will solve this seeming enigma, or leave it uninvestigated ; for if he do this last, he leaves the theory concerning freedom a bo- num vacaTis, which the first coming fatalist may seize on as unoccupied, and expel morals, as usurping grounds to which she can show no title.

However, it is not here the outer verge and border of practical philosophy is descried, for the difficulty just mentioned does not fall under its province, but is for speculative reason to make an end of, that it may warrant to practical reason secure and easy possession against all assailants of the domain on which she intends to erect her seat.

The legal title on which reason claims her freedom of , will, is grounded on the consciousness and admitted pre- I supposition of reason's independency on merely subjec- tively determined causes, which aggregately compose what- ever is of the nature of sensation, and passes under the ge- neral name of seiisory* Mankind, Considered as thns in- dependent and intelligent, wafts himself, when he does so, into another order of things, and into a relationship with determining gi'ounds of quite another kind (as intelligence endowed with will, i. e. causality) from those with which he is connected when he perceives himself a phenomenon objected to his senses (which likewise he most certainly is), and finds his causality subjected to foreign determina- tors, according to mechanic laws. Now he immediately


becomes aware that both states may co-exist, nay, that in point of fact they must do so ; for, that a thing as it ap- pears, and as part of sensible phenomena, is aifected by certain laws, on which it, the same thing, not as appear- ance, but AS A REAL, ACTUAL THING IN ITSELF, is indepen- dent, is in nowise a contradiction; and that mankind must reflect of himself in this twofold light, rests first on his consciousness of his being an object in the sensible system, and then, second, on his consciousness of himself as Intelligent, i. e. as in his originary use of reason, in- dependent on sensitive impressions, i. e. detached from them, and in a cogitable state.

Hence also it happens that mankind deems himself the potential possessor of a will which tramples under foot whatever is the mere progeny of appetite and want, and represents actions to be by it not only possible, but neces- sary, which can alone be performed by casting behind-back and discarding every inclination and excitement of the sen- sory. Thiswill'scausality resides within him as Intelligent, and has its origin and seat in the laws of a cogitable world ; of which world, however, mankind knows nothing further than that therein reason, naked reason, i. e. reason defecat- ed from every perturbation of the sensory, has alone the sway; and since it is there alone that, as Intelligent, man- kind is properly himself (whereas here he is but an ap- pearance of that self), that sway and dominion of reason concern him immediately and categorically. Nor can the whole stimulants in the phenomenal system affect or impair in any way the laws of his intellectual will ; so much so, that he counts not these stimulants as his, but acquits himself of them as irresponsible. These he im- putes not to his proper self, i. e. his will ; but to himself


alone any indulgence whereby he may incline to them, and allow them any influence derogatory to the authority of the law objected by reason to his will.

Nor does reason overstep her bounds, in cogitating herself in, into a supersensible state ; but she would then, when she pretended to feel herself into it, or by intui- tion to ENVISAGE herself there. Such supersensible is a mere idea, negative of the sensible world, which gives no laws to determine reason ; and is in this point alone posi- V tive — that freedom, although a negative quality, carries ^ with it a positive function and causality of reason called i will, enabling man so to act that the principle of his con- duct may tally with the essential constitution of all causal reasons ; i. e. the condition, that a reasonable agent's max- ims of conduct should be at all times fit for law universal. But when reason attempts to draw down an object of WILL from the cogitable world, then she oversteps her li- mits, and affects a knowledge where she knows nothing. The notion of a cogitable system is a mere station which reason needs for a fulcrum to lift itself out of the mass of appearances, and cogitate itself as sui-active. This, however, mankind could not at all do, if sensitive excite- ments necessarily determined the human will ; but which he must inevitably do, unless self-consciousness, as in- telligent and spontaneous reason, is to be denied. This conception leads no doubt to the idea of a different order of things, and of a legislation totally diverse from laws obtaining over the mechanic events in nature, and renders the representation of a cogitable world {i. e. the aggregate of Intelligents as things-in-themselves) necessary and in- evitable. But all this takes place without the smallest pretence to know any thing of the laws obtaining there,


excepting only the formal condition of them, viz. the potential universality of the maxims of their wills for law ; that is, their autonomy, which alone can consist with free- dom ; whereas all laws whatsoever, grounded on an ob- ject, beget heteronomy, and can take place singly in me- chanic nexus and a physical system.

But reason would indeed overstep all bounds and li- mits were she to undertake an explanation, how pure reason can be spontaneous and self-practical? a problem perfectly identic with this one, to explain how frkedom OF will is possible.

For we can explain nothing which we cannot reduce to laws, the object of which is given, or at least may be given, in observation and experience ; whereas freedom is a bare idea, and its objective reality cannot be exhibited or ex- plained by laws of the physical system, i. e. is nowhere found in observation and experience ; and since no exam- ple or analogy can be supplied to it, its reality can never become either comprehended or understood. It is valid I inaerely as a necessary hypothesis for that reason which be- ' lieves itself possessed of will, ^. e. of a function superior to mere powers of desire ; namely, a function to determine it- self to act as pure intelligence, upon grounds of reason, and independently on physical instincts. Now, where events cease to be regulated by physic laws, there all explana- tion is at end ; and all that remains is to defend our pos- session of the idea, that is, to repel the attacks of those who pretend to see farther into the nature of things than others, and who boldly pronounce freedom an absurdity. And we can show them, that the contradiction they ima- gine they have found out, lies only in their refusing to regard man in his twofold character; and that when, in


order to support the unvai'iedness of the causal law in re- spect of human actions, they consider nian of necessity as a phenomenon in the physical system, and are then further required to figure to themselves man as Intelligent, and not as an appearance, but a thing in itself, they still per- sist in regarding him as in space and time; in which case, indeed, to separate his causality {i. e. his will) from the laws obtaining there, is impossible, and an absurdity ; which difficulty vanishes entirely if they would bethink •themselves, as reason calls on them to do, that beyond phenomena must needs be things-in-themselves, althougli latent, — the laws of which last cannot be expected to turn out identic with the laws under which their appearances rank.

This subjective impossibility to explain the freedom of the will is identic with the impossibility to investigate or explain the interest* mankind takes in the moral law; and although he has such interest, the groundwork of which is called the moral sense, no further account of it can be given. The feeling itself has been falsely declared to be the standard and guide of our ethical judgments,

• Interest is that whereby reason becomes a cause practically determin- ing the will. Hence we say of rationals only, that they have an interest in anywhat ; irrationals have no more than an appetite or instinct. Reason takes an immediate interest in an action only then, when the universal validity of its maxim is the exclusive determinative of the will. Such an interest is the alone pure. Again, the interest taken by reason in an action is then indirect and oblique, when some object of de- sire or particular feeling of the subject is pre-required to determine the choice ; and since abstract reason cannot assign any objects of desire, nor beget any feeling pointing to such object, but these arise from observa. tion and experience singly, such latter interest is no pure interest of reason, but is one adulterated with a posteriori grounds. Even the logi- cal interest of reason is not immediate, but rests on the end and aim it may have of advancing its speculative extent.


whereas it is the inward effect exercised by the law upon the will, the objective grounds of which reside in reason. In order to will what reason ordains that man ought and should, this last must have a function enabling it to beget A FEELING OF AMENITY, in the carrying its law into execution — in other words, in discharging duty; conse- quently, reason must have a causality of its own, adapted for determining the sensory according to its own princi- ples. It is, however, altogether impossible to comprehend how a naked thought, containing in it nothing of the sen- sory, can bring forth an emotion of pleasure or pain ; for it is a peculiar kind of causality, and of it, like every other kind of causality, we can predicate nothing a 'priori.^ but see ourselves compelled to interrogate experience. Observation and experience, however, teach no other rela- tion betwixt cause and effect, than the relation obtaining betwixt one phenomenon and another; and, in the case we are considering, reason is, by its ideas (which no ex- perience reaches), the cause of an effect, which last alone lies within observation and experience ; whence we see, that an explanation, how and why the universal vali- dity OF A MAXIM FOR LAW {%. 6. MORALITY) should inte- rest mankind, is quite unattainable. Only thus much is certain, that morality is not valid for man because it INTERESTS HIM (for that were heteronomy and depen- dency of the will on sense), but that it interests — be- cause it has validity for man — because its law springs from our very intellectual being, and from what is man's proper self; now, whatever {e. g. the interest) is



The question, how a categorical imperative is possible, may therefore be thus far replied to, that we can assign the alone hypothesis on which such imperative can be founded, viz. freedom ; and it is replied to, in so far as we can com- prehend the necessity of this postulate freedom, which is sufficient for the practical conduct of reason, i, e. to a practical conviction of the authority and validity of the imperative, that is, generally of the morallaw. Buthowthe hypothesis itself comes to be possible, is what no human reason can comprehend. Upon the hypothesis of freedom of will, AUTONOMY, the formal condition of its determina- tion was inferred as a necessary sequel ; to postulate which freedom of will, is not only possible, but is un- conditionally NECESSARY, for a being conscious of its in- tellectual causality, that is, of a will, which it distinguish- es from its desires ; which postulate it must likewise ap- ply to the PRACTICAL use of every voluntary action. But how naked reason, independently of every other spring, can be itself active and spontaneous, i. e. how the mere principle of the validity of its maxims for universal laws, independently on every object man may be interested in, can be itself a spring to action, and beget an interest which is purely ethical; to explain this, I say, how REASON CAN BE THUS PRACTICAL, is quitc bcyond the reach and grasp of all human thought, and the labour and toil bestowed on any such inquiry is fruitless and thrown away.

An inquiry instituted to this effect would be just the same as if I were to try to fathom how freedom is, as a cau- sality of will, possible; forlthenquit all philosophic grounds of explanation, and have none other. I might no doubt give my fancy reins, and let it run riot through a cogitable



region which still remains. But though I have a well- grounded IDEA of such a state, I have no knowledge of it whatever, and can acquire none by any stretch of thought. The idea denotes a mere somewhat (cogitable) Avhich remains when eveiy sensitive excitement is exclud- ed from the will ; and this exclusion is had recourse to, in order to show that the sensible system is not all in all, but that beyond lies somewhat ulterior. But this ulterior is a vast unknown and blank. When reason thinks of such an ideal state, and abstracts from all known objects, there remains nothing except the form (of reason itself), viz. the law of the universal validity of its maxims ; and in harmony with this, reason, as therein an agent, i. e. a cause determining volition. Every spring is here awant- ing and abstracted from, unless, indeed, the idea of this cogitable state be itself the spring, i. e. that in which rea- son takes its originary interest ; but to make this com- prehensible, is just the problem we have declared in- sol uble.

Here, then, is the utmost verge of all ethical inquiry, to fix the just bounds and limits of which is of very great importance ; for it provides reason with a guard against seeking in the sensible system for its last determinator, and finding there, to the utter ruin of all morality, a phy- sical and comprehensible interest ; and it likewise fur- nishes a guard whereby reason is prevented from impo- tently flapping its wings and attempting to soar in the blank void of impossible ideas, and, without moving from the spot, disorienting itself amid chimeras. The idea of a pure cogitable world, as an aggregate of reasonable be- ings, to which ourselves belong (although still parts in a physical system), is a most fertile and allowed idea for the


l>ehoof of a reasonable faith, all knowledge falling short on this side of it. Nor can the August Ideal of an Universal Kingdom of Ends in themselves fail to excite in man a lively interest in the moral law, since man- kind can only then figure themselves its inhabitants, when they most industriously adhere to the imperatives of free- dom, as if they were necessary laws of the physical system.

Conclusion of the Groundwork.

Speculative reason, when examining the physical sys- tem, arrived at the idea of an absolute necessity contain- ed in some last and supreme cause of the world. Prac- tical reason, reflecting on its actions, arrives also at an absolute necessity (in freedom), a necessity extend- ing no further than to the laws of the actions of a reasonable being considered as such. Now it is a fun- damental principle of all use of reason, to carry back all knowledge to a consciousness of its necessity (and where this is not done, the knowledge does not rest on grounds of reason) ; and yet it is a limit as invariably put to it, that cannot comprehend this necessity, either of what bap- pens, or of what ought to happen, unless it is able to assign some condition as a ground upon which some- what either is or ought to be. In this way, by continual- ly requiring farther and farther conditions, the insight and satisfaction of reason is postponed. In this restless state reason is driven on the unconditionally necessary, and is forced upon it, although it cannot by any means comprehend such unconditionate necessity, and deems itself happy when it impinges on an idea able to support


the load of such a liypothesis. It is therefore no fault of this deduction and inquiry into the supreme and last prin- ciple of morality, but an objection which it behoved to make to human reason itself, that it cannot make com- prehensible the absolute necessity of an unconditioned practical law, which unconditionate necessity the catego- rical imperative must have ; for that reason refuses to ex- plain it by adopting the further condition of an interest attaching to it, can be no reproach to reason, since in such event the imperative would cease to be a moral, i. e. supreme law of freedom, and so we cannot comprehend the unconditionate practical necessity of the ethical impe- rative, but we comprehend why it is incomprehensible ; and this is as much as can be reasonably demanded from a system of philosophy which has for its object to inves- tigate the reach and extent of the faculty of reason.





Practical principles are propositions contain- ing different rules, subordinate to them, which may be grounds of determining the will. They are either subjective, and are called maxims, when the rule is considered as of force only in reference to the thinking subject himself; or they are objective, and are called laws, when reason pronounces the rule to have an ethical virtue of obliging all reasonable be* ings.


If it be admitted that reason contains in itself practi- cal grounds sufficient for determining the will, then there are practical laws ; but if otherwise, then are there no more than practical maxims. Where a will is pathologi- cally affected, there a collision of maxims is conceivable ; nay, they may even militate against laws which the think- ing subject himself admits to be objected to his will by reason. Thus, an individual may adopt the maxim to let no injury pass unavenged, and at the same time he may


see very clearly that that principle is no law, but simply a maxim of his own; and that if such a maxim were raised to the rank of a law in a general code or system of moral legislation, it would become self-destructory, and inconsistent with itself. In natural philosophy, princi- ples regulating what happens (events) (e. g. the principle of the equality of action and re-action in communi- cating motion ) are also laws of nature ; for in physics the use of reason is theoretic, and determined by the nature of the object. But in moral philosophy, where determinators of volition are alone inquired into, the rules or principles which a person may adopt to regulate what happens (actions), are not in any sense laws inevitably put upon him ; for reason is here practical, and has to do with the appetitive faculty of the subject, according to the na- ture and qualities of which, the rule may be variously mo- dified. Every practical rule is a product of reason ; for it prescribes an act as a mean toward an end, which is intended. But such a rule is, in the case of a being whose reason is not the sole determinator of his choice, an im- perative, i. e. a rule expressed by the word shall or OUGHT, and it denotes the objective necessity of an ac- tion, and implies that, if the will were guided by reason singly, the action would follow according to the rule. Imperatives have therefore an objective import, and so differ totally from maxims, which are subjective singly. They determine the causality of an agent either in regard of the effect or purpose to be reached, or they determine the causality simpliciter. In the first case, the imperatives are hypothetical, and are no more than rules of art ; but, in the second, they are categoric and absolute, and these alone are practical laws regulating conduct. While, then,


maxims may be regarded as rules, they never can be con» sidered as imperatives. Even imperatives, when no more than conditional determinators of the will, i. e. when they determine the will, not as such simply, but as a mean to- ward some desired effect, are not laws, but practical pre- cepts only. Laws must determine the will, as will, and do not even depend on the question, whether the subject pos- sess the power requisite for some desired end : they are equally independent of the particular line of conduct con- ducive to it ; i. e. they are categoric ; and if they were not so they would not be laws, being deficient in necessity, — a practical necessity, being only possible to be conceived where the will is defecated thoroughly from all patholo- gical and contingent circumstances which may attach to it. When it is said that a man must exert himself in youth and be thrifty, that he may not starve when he is old, a true and important rule of conduct is advanced ; but what is to be observed with regard to this rule is, that the will is referred to somewhat out of and beyond itself, of which it is presumed it makes a choice ; and it must be left to the individual himself whether he so choose or no ; whether he may expect funds from other sources than his own industry ; whether he think he may live to old age ; or whether he may keep himself by stealing when he comes to want. Reason, from which alone a rule expres- sive of necessity can emanate, lends a necessity to the foregoing precept (for, apart from its necessity, it were no imperative) ; but such necessity is subjectively t'^'idition- al, and cannot be supposed of all thinking beings equally. But, for a legislation of reason, nothing farther can be re- quired than that it presuppose itself, since, in this event alone, can a rule be objectively and universally valid, no


subjective contingent cii'cumstances being introduced dis- tinguishing one reasonable being from another. Now, let it be said that none oughtto promise deceitfully, and we have a rule which respects the will singly, and takes no cog- nizance of any ulterior aim or intention which a man may have, and is hence independent of the consideration of any such aim being attainable or not. It is the naked volition which is given as determined a priori by the rule. Again, suppose that the above rule be correct and true, then it is law ; for the imperative it expresses is categoric. All practical laws refer to will, quite irrespective of any ef- fects which its causality may produce, whence abstracting from " those," we may consider " </w«" as it is a priori.


All practical principles which pre-suppose an ob- ject, or matter chosen, as a determinator of the will, are one and all of them taken from experience and observation, and, being a posterimit cannot supply a law of acting.


By the matter of a choice, I understand an object, the existence of which is desired. When the desire of this object goes before the practical rule, and is the condition determining it, then I say, first, such rule is always a pos- teriori ; for the determinator of choice is then the repre- sentation of an object, and the relation subsisting between the representation and the subject, whereby the choice is determined to realize the object. This relation, however,


is called pleasure in the existence of" the object. This pleasure must therefore be pre-supposed as a condition pre(;edent to the possibility of such determination of the choice. Now it is impossible to know a priori, in any case, whether the representation of an object is to be ac- companied with pleasure or not ; whence it follows that the determinator of the choice is a posteriori in such event, as is likewise the material principle of acting which rests on it as a condition.

Again, I say, secondly, that since a principle which is based on the susceptibility of an individual for pleasure or pain is known only by an induction a posteriori, and can- not be extended to other agents perhaps not endowed with any similar or the same capacity, it may become a max- im, but can never be law, not even fojr this individual ; for it is devoid of objective necessity, which is always a priori. A material principle can therefore never yield a practical law regulating conduct.


All material practical principles, however different, agree in this, that they belong to one general system of Eudaimonism, and rest on self-l(5ve.

The pleasure arising from the representation of the existence of a thing, when a determinator of the choice towards that thing rests on the susceptibility of the individual, and depends on the existence of the thing, and belongs for this reason to the sensory and not to the understanding, because this last refers a representation to the object by the intervention of a


notion, and does not refer it to the subject by the in- tervention of a feeling. The pleasure is consequently only in so far practical, as the agreeable sensation ex- pected by the individual from the object determines his choice. But the consciousness of agreeable sensa- tions, regarded as uninterrupted through the whole course of life, constitutes happiness; and the ruling principle to make regard to one's own happiness the supreme and single determination to action, is the principle which is justly called self-love; consequent- ly all material principles which put the determinator of choice in the pleasure or pain resulting from the existence of an object, are to this extent all of the SAME KIND — that they belong to a system of Eudai- monism, and rest on one's own self-love.

Corollary. — Every material rule assigns a de- termination of choice taken from the lower powers OF DESIRE singly ; and were there no formal law of the will sufficient to determine it, it would needs fol- low that there existed no superior power of de- sire at all.


It is quite surprising that men, otherwise acute, should have imagined that they had detected the difference be- twixt the HIGHER and inferior powers of desire, by ob- serving whether the representation productive of plea- sure sprang from the sensory or from the understand-


ing; for when inquiry is made as to the determinator of a choice, and the grounds of that determination be put in the agreeable sensation expected from an object, it is of no moment from what faculty the representation springs, but this alone is to be considered, how much the representation pleases or delights. If a representation, which may have its seat in the understanding, is only able to determine the choice by presupposing a pleasurable sensation in the subject, then it is clear that the deter- mination depends on the peculiar constitution of the sen- sory, and its susceptibility for an emotion of delight. It is of no consequence to insist that the representations of objects are widely different, according as they are, of the understanding, of reason, or of the sensory ; for the feeling of pleasure, by which the will is put into motion, is in either of these UiEfifi-xases exactly of the same kind,^both by being known only a posteriori, and by its stimulating the same vital function. The different agreeable sensations which may therefore determine the will, differ merely in degree ; and if this were not so, it were impossible that any man could compare different representatious, spring- ing from different faculties, so as to prefer one before the other; and yet an individual may throw aside a useful book not to neglect a hunting match ; the very same man may quit listening to a most pathetic harangue, not to be too late for dinner, or leave a most interesting party, and for whom he has the highest esteem, to adjourn to a gam- ing table ; nay, a benevolent man, otherwise fond of giving alms, may turn away a poor object because he has just so much money in his pocket as will pay his entrance into the theatre. If the motive determining the will turn on the pleasure or pain expected from a representation, it


must be quite indiflFerent to the individual what kind of representation aflFects him ; his sole concern in determining his choice must be how intense, how durable, how^easily acquired and repeated, may be the gratification; just as it is indifferent to the man who is about to pay away his money, whether the gold of which his coin consists has been dug out of a mine or washed from the sand, pi'ovided it pass current in either case for the same value. A man, there- fore, whose concern rises no further than to pass happily through life, is perfectly indifferent whether a represen- tation of the sensory or of the understanding delight him, provided the enjoyment be equally gi'eat and equally dur- able in both cases. But, clear though this be, those who deny the power of reason to determine by itself the will, have continually embarrassed this matter by their bad de- finitions ; first holding certain sensations to be pleasures, and then pronouncing them somewhat totally diverse. Thus they observe that sustained exertion, that consci- ousness of force of will in overcoming great obstacles presented to the execiition of our resolves, that the cul- ture of the mind, impart high degrees of gratification ; and that mankind 4eem them more refined, because they are more in our own power, do not wear out by usage, but rather strengthen our susceptibility for such enjoyment, and so expand the mind while they delight it : upon these grounds they conclude, that such pleasures deter- mine the will in a totally different manner from the plea- sure of the senses, and support themselves in this belief by inventing a peculiar sense (a moral sense, or sense of taste) for their vehicle ; a style this of arguing, which re- minds one of those metaphysic quacks who keep cogitating •*^ matter till it become so fine, and supra-fine, that they


at length fancy it subtilized into spirit. If, like Epicurus, we rest virtue on the pleasure it may promise us, it is quite inconsistent to tax that philosopher with sottishness when he holds the pleasures of virtue as exactly the same in kind with the coarsest sensual enjoyment. And it is mistaking his system altogether to say that the representa- tions by which he expected to be delighted, have their ori- gin alone in the organs of the body. On the contrary, so far as we can understand him, he placed many pleasures in the culture and use of the intellectual powers ; but this ought not, and did not hinder him from regarding plea- sures, when stimulating the will, as exactly alike and the same in nature. To be rigidly consistent, is the highest duty of a philosopher ; and of this we find better examples in the old Greek schools than now a-days, when the most discordant systems are often forced, by the shallowness of their abettors, into a disgraceful coalition, in the hope of pleasing the public by giving them a little of everything. A system, the principles of which turn on one's own hap- piness, no matter how intellectually soever the under- standing may be employed on it, can never furnish any further motives than such as excite and stimulate the in- ferior powers of desire. Either, then, a superior power of desire is to be abandoned, or else reason must itself be a practical or active faculty; t. e. such a one as can by the bare form of its rule determine a volition, and that ab- stracted from all feelings of the agreeable or disagreeable which may follow or compose the matter of a choice. And if reason be such a faculty, then it is not in anywise in the service of the sensory, but does itself alone deter- mine a volition, and is a superior or supreme power of desire, generically distinct from the lower, and claiming


the supremacy over it. To adulterate the legislation of reason with motives borrowed from the sensory, is to im- pair its strength, and derogate from its pre-eminence, in the same way as a geometric demonstration would he ruin- ed, if attempted to he assisted by an induction ; for instead of being supported, it would lose its certainty and self- evidencing power.

Reason determines the will simpliciter by its law, and not indirectly by the intervention of an emotion, — not even by means of pleasure felt in the contemplation of the law itself; and it is only because reason is an active faculty, that it is possible for it to legislate over the will.


To be happy, is a desire entertained of necessity by every finite intelligence, and is therefore inevitably a determinator of choice. Contentment with our state of existence is no birth-right of man. If it were, it would be fitly termed blessedness, and would consist in the consciousness of man's all-sufficiency and independent self- contentment. On the contrary, happiness is a problem urged upon man's notice by the wants and insufficiency of his finite nature. These wants point to the matter of desire, i. e. to something affecting man's subjective feelings of pleasure and pain ; and these feelings determine what a man considers wanting for his happiness and contentment with his situation. But because such a material determi- nator is subjective singly, and known only by observation and experience, it is impossible to regard this question of happiness as founding any law or obligation ; a law being, as we have seen, objective, and containing a determinator of will, valid for all cases and for all intelligents whatever.


And thouj^h the notion happiness establishes a connection and relation betwixt objects and the powers of desire, still happiness is only a general denomination for all subjec- tive determinators, and nothing is fixed by it specifically, which, however, is indispensable towards the solution of any problem, and therefore also toward the solution of the question of happiness. What different individuals may find conducive to their happiness, depends entirely on their peculiar tastes and feelings ; and even in the same individual his conceptions of happiness vary and alter with circumstances, and with the emotions stimulat- ing his sensory. So that such subjective laws (although NECESSARY as parts of the physical system) are subjec- tively contingent (considered as practical principles of con- duct), and unfit for law universal, in so far as the appe- tite for happiness disregards entirely the formal fitness, and considers singly the material fitness of an action to produce the greatest amount of pleasure. Principles of self-love contain general rules for adapting means to an end, and so are merely theoretic or technical principles ; e. g. how he who would like to eat bread, has to construct a mill. But no practical principle founded on them can be necessary, or of catholic extent ; for, when the will acts from maxims of self-love, the deter minator of choice is based on feelings in the sensory ; and it is uncertain that these feelings are universal, not even certain that they are unalterable in respect of the same external objects.

But even supposing that finite Intelligents were at one as to their opinions of the agreeable and unpleasant, and that they coincided as to the lines of conduct expedient to be taken in order to compass the one and avoid the other, still the principle of self-love could not be announced as


a law for practical conduct ; for this uniformity would it- self be contingent ; the determinator of choice would be given and known from observation and experience singly, and could not contain that necessity which is of the es- sence of law, i. €. a necessity objected to the mind by reason a priori ; at least, if such principles were called laws, their necessity must be understood to mean, not a practical, but a physical necessitation, and would import that human actions followed on the appetites and passions by a determinate and fixed mechanism of our frame. But, rather than take refuge in such a baseless absurdity, it would be more judicious to maintain that there were no practical laws at all; for the utilitarian position elevates sub- jective principles to the rank of objective laws ; in which case, however, their objective necessity behoved to be un- derstood from grounds of reason a priori. Even in the physical system, the uniform sequences of its phenomena are alone called laws, because seen to be so a jjriori ; or when, as in chemistry, they are postulated as such, because it is presumed they would be so recognised if our facul- ties reached farther. But in the case of principles taken from the conceptions of self-love (one's own happiness), no such hypothesis or postulate is admissible, since it is of the very essence of the theory that it rests on subjec- tive and not on objective conditions : consequently, that the principles it yields can never be more than maxims, and are not, without contradiction, cogitable as laws. This may seem to a hasty reader a mere subtilizing upon words ; however, it concerns the assigning in terms an exact formula for the most important distinction which enters into the consideration of ethical philosophy.



If an Intelligent cogitate his maxims as practical laws of catholic extent, he can do so singly when his maxim is, not by its matter, but by its form, the de- terminator of volition.

The matter of any practical principle is the object or end willed ; and this end either determines the will, or it does not. If the matter chosen regulate the choice, then the rule depends on the relation sub- sisting betwixt the feelings of pleasure and pain, and the end represented, i. e. on an a posteriori condition ; and so the rule is unfit for a practical law. But when the matter of a law is taken away, there remains no- thing except the form of law in general; therefore an Intelligent either cannot in any event cogitate his maxims as fit for laws in a code of general moral le- gislation, or he must figure to himself that the bare form of law by which his maxims fit and are suited for catholic legislation, is what can alone render them practical laws.


What form (kind) of maxim is fit for law universal, and what not, is plain to the most untutored understand- ing ; for instance, a man resolves (i. e. adopts as maxim) to augment his income in every secure way. He holds in his hands a deposit intrusted to him by one who has just died intestate ; and he proposes to apply his maxim to the



sum in his trust. I now put the question, and ask if such maxim would be valid for a law of catholic extent, i. e. if Ilia maxim can be announced in the form of a law ; and it is directly perceptible that a (practical) law, or- daining every one to detain sums committed to his trust, when he safely can do so, is absurd and self-destructory ; for it would tend to this issue, that no deposit would at any time be made, and so the law to break trust would effect its own avoidance. What reason recognises as a practical law, however, must be fit for law universal (for all agents). The proposition is identic, and cannot be made plainer. So that, if the will be subjected to a prac- tical law, the depositary cannot found on his appetite for hoarding as a determinator of choice fit for law universal. For, so far from being fit for that, it was seen, when con- sidered under the form of a universal law, to be incom- patible with itself, and self-annihilating.

Although the tendency to happiness is universal, as is also the maxim by which that tendency is made a determi- nator of choice, yet it is surprising that men of understand- ing, should for that reason announce this want, as a foun- dation for a universal practical law. For, while every other law effects uniformity as its result, the law taken from a maxim to make one's self happy, would not only exhibit the veriest counterpart of such harmony, but would annihilate the maxim itself, and frustrate the end designed, in making it a law. In the case of utilitarian (greatest happiness) principles, all wills have not the same end, but each will has its own (its own welfare), which may per- haps accord with others, perhaps not, but which at any rate gives no certain determinate law, the possible ex- ceptions being innumerable ; and that sort of harmony



mlglit emerge which a satiric poet describes as the con- cord of spouses who mutually ruin one another by their extravagance, —

How wonderful their harmony ; For what he wills, that wills eke she.

Or that sort expressed by the message from Francis I. to Charles V. " Whatever my brother Charles chooses (Lom- bardy), that assure him I choose also." In short, princi- ples founded on observation and experience, never can be- come the groundwork of any law ; for, to invent one ca- pable of reducing to harmony all the appetites and by- ends of mankind, and at the same time founded on them, is altogether impossible.


Upon the hypothesis that a maxim is, by its legis- lative form singly, the alone valid determinator of choice ; to find the nature of a will so determinable.

Since the abstract form of law in geiiere is cogita- ble by the force of reason singly, it is nowhat objected to the senses, and so no phenomenon occurring in space and time ; and the idea of it, considered as a determi- nator of will, is wholly different in kind, from the de- terminators of phenomena in the physical system, be- cause in this last, the determinator of a phenomenon, is, by the law of the causal-nexus, itself also always a phenomenon. Again, since, by hypothesis, no de- terminator of will was valid as law, except the uni- versal legislative form, it follows that such a will is


quite independent of the causal law by which phe- nomena are regulated. But to be independent of the law of cause and effect, and of the mechanism of the physical system, is freedom, in the strictest sense of the word. A will, therefore, whose alone law is the legislative form of its maxims, is a free will.


Conversely. Upon the hypothesis that a will is free, to find the law, alone fit for its necessary deter- minator.

Since the matter of any practical law {i. e. the ob- ject of a maxim) can only be given a posteriori, and the will is, by the supposition, unaffected by any con- ditions a posteriori, and free, and yet cannot be cogi- tated as devoid of all law, it remains, that a free will must find in the law, somewhat fit for its regulation, irrespective of the matter of the law. But when the matter of a law is taken away, there remains nothing except its legislative form. The legislative form, therefore, contained in a maxim, is that which can alone determine a free will.


1 Freedom, and an imperative practical law, reciprocally \ point to one another. I do not here raise the question, if they really differ, or if the unconditioned law js not identically the same with self-consciousness of pure prac- tical reason, and this last again identic witli the po« 


sitive idea freedom ; but I only examine from what our knowledge of an unconditioned practical necessity takes its rise, — if from the idea freedom, or from the law. That it should begin from the former is impossible ; for we are conscious of it not immediately, as is seen by our first conception of it being negative only. Neither do we know our freedom from observation and experience, experience teaching only that mechanic law of the causal- nexus which is the vei'iest antipart of freedom. It is there- fore from the moral law alone, that its original is to be de- duced ; for of it, we are instantly conscious, as soon as we adopt maxims or resolutions of conduct ; and reason, by representing this, as a determinator, far outweighing all sensitive considerations, and totally unconnected and inde- pendent of them, leads to the idea freedom. And if the question is further put, how do we arrive at the conscious- ness of the moral law? the answer is the same as in the case of any other proposition a priori^ — that we are con- scious of a practical law a priori, as we are conscious of theoretic ones, by attending to the necessity with which reason obtrudes them on the mind ; and by separating from them all a posteriori conditions, we arrive, from the first, at the idea of a pure will, as, from the last, at the notion of a pure understanding. That this is indeed the order in which these ideas are ushered into the mind, and that morality first reveals to man his inward freedom, and that practical reason first proposes to speculative reason its in- soluble problems, is plain from this, that since no pheno- menon can be explained by help of the idea freedom, and since speculative reason was lost in the embarrass arising from its Antinomies, no one could have hazarded the in- troduction of such an idea into science, had not the moral


law obtruded and flung it before the mind. This opinion is further strengthened by its consistency with what ex- perience teaches ; for let any one allege that his sexual appetite is so strong as to be quite ungovernable, and put the case to him, whether he could not refuse to give his passions vent, if he knew he were to be led to instant execution if he did so, and there can be no doubt as to what his love of life would prompt him to answer ; but ask him further, if his sovereign were to order him, upon pain of the same death, falsely to swear away the life of an obnoxious noble, whether his love of life would induce him to do so, or if he thought he could disobey the unjust mandate. Whether he would do so or not, he might not have confidence in himself to assert, but that he could must be admitted, by him, without hesitation ; that is, man judges it possible for him to do an act because he is con- scious that he ought to do it : and so recognises his in- ward freedom, which, apart from the moral law, would have remained latent and undiscovered.


n So act that thy maxims of will might become law in a system of universal moral legislation.


Geometry begins with postulates concerning the draw- ing of lines and the fixing of points, and these are prac- tical propositions, containing nothing further than the supposition that an operation may be performed when science requires it ; and they are the sole propositions of the mathematics which refer to the existence or non-exis-


tence of a phenomenon. They are, therefore, practical positions, standing under a problematic state of will. But in Ethics the practical rule is absolute, and ordains some- what to be done, whereby the will is objectively deter- mined. Pure self-active (spontaneous) reason being im- mediately legislative, the will is cogitated as independent on conditions a posteriori ; i. e. as pure will determinable by the bare form of law. The fact is startling, and with- out any parallel ; for the a priori idea of a potential legis- lation is unconditionally announced as law, without hav- ing its possibility established from any observation or ex- perience, or supported by the fiat of any foreign or exte- rior will.

Our consciousness of this fundamental law is an ulti- mate fact of reason, for it issues from no preceding data, €. g. the consciousness of freedom, but is thrust upon the mind directly as a synthetic a priori proposition, and is bottomed on no intuition whatsoever, whether a priori or a posteriori. But if the idea freedom were given, then would the law be analytic. But the idea is in the first in- stance negative singly ; and if it were positive, would re- quire an intellectual intuition, as to which there can be no question. Lastly, when it is said that this law is given, I beg it may be understood that it is not known by obser- vation and experience, but that it is the single isolated fact of practical reason, announcing itself as originally le- gislative. Sic volOf sicjubeo.

Corollary. — Reason is spontaneg^sly practical, and gives that universal law (to man) which is called the moral law.



This fact is undoubted. One needs only to analyse the judgments passed by mankind on the lawfulness of their own actions, in order to become aware with what unchang- ing necessity reason contrasts every maxim of conduct with the idea of a pure will, i. e. holds up as a standard, itself represented as a priori causal. The above principle of morality is authentically announced by reason as law for all Intelligents, i. e. for all who have a faculty of de- termining their own causality by the representation of a rule, i. e. in so far as they are susceptible of actions upon system, and so susceptible of practical principles a priori ; which last have alone that necessity which reason demands in an ultimate position. The moral law is therefore not confined to man, but extends over all, even to the Most High and Supreme himself; but, in the former case, the law is expressed in the formula of an imperative ; for although man is cogitated as the possessor of a pure will, yet, since he is susceptible of emotions and wants insepa- rable from his finite state, he has by no means a holy will, i. e. a will incapable of adopting maxims incompatible with the law. The moral law is hence to finite Intelligents an imperative, expressing a categoric command.

The relation of such a will to the law is called obliga- tion, which signifies necessitation by reason to an act, which act again is called duty. A will pathologically af- fected is in the state of wish, a state springing from sub- jective emotions, and therefore often not in harmony with the objective determinator, and so requires an inward in- tellectual co-action, i, e. moral necessitation. In the case, however, of the Most High and Supreme, his will is


rightly cogitated as incapable of any maxim not fit for law universal. And the idea Holiness, which therefore becomes his attribute, excludes all limitary or negative laws, and so exalts him far beyond the conceptions of ob- ligation and duty. This Holiness of Will is, however, no- thing more than a practical idea ; an infinite approxima- tion towards which is all that is possible for man or any other finite being, and which ideal standard is constantly held up to man by the Moral Law, called for that reason itself Holy. Steadfastness in this continual advancement, and Hope in the unchangeableness of a man's resolves to do sOjOi', in one word, virtue, is the utmost a finite reason can accomplish ; and since this practical power is deve- loped by exercise, and known by observation and expe- rience, it can never be fully attained or secured, and the confident over-persuasion of such would militate to the prejudice of morality.


Autonomy of will is the alone foundation of mora- lity, and of the duties springing from it ; and every other principle whatsoever, not only cannot found laws of necessary obligation and catholic extent, but is, in fact, subversive of morality. In being inde- pendent of the matter of any law (a desired object), and being determinable by the legislative form of his own maxims, consists the ethical nature of man, and that which renders him a subject for morality : that independence is freedom negatively, while this self- legislation is freedom positively. The moral law ex-


[presses, therefore, nothing else than just the autono- 11 my of reason, i. e. of a man's freedom or spontaneity ; and this autonomy or freedom is a condition which must qualify every maxim, if these last are to har- monise with the moral law itself. On the contrary, when the matter of a volition, which can be nothing else than the object of a desire, is made part of the practical law, and represented as a condition pre-re- quisite to its possibility, then Heteronomy (a false principle of morals) results ; and the will ceases to prescribe to itself its own law, and is left exposed to laws taken from pathological phenomena. In this case, however, the maxim adopted by the will is for- mally unfit for law universal, and not only founds no obligation, but goes to subvert the principles of prac- tical reason itself, and so militates against genuine moral sentiments, even while the actions emanating from such heteronomy, are not wanting in conformity to the law.


I. Practical rules, based on accidental and contingent circumstances, can never be regarded as laws for conduct. The will's proper law wafts it from this visible system, into another order of things; and that necessity it ex- presses, having no common part with the mechanic ne- cessity expressed by laws of nature, can consist alone in the formal conditions requisite to the possibility of law in general. The matter of every practical rule depends on


subjective facts not extending to all agents whatsoever, and hinges on the principle of one's own happiness. And al- though it cannot be questioned that every volition has an end aimed at {i. e. a matter), yet that by no means war- rants the conclusion that such matter is the condition and determinator of the maxim ; for if so, then maxims could not be elevated to the rank of law in a system of universal moral legislation, as they would rest on accidental, and not on necessary circumstances. Thus it is quite possible that the happiness of others may be the object of the will of an Intelligent ; but if regarded as the determinator of the maxim, then it must be suppos- ed that we not merely feel a secret gratification on per- ceiving the happiness of others, but that we are stimulated by a physical want or appetite to act towards it, as in the case of compassion ; and so there would be no law of be- nevolence, that physical feeling not reaching all persons whatever (e. ff. God). However, there may be a law en- joining universal love, and the matter of benevolent maxims may remain, provided it is not figured as their pre-requi- site condition ; and it is the form of law which, by mould- ing the matter chosen, is the ground of adding such mat- ter to the will. To make this as clear as may be, let the object-matter of my choice be ;my own happiness, then a maxim expressing such volition can only be fit for law universal {i. e. be moral), when I involve in it the happi- ness of every other Intelligent throughout the universe. And a law ordaining me to promote universal happiness, is therefore quite independent of the supposition that hap- piness is the choice of all wills, and rests singly on its own formal universality. This satisfies the demands of reason, and gives to what would else be a mere selfish


maxim, a qualification fitting it for law. In this way it is observable, that a pure will is not determined by a de- sire of happiness, but is so singly by the form of legality ; this form again — adapting the maxim founded on the ap- petite for happiness for law universal — is that alone which allows me to act upon it, for on no other condition can this appetite be brought into harmony with the requisitions of reason. On this is based the obligation to extend my pri- vate selfish choice of happiness, so as to include at the same time that of others.


The antipart of this principle of morality, is that of self-love, on which, I have already shown, every system must be based, when the determinator regulating the choice is sought for elsewhere than in the legislative form of the maxim ; and this contrariety is not logical merely, but practical, and would infallibly overthrow all morality, were not the voice of reason at all times too audible, and its native force to determine the will, too strong to be af- fected by dark and deceitful subtleties of the schools, as may be made palpable by the following examples : —

If a person were to attempt to justify his having borne false witness, by alleging to his friend the sacred obliga- tion he lay under of consulting his own happiness, by enumerating the profits and advantages accruing from this falsehood ; and if he were, in conclusion, to point out the extreme cunning he had employed in the whole mat- ter, to fortify himself against detection, and to add, that although he now intrusted to his friend this secret, yet he was ready to deny it stoutly at any future occasion, and! that in all this he was discharging a humane and reason-


able duty, certainly his friend must either laugh him to scorn, or turn from him with disgust ; although, if maxims are to be constructed singly with respect to one's own ad- vantage, nothing of moment can be urged against such a line of conduct. Or, however, to take a second case, if somebody were to recommend an overseer or factor to you, and were to say that he was an exceedingly clever man, — most restlessly active in securing his own interest, quite unembarrassed by any scruples as to any mode conducive to this end, and perfectly indifferent whether the money he had occasion to disburse was his own or another's ; — you would either conclude that there was an attempt to make a fool of you, or that the per- son who could give such a recommendation had lost his understanding. Thus widely separated are the con- fines of self-love from those of morality. A gulf impas- sable lies betwixt their maxims. Self-love (prudence) advises by its maxims, but the moral law commands ; and the difference is unspeakably great, betwixt what is expe- dient and what is imperative to be done.

The action called for by autonomy is always known and undoubted, but that demanded by a heteronomous principle is uncertain, and requires extended experience and acquaintance with the world ; in other words, every man knows within himself what is " duty ;" but what is to found one's prosperity and happiness is matter of inextricable doubt, and it demands extreme dexterity, even to apply suoh selfish rules to the conduct of life, for the exceptions they make upon one another are endless. The moral law has no exceptions, but demands from every one punctual observance, and must therefore be so plain and obvious in its requirements, that the most common


understanding can advance along it, without any study of the intricate ways of the world.

To obey the categorical law of morals, is at all times in every one's power ; but it is not practicable for all to act upon dictates of expediency : the reason is, that the first demands singly a pure and unadulterated will (maxim), but the latter calls further for ability and physical power to gain the end aimed at. A law to pursue one's own happi- ness were absurd, for it is superfluous to ordain any one to choose, what the constitution of his nature inevitably forces him to will, and it were more fit to instruct him as to those measures calculated to carry his choice into ef- fect. But to command morality under the name of duty, is quite rational, for we do not willingly yield obedience to its law; and as to the steps requisite to be taken in or- der to adhere to it, that is explained in the methodology of ethics ; what is here wanted, is alone the original bent or cast of the volition to do so ; for whenever any one wills, that also gives him the power to carry the law into effect, i. e. to act upon it.

To carry as far as may be this difference between principles of utilitarianism and morality, I observe far- ther, —

He who has lost at play may be vexed at his imprudence and want of skill; but he who is conscious within himself of having cheated, must despise himself as soon as he com- pares his conduct with the moral law, and that too al- though he have won treasures. The moral law must there- fore be somewhat widely distinct from principles of self- aggrandisement. And for any one to be obliged to say to himself, I am worthless and a villain, though wealthy, and to say, I am clever and cunning, for I have amassed riches,


live judgments founded on standards of conduct totally


Again, the idea of blame-worthiness and punishment, which reason invariably attaches to that of guilt, makes a singular contrast with the Eudaimonistic system ; for al- though he who appoints a punishment, may do so with a view to the ulterior happiness of the delinquent, yet punishment, as actual pain or evil added to the offender, must be justified as such, so as to constrain even the guilty to acknowledge that the severity is just, and that his evil lot answers to his ill desert. Every punishment must be rigidly just, for justice is of the very essence of this idea. Benignity is not contrary to justice, and may in union with justice deal out punishment : but for kindness or mercy, the blame-worthy has no claim ; and so it is clear that punishment is a physical evil, which it behoved should be annexed to moral evil (according to the ethical legislation of reason) even if it were not already so. If, then, every crime is a fit object of punishment, and infers to some extent a forfeiture of happiness, it is a contra- diction and absurdity to say that a crime requires punish- ment because the transgressor has injured his own happi- ness ; for this is the whole conception of crime accord- ing to the Utilitarian System ; for then physical evil, i. e. punishment, would be the ground and reason of consider- ing any action as a transgression, and justice would come to consist in avoiding all pains and penalties (threatened by law), and in preventing those which come of themselves, which, when fully done, there would cease to be any evil in an action ; those evils consequent on a bad action, and which alone make it so, being henceforward removed. It were idle to examine the statement that rewards and pu-


nishraents are stimulant forces applied by a supreme power to man, in order to lead him towards true felicity ; the fancy of such mechanism of will being quite destruc- tory of all freedom.

The intervention of a moral sense, as a foundation for ethic science, is a somewhat more refined theory, but as untrue as the former ; for it alleges that this feeling, not reason, promulgates the moral law ; and further, since the consciousness of virtue is immediately connected, owing to this feeling, with enjoyment and pleasure, and that of vice with uneasiness and pain, it virtually runs up into a sui-felicity or greatest-happiness system. Not to insist again in those objections which are amply set forth in former paragraphs, I merely stop to point out a mistake which pervades the whole theory. Before we can figure to ourselves the vicious as haunted with an uneasy recol- lection of his misdeeds, he must be cogitated as already in some degree morally good ; as must likewise he who is to be gratified from reflecting on the integrity of his conduct. So that the ideas of morality and duty are pre-supposed to explain the existence of such a feeling, and cannot be derived from it. It is absolutely necessary that a person have estimated the high importance of duty, the authori- ty of the moral law, and the immediate unconditioned worth which the observance of it imparts to man in his own eyes, antecedently to his being able to feel that con- tentment springing from the consciousness of a moral character, or that bitter reproach springing from the conviction of the want of it. This moral felicity cannot precede the idea obligation, much less found it ; and it is requisite that an individual haA'^e some notions of morali- ty and honour, before he can ever figure to himself what


is meant by such emotions. This, however, is so far from inclining me to deny that a standing determination to act upon the representation of the moral law, and un- swerving constancy in doing so, will eventually establish this feeling of self-contentment, that I rather deem it a duty to cultivate such a state of mind, which state alone ought rigidly to be termed " a moral sense" However, to deduce thence the idea duty is impossible, for we would require a feeling of the law as such, so as to make that an object of sensation which can be represented to the mind by reason singly ; a statement which, if not a downright contradiction, goes to substitute in the room of duty a mechanic play of refined and more subtilized emotions, sometimes thwarting, sometimes harmonizing with the coarser feelings of our system.

We are now in a condition to exhibit and contrast our


every other material principle of morals hitherto advan- ced, and so to make it evident from a glance that these," and through them every other conceivable foundation, are exhausted, and that henceforth the attempt must be fruit- less to base morality on any other ground than the one on which it has been now rested. Every possible deter- minator of the will is either subjective, and borrowed from observation and experience, or else objective, and based on reason ; and these again, whether rational or inductive, are either external or internal.

Material Determinators in Ethical Systems are^




External. Internal.


Perfection- Wolf and the Stoics:


Education as Civil Polity. Physical Moral founding Morality. Mandeville. feeling. feeling. Montaigne. Epicuruti Hutcheion.


Will of God. Crusius and Theo- logical Moralist*.


Those on the left are all inductive, and plainly unfit for founding laws of catholic extent. Those on the right hand, however, have their origin and seat in reason (for perfection as a quality, and supreme perfection cogitated in substance, i. e. God, can only be figured to the mind by rea- son). But the first notion can mean only either perfection in a theoretic or in a practical sense : in the first it signi- fies completeness [i. e. quantitative perfectness), which can have no reference to what we are here talking of; or else it signifies (qualitative perfection), the practical fitness of man for accomplishing all possible variety of ends. Such an inward perfection is talent; and whatever adds to or serves as complement to that, is called skill.

Supreme perfection hypostatised, or in substance {i. e. God), consequently external perfection considered practi- cally, is the all-sufficiency of the Supreme Being for every end whatsoever.

Now, if ends must be given in order to fix the notion of perfection, so that the representation of a perfection in ourselves, or an external perfection in God, may deter- mine a volition towards them ; then, since such matter of choice precedes the volition, and is the condition of its prac- tical rule, it follows that the will is determined as on the Epicurean System. For the notion perfection determines the will by the gratification expected from our own ac- complishments ; and the will of God, when harmony with it is chosen, apart from any prior investigation of what is a perfect and absolutely good will, can only move the will by an expectation of happiness awaited from him.

Therefore, 1*^, All principles in this schedule are ma- terial ; 2dlyi they represent all such conceivable principles whatsoever; and, 3c?/y, because material principles are quite


unfit for law universal, it results that the formal practi- cal principle of reason (according to which the bare form of a potential legislation served for the supreme and im- mediate determinator of choice) is the alone possible which can found categorical imperatives, i. e. practical laws, and is thus at once the sole standard for estimating deportment, and the sole ethical determinator of the will.




The essence of all moral worth in acting consists in this, that the moral law he the immediate determinator of the will ; if the will be determined so as to he in har- mony with the law, hut only mediately, and by the inter- vention of an emotion or feeling, no matter of what kind soever this last may be, which emotion must be pre-sup- posed before the law becomes the sufficient determinator ; i. e. when the determination is not out of single reverence for the law, then the action is possessed of legality, but it contains no morality. Further, if by a spring is meant the subjective determinator of the will of an intelligent, who is not of necessity conformed to the objective law, then, from such explanation we conclude, first, that to a divine will no springs can be figured as attached ; and, SECOND, that in the case of the human, or of any other being, these can be none other than the moral law itself, i. e. that the objective determinator must be also at thok same time the always and single subjectively-sufficient determinator of an act, — if the act is to fulfil, not the bare letter, but likewise the spirit of the law.*

  • It may be said of every act outwardly in harmony with the law, but

which has not been performed out of naked regard had to it, that it is morally good after the letter, but not so according to the spirit, of the LAW.


- Since, then, no farther spring is to be sought for as a, medium to the moral law, in procuring it control and pur- chase on the will, which would be a dispensing with and supplanting of the moral law, and could produce nothing but an unstable hypocrisy, — nay, since it were even ha- zardous to call on any other spring for aid (e. g. utilita-, rian incitements), to work alongside of, and co-operate with, the law, — we can have no farther task than care- fully to inquire, how the ethical law acts as spring? and. what changes of state happen in the mind and man's powers of desire, as effects of its determining causality ? For how a law should be itself the alone and immediate deter-, minator of the will (wherein the essence of all morality consists), is a problem not solvable by human reason, and; quite identic with the question, how a free will is pos- sible ? What we therefore have to show a priori, is not the ground, by force of which, the moral law is a spring, but merely what, when it is so, it eflFects, and indeed MUST eflfect, upon the mind.

The essence of all determination of will by the mo- ral law lies in this, that it, as free will, be determined, not only without any co-operations from sensitive excite- ments, but that it even cast all such behind-back, and discard them, in so far as they may infringe upon the law, and be determined by it singly. Thus far the action of the moral law, as a spring, is no more than negative, and is known as such a priori. For every appetite and every sensitive excitement is based on feeling, and the negative action of the law on the sensory (when casting out all appetitive stimuli) is again itself a feeling. Consequently we understand a priori., that the moral law, the ground determining the will, must produce a feeling, when it

118 ON THE A PRlOllI

circumscribes and discards the solicitations of the sen- sory. This feeling may be called pain, and is the first, pro- bably the only case, where we have been able to assign, upon grounds a priori, the relation obtaining betwixt knowledge (here of pure practical reason), and a feeling of pleasure or pain. The aggregate of the appetites (which easily admit of being brought into a very tolerable system, and whereof the gratification is then one's own happiness) make up and compose what is called selfish- ness or SOLIPSISM ; and this selfishness is either that of SELF-LOVE or that of SELF-CONCEIT : the solipsism of the first resides in overstrained fondness and good will to a man's own self, and is sometimes called vanity ; the SOLIPSISM of the other is an extravagant self-complacency, and is particularized by the name of arrogance or vain- glory.* Practical reason circumscribes the claims of self-love, but allows them to be plausible, as they are astir in the mind even before the law itself; and limits them to the condition of being in harmony with the law, after which self-love is equitable; but the high thoughts of self-conceit it overthrows entirely, and de- clares all pretensions to self-esteem, prior to conformity with the law, void and empty ; because the certain con- sciousness of being so conformed is the supreme condition fixing all moral worth of the person, and all assumption of any — where there is not yet such conformity — is false and illegal. Now, the propensity to esteem one's self is one of those appetitive instincts infringed upon by reason to this extent, that it makes self-esteem depend upon mo-

• Pride (siiperJna) diflFers from all these. It is treated of as a vice, Met. Eth.


rality. Thus the moral law casts down all self-conceit ; but since the law is in fact somewhat positive, namely, the form of an intellectual causality, i. e. of freedom, it becomes, by the contrast it makes with the appetites it weakens and invades,— au object of reverence ; and in so far as it altogether prostrates self-conceit, i. e, humbles — an object of the most awful reverence, that is, it is the ground of a positive feeling, not begotten by anywhat sensitive, and which can be recognised a priori. Reve- rence for the MOEAL law is therefore a feeling or emo- tion caused by an intellectual ground, and is the only feeling capable of being recognised a priori, and the ne- cessity of which we are able to comprehend.

In the former chapter,* it was shown that every thing which could be presented as an object to the will before the moral law, was excluded by that law from the grounds determining a will which is to be unconditionally good ; and that nothing but the naked practical form, which consists in the fitness of maxims for law universal, esta- blishes what is in itself absolutely good, and founds maxims of a will good at all points. But we now find that our system is so constituted, that the matter of desire first obtrudes itself on the sensory; and our patho- logical A posteriori self, although its maxims are quite unfit for law universal, immediately endeavours, as if it were our whole and proper self, to make its claims valid, as the originary and prior. This deflective ten- DENcyf to make a man's subjective self the objective de-

• Not translated.

■j- Although the will deflect originally from the law, it is not necessary to say any thing of such casualty here ; for the duties imposed by the law remain the sanje, whatever bias a will may labour under.

120 ON THK A PlllORF

terminator of his will, may be called self-love, and when dominant and elevated to the rank of an uncondi- tional practical law, may be styled self-coi4ceit. The moral law excludes, as the alone true objective law, the influence of self-love from any share in the legislation, and derogates infinitely from self-conceit, when it an- nounces the subjective conditions of the other as laws ; but whatsoever does diminution in man's own eyes to his self-conceit, humbles. The moral law, therefore, inevita- bly humbles every man, when he compares with it the deflective tendency of his sensitive system ; again, that which, when represented as the determinator of the will, humbles man in his own consciousness, does, in so far as it is positive, and a determinator, beget for itself reve- rence. The MORAL LAW is therefore subjectively the GROUND of REVERENCE ; and since all the parts of self- love belong and refer to appetite and inclination, and these latter rest on feeling, and any thing which curbs and reins up the impetuosity of self-love, must, by doing so, of necessity take eff'ect upon the feelings, we tho- roughly comprehend how it is that we know a priori that the moral law exercises an effect on the sensory, by ex- cluding appetite, and the bias to elevate it to the rank of a supreme practical condition ; which effect, in one point of view, is negative only (humility) ; but in ano- ther, and when regard is had to the limitary ground — pure spontaneity of reason — is positive (reverence) ; and this effect does not admit or require us to assume any particular kind of feeling under the name of a practical, or moral, or internal sense, as if it were antecedent to the moral law, and the groundwork of it.

The negative effect wrought upon the sensory (dis-


placency) is, like every other action on the feelings, and indeed, as is also every feeling, pathological. Considered, liowever, as the effect springing from the consciousness of the moral law, i. e. considered in reference to its intellec- tual cause — a personality of pure practical reason as su- preme legislatrix — this feeling of a reasonable subject, perturbed by appetite and inclination, is called no doubt humility ; but again, when referred to its positive ground -—THE LAW — ^it is called reverence felt toward it; which law itself cannot be felt indeed, but when impediments in the sensory are cleared out of the way, which hindered the law from being carried into effect, reason deems the removal of such obstacle tantamount to a positive ad- vancement of her causality; and hence this feeling may be further called a feeling or emotion of reverence toward the law, and, upon both these grounds together, may be called the moral sense.

Hence, as the moral law is at once the formal determina- tor of an act by pure practical reason, and is likewise the material and yet objective determinator of the object-matter of an act as good or evil, so it becomes at the same time the subjective determinator to such an act, by operating upon the morality of the subject, and effectuating an emotion which advances the force of the law upon the will. But in all this there is no antecedent feeling given in the subject himself, pointing to morality ; which last hypothesis is a downright impossibility, every feeling being of the sen- sory ; whereas the spring of ethical volitions must be quite defecated from every sensitive condition. Nay, that sen- sitive state — feeling — which lies at the bottom of all ap- petite and emotion, is the condition of that specific state of mind we have called reverence ; but the cause of such


state lies in pure practical reason ; and the emotion in this respect, and on account of whence it has its origin, cannot be regarded as a pathognomic, but ought to be re- garded as a practical or active emotion ; an emotion prac- tically effectuated, when the representation of the law, having curbed the licentiousness of self-love, and beaten down the overweenings of self-conceit, takes away the hindrance obstructing the action of pure practical reason, and exhibits the superiority of her objective law to the solicitations of the sensory, and so gives, in the scales of reason, weight to the former, by removing the coun- terpoise pressing upon the will from the latter. Reve- rence TOWARD THE LAW is therefore not a spring ad- vancing morality, but is morality itself considered subjectively as a spring ; i. e. in so far as in this state of mind the appetencies of the sensory are silenced, and an inlet is afforded for advancing the authority of the law. To all which is to be added, that since such reverence is an effect wrought upon the sensory, it involves the sup- position of the sensitive, and so of the finite nature of those Intelligents, whom the moral law thus inspires with reverence : but in the case of a Supreme Intelligent, or even of one not percipient by the intervention of a sen- soiy— where, therefore, no obstacle is presented to practi- cal reason — no reverence can exist.

This feeling (called the moral sense) is the pure pro- duct and effect of reason. It is of no service in judging of conduct, nor yet in founding the moral law ; but is a mere spring, making the law man's practical maxim in life; nor is there any name more appropriate for so strange a feel- ing, which has no analogy to any pathological emotion.


but is entirely of its own kind, and seems to stand at the command of pure practical reason only.

Reverence is bestowed on Persons only, never on Things. The latter may be objects of affection ; and, when they are animals, may awaken in us even love or FEAR. Volcanoes and the ocean may be regarded with dread, but cannot with reverence. What approaches nearer to this last, is wonder, which, when impassion- ed, may rise to admiration, astonishment, or amaze- ment; as when we contemplate the summits of lofty mountains, storms, the extent of the firmament, the strength and velocity of some animals, &c. and so of the rest ; but all this is not reverence. A man may be an object of my love, my fear, or my admiration, up to the higliest grade of wonder, and still he may be no object of reverence. His jocose humour, his strength and courage, his power and authority, from the rank he has, may give me such emotions, but they all fall short of reverence. Fontenelle says, " It is my body, not my mind, which hows to my superior^ I may add, that to any plain man, in whom I discover probity of manners in a grade superior to my own, my mind must bow whether I will or not. To what is this owing ? His example presents to me a law which casts down my self-conceit when it is compared with my own deportment ; the execution of which law, that is, its practicability, I see proved to me by real fact and event. Nay, even if I were conscious of like ho- nesty to his, my reverence for him would continue ; the reason whereof is, that all good in man being defective, the law, made exhibitivc by an example, prostrates my conceit, which exemplar is furnished by a person whose imperfections, which must still attach to him, I do not


know, as I do my own, and who therefore appears to me in a better light. Reverence is a tribute which can- not be refused to merit, whether we choose or not. We may decline outwardly to express it, but we cannot avoid inwardly to feel it.

So far is reverence from being a pleasurable feeling, that we entertain it unwillingly toward any man, and begin in- stantly to cast about for some fault which may lighten us from its burden, and give indemnity against the humilia- tion otherwise put upon us by his example. Even the dead, especially when their example seems to surpass all power of imitation, are not exempt from this sifting scru- tiny. Nay, the moral law itself, in its solemn majesty, is open to this endeavour to screen one's self from the re- verence owed it ; or do we think that it is upon some other account that mankind would fain have the law frittered down to an object of his love, and that it is upon quite different and contrary grounds that he exerts himself to find in it, nothing more than the amiable precepts of his own well-understood advantage ; and not upon this single and only one, that he would willingly be rid of that de- terring reverence which unremittingly shows him his own unworthiness ; and yet there is in reverence so little of dislike or disinclination, that when once mankind has laid aside his self-conceit, and allowed that reverence to take its practical effect, he cannot become sated with contemplating the glory of the law, and his soul believes itself exalted in proportion as he sees the holy law advan- ced above him and the frailty of his system. Unquestion- ably great talents, when accompanied by commensurate and suitable activity, beget reverence, or a feeling bearing a strong likeness to it \ and it is in truth quite becoming


and decorous to show them such ; and here it would seem that wonder and reverence were the same. But, on stricter analysis, it is observed, that since we do not know how much innate force of talent, and how much study and in- dustrious self-culture, conduce to the effect wondered at and admired, reason represents this last as probably the fruit of study, i. e. as a kind of merit which strikes direct- ly at one's own self-conceit, — hands the bystander over to his own reproach, — or imposes on him an obligation to fol- low such example. This reverence or admiration is then not mere wonder, but is reverence toward the person (or, pro- perly speaking, toward the law exhibited in his example). A matter confirmed by this, that when the general mass of admirers discover, from some quarter or another, the de- pravity of their admired's morals {e.g. Voltaire), all^reve- rence for him is immediately abandoned. But one who is a member of the literary republic continues to feel some regard still when weighing his talents, because he finds himself engaged in a profession and calling which makes it imperative upon him to imitate in some respect his ex- ample.

Reverence toward the moral law is, then, the only and undoubted ethic spring, and is an emotion directed to no object except upon grounds of the law. First, the moral law determines objectively and immediately the will. Free- dom, whose causality is alone determinable by the law, consists in this very matter, that all appetite and emotion, and so also the affection of self-esteem, is restrained by it to the prior condition of having executed its pure law. This control takes effect upon the sensory, and produces there a feeling of pain or displacency, which can be re- cognised a priori, when eyed from the vantage-ground of


the moral law. But since this is a negative effect only, resulting from the agency of reason (i. e. the spontaneity of the person when he withstands the solicitations of his sensory, and strips off the overweening fancy of his per- sonal worth, which, where there is no harmony with the law, shrinks at once to zero), such action of the law he- gets no more than a feeling of humility, which we com- prehend a priori ; hut this we do not see, Avherein con- sists the force of the pure practical law as spring, but only its withstanding the springs of the sensory. But, second, since this same law is farther objectively {i. e. according to the representation of pure reason) an immediate deter- minator of will, and this humiliation is effected only re- latively to the purity of the law, it follows that this de- pression of man's claim to his own ethical reverence {i. e. his humiliation from the part of his sentient economy) is an exaltation (from his intelligent part) of the ethical, i. e. practical reverence for the law itself — in other words, is just that reverence itself, consequently a positive feel- ing considered with respect to its intellectual ground, which feeling also is cognisable a priori. For every di- minution of the obstacles opposed to an activity, is in plain fact an advancement of that activity itself. The ac- knowledgment of the moral law, however, is the consci- ousnessof an activity of pure reason from objectivegrounds, which activity does not always pass into action, merely because subjective causes stop and hinder it. Reverence for the moral law must therefore be regarded as the law's positive though indirect effect upon the sensory, when it weakens the impeding forces of appetite and inclination, by casting down all self-conceit ; that is, reverence is the subjective ground of such activity, or, in other words, is the


SPRING towards the executing of the law, and the ground of adopting maxims of conduct which harmonize with its requirements. Upon this notion ofa springrests thisfarther one of an interest, which cannot be attributed to any being not endowed with reason ; and it denotes a spring towards volition, in so far as that spring is begotten by REASON ONLY. Again, because the law must be the spring where the will is morally good, the ethical interest is a PURE INSENSITIVE INTEREST of naked practical rea- son. Upon this notion of an interest rests again that of a MAXIM ; and this is only truly genuine when it is based on the naked interest taken by man in the execution of the law. These three notions, however, spring, inte- rest, and MAXIM, are applicable only to finite beings, — they all presuppose bounds and limits put to the nature of the person, and intimate that the subjective structure of his choice does not spontaneously and of its own accord harmonize with the objective law of practical reason, and imply a need to be urged by somewhat to activity, that activity being obstructed by an inward hindrance.

There is somewhat so strange in this unbounded reve- rence for the pure moral law, divested of all by-views of advantage or expediency, and exhibited as practical rea- son holds it up to mankind for his execution, whose voice makes the most daring scoffer tremble, and forces him to hide himself from his own view, that one ought not to be surprised at finding this energy of a naked intellectual idea upon the sensory quite uninvestigable by reason, and that mankind must content himself with comprehending a priori thus much, that such a feeling attaches insepara- bly to the representation of the law by every finite Intel- ligent. Were this emotion of reverence pathologic, and


bottomed on the internal sense of pleasure, then were it vain to attempt to track out the alliance obtaining betwixt it and an idea a priori. But an emotion pointed only to a practical end, and attached to the bare, formal represen- tation of a law, quite abstractedly from any object, and which therefore pertains neither to pleasure nor pain, and yet establishes an interest in that law's execution, is what we properly call a moral one ; and the susceptibility to take such an interest in the law (in other words, to have reve- rence for the moral law itself), is what we, properly speak- ing, call THE MORAL SENSE.

The consciousness of man's free submission of his will to the law, going, however, hand in hand with a necessary control and co-action put by reason on every appetite and inclination, is reverence toward the law ; the law, which at once calls for and inspires this reverence, is, as we have seen, no other than the moral, no other law excluding ap- petite and inclination from the immediateness of its own action on the will. An act objectively incumbent to be done in conformity with this law, and with the postpone- ment of every appetitive determinator, is what is called DUTY, and involves in the very conception of it, on account of this postponement, practical necessitation, i. e. deter- mination to an act, how unwillingly soever — the emotion arising from the consciousness of this co-action or necessi- tation, is not pathological (is unlike those effected by an object of sense), but is practical, i. e. is only possible by an antecedent causality of reason, and objective determi- nation of will. It contains, therefore, as subordination to law {i. e. a commandment which announces co-action to a person affected by a sensory), no pleasure, but rather dislike, to that extent, to the act itself; while yet, on the


other hand, since this co-action is enforced singly by the legislation of man's own reason, it brings with it exalta- tion; and the subjective effect upon the sensory, when pure practical reason produces it, can be called no more than SELF-APPROBATION in respect of such exaltation, mankind disinterestedly recognising himself destined by the law to such subordination, and becoming then aware of a new and another interest purely practical and free; to take which disinterested interest in acts of duty, no appetite invites, but reason, by its practical law, impera- tively ordains, and also produces, upon which accounts the interest bears a quite peculiar name, that of reverence.

Upon these accounts, therefore, the notion duty de- mands, in the act, objectively, conformity to the law, and SUBJECTIVELY, in the maxim from which it flows, reve- rence for the law, such being the only method of deter- mining the will by it; and on this rests the difference be- twixt those states of consciousness, that of acting in har- mony with what is duty, and doing so from a principle of duty, i. e. out of reverence for the law. The first case (le- gality) is possible when mere appetites determine to voli- tion ; but the second (morality), the moral worth, can be placed in this only, that the act has been performed out of duty, L e. out of naked regard had to the law.

It is of the greatest consequence, in all ethical judg- ments, to attend with most scrupulous exactness to the sub- jective principle of the maxims, in order that the whole morality of an act be put in the necessity of it, out of duty and out of reverence for the law, not in love and inclina- tion towards what may be consequent upon the act ; for man and every created Intelligent, the ethical necessity is necessitation, i.e. obligation, and every act proceeding there-


Upon is duty, and cannot be represented as a way of conduct already dear to us ; or which may in time become en- deared to us, as if man could at any time ever get the length of dispensing with reverence towards the law (which emotion is attended always with dread, or at least with active apprehension lest he transgress) ; and so, like the independent Godhead, find himself — as it were, by force of an unchanging harmony of will with the law, now at length grown into a second nature — in possession of a holy will ; which would be the case, the law having ceased to be a commandment, when man could be no longer tempted to prove untrue to it.

The moral law is, for the will of the Supreme Being, a LAW or HOLINESS ; but for the will of every finite Intelli- gent, a LA^ OF DUTY, a law of ethical co-action and deter- mination of his actions by reverence toward the law, and out of awe for what is duty. No other subjective princi- ple can be assumed as a spring; for while the act then falls out as the law requires, and is outwardly in confor- mity with the law, yet it is not done out of duty ; the bent and ply of the mind is not moral, which, however, is of the essence of this legislation.

It is very well to show kindness to mankind from love and compassionate benevolence, as it is likewise to act justly from a love of order and method; but such cannot be the genuine ethic principles regulating man's deport- ment : nor is it quite congruous and suited to our station jtihong the ranks of Intelligents as men, when we presume to propose ourselves as volunteers, and set ourselves loftily above the idea duty; and when, as if mankind were independent on the law, he proposes to do out of his own good pleasure what he needs no command-


ment to enjoin. Man stands, however, under a ^scipline and probation of reason, and ought never to forget his subjection to its authority, — never to withdraw anywhat from it, or impair the supremacy of the law (although announced by his own reason), by the fond and vain ima-^ gination that he can put the ground determining his will elsewhere than in the law and reverence to\tard it. Duty^ and what we owe, are the alone denominations Under which to state our relation to the moral law. Wd are, no doubt, legislative members of an ethical kingdom^ realiza- ble by freedom of will, and held up by practical reason to our reverence; but in it we are subjects, not the sove- reign ; and to mistake our lower rank as creatures, and to back our self-conceit against the authority of the holy law, is already to swerve from its spirit, even while its lettet is not unfulfilled.

With all this the commandment is in perfect unison. Love God above all, and thy neighbour as thyself; for, being a commandment, it calls for reverence toward a law enjoining love, and leaves man no option whether or not to make such love a principle of active conduct. Love to God, however, as an affection (pathognomic liking), is an impossibility, God being no object of sense ; and although, in the case of mankind, such pathological excitement is possible, yet it cannot be commanded, for it stands in no one's power to love upon command. It is, therefore, prac- tical benevolence alone which is intended in that sum of all commandments. Understood in this signification, to love God means cheerfully to obey his law ; to love our neighbour, to perform willingly all duties towards him. The commandment, however, establishing such a rule cannot enjoin us to have this sentiment in discharging


our incumbent duties, but can enjoin only to endeavour after it; for a commandment to do any what willingly is self- contradictory; for if we are once let know what is suitable for us to do, and are conscious we should like to do so, a commandment to such effect would be super- fluous ; and do we the act notwithstanding, but only un- willingly, and out of reverence toward the law, a com- mandment making such reverence the spring of the will, would thereby subvert and overturn the desiderated sen- timent love. That summary of the moral law does, there- fore, like every other precept in the Gospel, represent the perfection of the moral sentiment in an ideal of ho- liness not attainable by any creature, but which is the archetype toward which it behoves us to approximate, and to exert ourselves onwards thitherward in an unbroken and perpetual progression. Could at any time any intel- ligent creature ever attain this point of discharging wil- lingly all moral laws, then that would imply that he felt no longer within himself the possibility of a desire se- ducing him to swerve from them (for the overcoming any such incentive always costs the subject some sacrifice, and stands in need of self-co-action, i. e. inward necessi- tation toward somewhat done not altogether willingly). But this grade of ethic sentiment no creature can at any time attain ; for, being a creature, and so dependent in re- gard of what he wants to make him thoroughly contented with his situation, he can never be fully disenthralled from appetite and want, which rest on physic causes not al- ways harmonizing with the moral law ; the physical and moral systems proceeding on causalities of different kinds, — a circumstance making it always necessary to establish the posture of a man's maxims with regard to


the former, upon ethical co-action, not upon free-willed- devotedness, — upon reverence calling for the execution of the law, how unwillingly soever, not upon love, which ap- prehends no inward demurring of the will against the law, although this last, the mere love of the law (which would then cease to he a commandment, and morality, now subjectively transformed into holiness, would cease to be virtue), is to be the unremitting although unat- tainable aim of exertion ; for toward that which we ethi- cally admire, and yet (upon account of the consciousness of our defects) partly dread, such reverential dread passes with the increasing ease whereby we become conformed to the standard dreaded, into affection, and the reverence into love, at least this would be the completent of a senti- ment fully devoted to the law, — if to attain it were at any time possible for any creature. ; ,

These remarks are not intended so much to explain the above precept of the Gospel, with a view to guard against RELIGIOUS FANATICISM upou the question of the love of God, but rather to fix exactly the moral sentiments with which we ought to discharge our duties toward our fellow men, and to guard against, and if possible cut up by the roots, a kind of ethical fanaticism, wherewith the heads of many are besotted. The grade on the ethic scale where mankind finds himself (as is also the case with every created Intelligent, so far as we can comprehend) is that of reverence toward the law. The sentiment incumbent upon him to entertain in obeying, is to do so out of regard to duty ; not, as a volunteer, from affection, to go through uncommanded and spontaneously undertaken tasks ; and his moral state, wherein he always must be found, is vir- tue, i. e. the moral sentiment militant, not holiness.


where he would be in possession of full purity in the sentiment of his will. It is nothing but downright ethi- cal fanaticism, and an advancement of self-conceit, when the mind is spirited on to actions as were they noble, sublime, or magnanimous, whereby men fall into the imagination that it is not duty (whose yoke, which, though easy, because put upon us by our own reason, must be borne, however unwillingly) that claims to be the ground determinative of conduct, and which, even while they obey, always humbles, but that actions are expected from them, not out of duty, but as parts of merit. For, not to in- sist on this, that by imitating such deeds, i. e. performing them upon such a principle, no satisfaction is given to the spirit of the law, which consists in the subordinat- ing of the will to the law, and not in the legality of the act, when the act proceeds upon other grounds (be these what they may), this fanaticism does, by putting the spring of action pathologically in sympathy or solip- sism, and not ethically in the law, beget in this way a windy, overweening, and fantastical cast of thought, which flatters itself with having so spontaneously good-natured a temperament, as to require neither spur nor rein, and to be able to dispense altogether with a commandment ; by all which, duty is lost sight of, although it ought to be more thought upon than merit should. Other people's actions, when performed with great sacrifices, and out of naked reverence for duty, may very fitly be praised as noble and exalted deeds; which, however, can only be done in so far as there is no ground to think that they flowed from any fits and starts of sensitive excitement, but proceeded singly from reverence for duty; and if these deeds are to be held up to any one as exemplars to


be followed, reverence for duty, as the alone genuine moral emotion, must indispensably be employed as the spring. The solemn holy precept does not allow our frivolous self-love to toy with pathognomic excitement, which may bear some likeness to morality, and to plume ourselves upon meritorious worth. Very little investigation will suf- fice to find for any praise- worthy action a law of duty which commands, and takes away all option, whether it fall in with our propensities or not ; this is the only me- thod of exhibition capable of giving an ethic training to the soul, it being alone capable of fixed and rigidly de- fined maxims.

FANATicisiki, in its most extensive sense, may be defined an overstepping, upon system, of the limits and barriers of human reason ; and if this be so, then ethical fanati- cism WILL BE the overstepping of those limits put by pure practical reason to humanity, when she forbids man to place the subjective determinator of his will, i. e. the ethi- cal spring to dutiful actions, anywhere else than in the law, or to entertain sentiments in his maxims other than reve- rence toward this law : consequently ordaining man not to forget to make duty his supreme practical principle of conduct, — A CONCEPTION which at once dashes both arro- gance and self-love.

Upon this same account, not only novel writers and sen- timental pedagogues (however these last declaim at sen- timentalism), but even philosophei-s, nay the most rigid of all the Stoic Sages, have helped to introduce ethical fa- naticism instead of a sober and wise gymnastic discipline of ethics ; nor can we here regard this distinction, that the fanaticism of these Sages was heroic, whereas that of the others was of a more effeminate and shallow kind j and it


can be affirmed without the least hypocrisy, that the moral precepts of the gospel were what first introduced purity of moral principle, and that they did at the same time, by their adaptation and fitness to the limits of finite beings, in placing all good conduct in man's subordination and subjection of his will to the discipline and training of a duty laid before his mental vision, first prevent him from fanatically disorienting himself among imagined moral excellencies : and did, by thus putting a stop to ethical fanaticism, first assign limits of humility {i, e. of self- knowledge), equally to self-love and to self-conceit, both which are apt to overstep their barriers.

Duty [ Thou great, thou exalted name ! Wondrous thought, that workest neither by fond insinuation, flattery, nor by any threat, but merely by holding up thy naked law in the soul, and so extorting for thyself always reve- rence, if not always obedience — before whom all appetites are dumb, however secretly they rebel — whence thy ori- ginal ? and where find we the root of thy august descent, thus loftily disclaiming all kindred with appetite and want ? to be in like manner descended from which root, is the unchanging condition of that worth which mankind can alone impart to themselves ?

Verily it can be nothing less than what advances man, as part of the physical system, above himself, — connecting him with an order of things unapproached by sense, into which the force of reason can alone pierce ; which su- persensible has beneath it the phenomenal system, wherewith man has only a fortuitous and contingent con- nection, and so along with it the whole of his adventi- tiously-determinable existence in space and time. It is in fact nothing else than personality, i. e. freedom and in-


dependency on the mechanism of the whole physical sys- tem, — always, however, considered as the property of a being subjected to peculiar laws emerging from his own reason, where the person, as belonging to the sensitive system, has imposed on him his own personality, in so far as this last is figured to reside in a cogitable system ; upon which account we need not wonder how mankind, an inhabitant of both systems,' cannot fail to venerate his higher nature, and to regard its laws with the great- est reverence.

On this celestial descent are founded many expressions denoting the worth of the objects of ethical ideas. The moral law is holy. Man no doubt is unholy enough, but the humanity inhabiting his person must be holy. In the whole creation every thing may be used as an end, man alone excepted. He is alone an end-in-himself. He is the subject of the moral law, by torce of the autonomy of his freedom, which law is holy. Upon the same account, every will, nay, every person's will when referring mere- ly to himself, is restrained to the condition of its coinci- dence with the autonomy of an Intelligent Being, viz. that it be subjected to no end not possible under a law fit to emanate from the will of the subject himself, conse- quently to the condition of never using himself as a mean, but always as an end. Such a condition is ascribed even to the divine will in respect of the Intelligents in this world, who are his creatures, in so far as that condition rests on their personality, by force of which alone they are ends-in-themselves.

This reverence-arousing idea of personality, showing us the august and sublime of our natural destiny, but showing us also the want of the adaptation of our deport-


ment to it, and so casting down all self-conceit, is natural, and thrusts itself upon the most untutored reason, and is easily observable. Every tolerably honest man must at some time or another have felt that he emitted an harm- less untruth, singly not to despise himself in his own eyes, although that lie might have produced signal advan- tages to a dear and well-deserving friend ; and in the ex- tremest exigencies of life, an upright, straightforward man, conscience sustains, by telling him that he declined to avoid those miseries by bartering his duty, that he never prostituted his humanity, that he honoured the inhabi- tancy of reason in his own person, so that he needs not to blush before himself, and has no cause to shun his pwn inward self-examination. This consolation is not happiness, — is nothing like happiness, — and no one would wish to be so situated, nor for a life in such conjunctures. But so long as man lives, he cannot endure to be in his own eyes unworthy of life. This inward peace is there- fore merely negative, and contains nowhat positive to make life happy ; it is merely a defence, warding off the danger man runs of sinking in the worth of his person, long after he has been despoiled of all worth in situation. This peace is the effect of reverence for somewhat quite different from life, in comparison and contrast with which, life, with all its amenities, has no value. Man in such case continues to live singly out of duty, not because he has the least taste for life.

Thus does the genuine spring of pure practical reason act. The spring is no other than the law itself letting us have a vista of the loftiness of our own supersensible ex- istence, and so subjectively effecting in man, who is con- scious of his sensitively-affected and dependent nature,



reverence for his higher destiny. Along with this spring may no doubt be combined so many graces and amenities of life, that, for the sake of these last alone, the most pru- dent choice of a judicious Epicurean might be given in favour of ethical deportment. And it may be advisable to combine the prospect of enjoying life with that other and prior and singly-sufficient determinator of the will : and yet, merely in order to counterbalance the incentives which ^dce ceases not to offer, not to use it as a spring, no, not in any wise, when question is made as to duty ; for if otherwise, then is the moral sentiment polluted in its source. The awe of duty has nowhat in common with the enjoyment of life ; and although they were to be taken and well shaken, and so handed mixed as an opiate for the sick soul, yet they would soon separate ; or were this last not to happen, the former part would take no effect ; and while man's physical existence might gain in force, his ethical would without stop fade away.





By the critical dilucidation of a science, or of a portioi;i of it, I understand the inquiring and showing ^^why'^'ii must assume precisely this and no other form when contrasted with some other system based on a like power of know- ledge. Now the practical reason and speculative are at bot- tom " identic" in so far as both are pure reason ; whence it will result, that the difference obtaining betwixt their systematic forms, will be found, as to its last ground, by comparing them both together.

The analytic of pure theoretic reason was conversant with the knowledge of objects given to the understand- ing, and so began at the intuitions ; and since intuition is always sensitive, it started with the sensory, and arrived next at the notions (of the objects of intuition), and so, after premising both, ended with the principles. But since, on the contrary, practical reason is not occupied about the knowledge of objects, but about her own power to make such objects " real" i. e. with a will, which is a cause so far forth as reason contains in itself the ground of its determination, and so has consequently to treat of no object of intuition, but of a law (because it is of the very essence of the notion causality to refer to law, fixing and determining the relative existence of the mul- tifarious), a Critique of pi-actical reason has, upon these


grounds (if it is to be a practical reason at all), to set out with the possibility of practical principles apriori. Thence we descended to notions of the objects of a practical rea- son, viz. to the notions of the good and evil,* in order to assign them conformably to those principles (for it is im- possible, prior to such principles, to fix by any power of knowledge what is good or evil) ; and then, only then, could the last chapter conclude by investigating the rela- tion obtaining betwixt pure practical reason and the sen- sory, and the necessary effect, cognizable a priori there- on, which effect we called the moral sense. Thus the analytic of pure practical reason is divided quite analo- gously to the theoretical, throughout the whole extent of the conditions of its use, but in a reverse order. The analytic of pure theoretic reason was divided into Esthe- tics and Logic : that of practical, again, invertedly into Logic and ^Esthetics of pure practical reason, if I may be allowed to misapply these words, merely for the sake of the analogy : there Logic branched out into the analytic of notions and then of principles, but here into that of principles and then of notions. There Esthetics had two parts, owing to the twofold sorts of sensitive intuition ; here the sensory is not regarded as the intuitive faculty, but as a bare feeling (fit to become the subjective ground of desire), which, however, is not susceptible of any fur- ther subdivision.

Fai'ther, that this division into two under-parts (as might have been expected, from the instance of the for- mer Critique) was not attempted by me in this work, arose from this special ground. For, since it is practical

• In the chapter not translated.


reason we are talking of, which begins with a principle a priori, and not with experimental determinators, it fol- lows, that the division of the analytic of pure practical reason will be like that of a syllogism, viz. first the uni- versal in the major (the moral principle) ; second, a sub- sumption in the minot, of possible acts, as good or bad ; and then, lastly, the conclusion, when we advance to the subjective determinator of the will (an interest in the practically-possible good, and the maxim based on such interest). Such comparisons will infallibly gratify those who are convinced of the truth of the position laid down in the analytic ; for they nourish the expectation that we mdy one day attain a thorough insight into the tmity of the whole rational faculty, and be able to deduce it all from one principle, an unavoidable demand made by hu- man reason, which finds only in a completely systematic unity of its knowledge, rest and satisfaction.

If, now, we consider farther the content of the know- ledge we possess, either concerning, or by means of pure practical reason, as just expounded in the analytic, then there are observable, notwithstanding the marvellous analogy obtaining betwixt them, no less extraordinary and signal differences. Theoretic reason was able to exhibit the power of pure rational knowledge " a jonm," easily and evidently, by examples of the sciences ; but that pure reason, without any admixture of experimental grounds, could be for itself practical, behoved to be exhibited by the common practical use of every man's reason, whereby to authenticate the supreme practical principle, as one which every common reason, recognised as quite a priori, independent on any sensitive data, and the supreme law of the will. It was necessary to this end, first to establish


and evince this principle, qitoad the purity of its origin, by the judgment of the most common reason, before science could receive it, or make any use of it; just like a fact, antecedent to all quibbling about its possibility, or about the results possible to be extracted from it. This circum- stance, however, could easily be explained from what has been just alleged, since practical reason must of necessity begin with principles, which, as data, were to lie at the bottom of all science, and so could not be derived from it ; and the justification of the moral pl-inciples, as positions of pure reason, could very well be managed by an appeal to the judgment of mankind's common sense : because every thing experimental, which could insinuate itself as a deter minator into our maxims, becomes forthwith per- ceptible by the feeling of pleasure or pain, inevitably at- taching to it, so far forth as it excites desire ; whereas that pure practical principle directly counterworks all such, and refuses to adopt any feeling, as a condition, into its principle. The dissimilarity of the determinators (expe- rimental or rational) is pointed out so prominently, and in such relief — when this antagonism of a practically-legisla- tive reason withstands every appetite, — by a peculiar kind of sensation, not antecedent to the legislation of practical reason, but rather effectuated alone by it, viz. the feeling of reverence, the which no man has for any appetite, be they of what kind they may, but has invariably for law, that no one, of the most common understanding, can fail, on the instant, to become aware, in any example, that he may indeed be advised to follow an experimental stimulant of volition, but that it cannot be expected he should be required to obey anywhat except reason's pure practical law.


To distinguish betwixt utilitarianism and morality, where experimental principles are the foundation of the first, and no part at all of the foundation of the second, is the prime and the weighty business of the analytic of pure practical reason, and imposes on the author a pro- cedure as punctual and painful as is the method in geo- metry. And here the philosopher stands in pretty much the same situation as the chemist, for he institutes at all times an experiment with every man's practical reason, in order to separate the pure (moral) determinator from the experimental. Suppose that he superadd to the will of one sensitively affected (who would like to lie, because somewhat may be earned by it), the moral law. Then it is as when the experimenter adds an alkali to a solution of muriate of lime ; the acid deserts the lime, combines with the alkali, and the earth is precipitated. In like manner, present to an honest man the moral law, by which standard he observes the vileness of a liar, and his practical reason deserts straightway the prospect of ad- vantage, and combines itself with that which upholds for him the reverence for his own person.

But this DISTINCTION bctwixt utility and morality is not in any wise their contrariety, and pure practical reason does not by any means demand that the claim to happiness be abandoned, but only, whenever question is made as to duty, that then no account at all be made of it. Nay, it in some cases may be a duty to look sharp after one's own happiness, partly because the elements of happiness (skill, health, wealth) contain means toward the execution of duty, partly because the want of them (e. g. poverty) may present temptations to transgress the law. However, to study one's own happiness never can


be dutiful directly, and still less a principle of duty. Again, since every determinator of will, except the single moral law, is experimental, and as such pertains to the utilitarian system, it results that all these must be detach- ed from the supreme ethical principle, and never weld- ed up with it as a condition ; since this would destroy all moral worth, just as any tentative experimenting with geometric theorems would annihilate their self-evidencing certainty — the chief pre-eminency (according to Plato) which the mathematics have ; an excellency to be prized higher than any utility to which geometry may acciden- tally conduce.

Out of and beyond a deduction of the supreme princi- ple of pure practical reason, i. e. the explanation of the possibility of such a priori knowledge, nothing farther could be done except to state, that if we could compre- hend the possibility of the freedom of an active cause, then we should comprehend not only the possibility, but likewise the very necessity of the moral law, i. e. of the supreme practical law of Intelligents, to whom freedom of causality of will is ascribed ; both notions being so inse- parably linked together, that freedom might be defined by saying that it is independency on every thing, except the moral law itself. But the freedom of an active cause, especially of a cause acting in upon the world of pheno- mena, cannot be comprehended, even as to its possibility ; and we must deem ourselves happy that its impossibility cannot be evinced, and that we are necessitated, by the law which postulates this freedom, and so entitled, to assume it. But as there are some who still think they can explain this freedom by help of observation and ex- perience, like any other physical energy, and regard it as



a mere psychological quality, whereof the exposition rests singly on a more sifting scrutiny into the springs of will, not as the unconditioned and supersensible predicate of the causality of an agent appertaining at the same time to the sensible world (on which last it alone depends) ; and since these philosophasters do by such assumption cut short the vista gloriously afforded us by pure prac- tical reason, through the intervention of the moral law (viz. the vista into a cogitable world, — alone realising to us the otherwise transcendent notion freedom, and by consequence the moral law itself), it will be re- quisite to adduce a few remarks, as a guard against this quackery, and to show it up in its full nakedness and de- formity.

The notion causality, considered as involving that of necessary mechanism, and contradistinguished from the same notion as that of freedom, concerns only the exist- ence of things, so far forth as they are determinable in time, i. e. as phenomena, and so is different from their causation, as things- in-themselves; so that if now we mistake (as is most commonly done) the determinations of the existence of things in time, for determinations of the existence of things-in-themselves, then the necessity cogitated in the causal-nexus can never be brought into harmony with freedom, but they remain stated the one contrary to the other ; for from the first can be inferred, that every event, and therefore every action, exhibitive in time, is necessary, under the conditions of what happen- ed in some prior time : and since time elapsed, and its contents, are no longer within my power, it will follow that every action which I perform is necessary by force of determining grounds no longer within my power, ?". €>


I am, at any point of time wherein I act, never free. Nay, even were I to assume my whole existence, as indepen- dent on any foreign grounds (e. g. God), so that the deter- minators of my causality, and even of my whole exist- ence, did not lie out of and beyond mjself, still all this could not transmute the mechanical necessity of the phy^- sic system into freedom. For at each point of time I should always stand under the necessity of being deter- mined to act, by somewhat no longer within my power, and the a parte priori infinite series of events would still be a standing chain of natural sequents which I could only continue, not commence ; and so my causality never

would be FREE.

If then we ascribe to an Intelligent, whose existence is determined in time, freedom, still we cannot upon that account exempt him from the law of physical necessity regulating all events in his existence, and so also all his actions, for that would be to hand them over to blind chance; but since this law infallibly refers to all causality of things, so far as their existence is determinable in time, it would follow that freedom behoved to be rejected as a blank and impossible idea, were this the mode according to which we had to cogitate the existence of these things- in-themselves. Are we then seriously intent on rescuing this freedom, there remains this only mode, to attribute to the existence of things-in-time, i. e. to the phenomenon, a causality according to the law of the mechanicnexus, and to attribute to it freedom as a thing-in-itself ; and this is our inevitable ultimatum, if we wish to preserve the two con- trary notions ; although even then there present themselves very formidable difficulties, when we try to explain how they can be combined in one and the same action ; nay,


difficulties so great as would seem to lead us to infer that any such combination must be impracticable.

If I say of any man who has just perpetrated a theft, that the act was a necessary result, from determinators contained in the antecedent time, according to the law of the causal-nexus, then it was impossible that the act should not have happened ; how then can any judgment, accord- ing to the moral law, change this opinion, and beget the supposition that the act might nevertheless have been left undone, simply because the law says it ought so to have been avoided ? ^. e. how can any man, at the very same point of time, and with regard to the same action, be quite free, when he is under an inevitable necessity of nature ? To seek an evasion in this, by fitting on a comparative no- tion of freedom to the mode in which man's causality is determined by the laws of nature, is a wretched subter- fuge, by which, however, some still suffer themselves to be deluded ; and an intricate problem, at whose solution centuries have laboured, is not to be figured as solved by a mere jargon of words, since it is not likely, in any event, that the solution lies so near the surface. The in- quiry after that freedom, which lies at the bottom of the -moral law, and of our accountability, does not depend on this, — whether the causality governed by a law of nature be determined by grounds within or without the per- .son ? nor yet on this, whether — on the former supposition — the determination be necessary by force of instinct or of reason ? so long as agi'eeably to the confession of such SUPPOSERS these determining representations have the ground of their existence in time, and in its elapsed state, and so backwards to prior and antecedent states of time. Por, be those determinations ever so inward, and be their



causality called ever so psychological instead of meclianical, i. e. though such causality produce its act by dint of per- ceptions, and not by motion or matter, still such are deter- minations of the causality of an agent, so far forth as his existence is determinable in time ; consequently, determi- nations rendered necessary by conditions contained in prior times, which are therefore, when the subject comes to act, no longer in his power; and such psychological freedom is in nowise to be distinguished from physical necessity. No room is left for transcendental freedom, which must be cogitated as independency on the whole physical system, whether as object of the internal sense merely in time, or as also object of the external senses both in space and time at once ; apart from which free- dom, which alone is a priori practical, no moral law and no responsibility can be supported. On these ac- counts, the necessity of events in time, agreeably to the law of the causal-nexus, is part of the mechanism of na- ture, although we do not assert that the things affected by such necessary nexus are material machines. Regard is in such denomination had only to the sequences of events in time, whether the subject in which such flux occur be automaton materiaky or, as Leibnitz had it, spiritualej impelled by perceptions ; for, in truth, were the freedom of our will of this comparative and psychological sort only, then it were no more than the freedom of a turnspit, which, once wound up, continue of itself in motion.

Now, to clear up this seeming antagonism between the mechanism of nature and freedom in one and the same given action, we must refer to what was advanced in the Critiqm of pure reason, or what at least is a corollary from it — viz. that that necessity of nature, which may not con-


sort with the freedom of the subject, attaches singly to the modifications of a thing standing under conditions of time, i. e. to the modifications of the acting subject as phenomenon ; and that, therefore, so far (i. e. as phenome- non) the determinators of each act lie in the foregoing elapsed time, and are quite beyond his power (part of which are the actions man has already performed, and the phe- nomenal character he has given himself in his own eyes), yet, e contra, the self-same subject, being self-conscious of itself as a thing in itself, considers its existence as some- what, detached from conditions of time, and itself, so far forth, as only determinable by laws given it by its own rea- son ; and in this existence nothing precedes its own volun- tary act, but every action, and generally every determina- tion of its being changing conform to its internal sense ; nay, the entire series of its existence as a sensible being, is, in its consciousness of an intelligible, cogitable exist- ence, nothing but a mere sequent of its causality, never its determinator, as noumenon. Under this aspect, an Intelligent may rightly say, of every illegal act he perpe- trates, he could very well have omitted it, although such act is as phenomenon sufficiently determined by the elapsed in time, and so far forth infallibly necessary ; for this act, together with all prior ones, belong to one single pheno- menon, his character, which character he has begotten for himself, and by force of which he, as a cause, indepen- dent on all sense, imputes to himself the causality of tliese phenomena.

In accordance with this are the decrees of that marvel- lous power within us which we call conscience. A man may try never so much to paint some immoral conduct, which memory reminds him of, as unpremeditated accident, as a


mere incaution, never at all times to be avoided, and so as somewhat where he was hurried forward by the stream of necessity, and wherein by consequence he was guiltless ; but still notwithstanding, he finds that the advocate wlio pleads in his behalf can by no means bring his inward ac- cuser into silence, so long as he is conscious, that at the time when he perpetrated the injustice, he was master of his senses (i. e. free) : although he even then explains to himself his crime from sundry bad habits entailed through want of active attention to himself, — habits which he had suffered to augment up to that degree that he can regard the act as their natural result, without being able thereby to escape the self-reproach and blame he is forced to put upon himself. On this part of our nature is bottomed the contrition felt for a long-committed deed, on every recol- lection of it ; which compunction is a painful feeling, be- gotten by the moral sentiment, and is so far practically void, as it cannot serve to make the done undone, and would even be absurd (as Priestley, like a consistent fata- list, has asserted), were it not that it, as pain, is quite le- gitimate ; — reason knowing no relations of time, when question is made as to the law (moral) of our cogitable existence, but inquiring singly if the event belongs to me as my act, and then connecting with it ethically just the same sensation whether it happened now or long ago. For a man's sentient existence is, in respect of his intelligible consciousness of existence (freedom), the absolute unity of one phenomenon, which, so far forth as it contains what arc only phenomena of his sentiments, he judges of, not according to that necessity he is fettered by, as a part of the physical system, but according to the absolute spon^ taneity of his freedom. It may, therefore, be very well


admitted, that could we have so deep an insight into a man's cast of thinking, as it exhibits itself in inward and outward act, — that could we know every the smallest spring, and at the same time every external circumstance impinging upon such spring, — that then we could calculate a man's future conduct with the same exactness with which we now compute eclipses, and still affirm that such man was free.

Were we capable of an intellectual intuition of this self-same subject, we should then observe, that this whole chain of appearances, so far forth as the moral law is concerned, emanate from the spontaneity of the subject, as a thing-in-himself, of whose determinations no physical explanation is at all possible. In default, however, of such intuition, the moral law assures us of the actuality of this distinction, when we refer our acts as phenomena to the sensitive existence of the subject, and when, on the other hand, we refer the sensitive itself to the cogitable substratum within us. A reference to this distinction, which is natural to reason, although quite inexplicable, enables us to justify opinions uttered with the greatest conscientiousness, and which yet, at their first appearance, seem repugnant to all equity. There are cases where in- dividuals from youth up, notwithstanding an education whereby others have been benefited, show so early a wickedness, and persist in it up to man's estate, that one may be led to deem them innate villains, and declare their whole cast of thinking for unsusceptible of any ameliora- tion ; and yet, at the same time, so condemn them in every thing they compass or avoid, as if they continued as responsible as any other person, notwithstanding that hopeless quality of mind attributed to them. But this


could not happen, did we not suppose that every thing arising from man's choice depended on a free causality at bottom, which causality impresses, from youth up, its cha- racter upon the phenomena : these phenomena do by their uniformity make a sequence in the physical system visi- ble, but do not make the wicked quality of will necessary, but rather such sequence follows the freely adopted evil and unchanging maxims, which do therefore make him the more reprobate and the more blameworthy.

But another difficulty attends freedom, so far as it is to be regarded as combined in harmony with the mechanism of the physical system, in the person of abeing whois himself a part of that system ; a difficulty so great, as even, when all the foregoing is admitted, threatens freedom with its entire destruction. But notwithstanding this danger, there is a circumstance which gives hope of an exit issuing in fa- vour of freedom, viz. the circumstance that the same diffi- culty presses upon every other, nay, as we shall soon see, presses alone upon that theory which takes the en- tities in time and space for existencies of things in them- selves ; and so we need not depart from our main theory regarding the ideality of time as a mere form of sensitive intuition, i.e. as a mere mode of perceiving, peculiar to a person who is part of a sensible world, but need only to unite the idea freedom with this other part of the theory.

When it is admitted that the intelligible person may, in regard of any given act, be free, even while he, as a per- son belonging in part to the world of sense, is mechani- cally conditioned, it still seems as if we must admit that the actions of mankind have their determining gi-ound in somewhat entirely beyond their power ; so soon as we admit that God, as the author of all things, is the cause of


the existence of substance (a position which cannot be de- serted without abandoning all theology). Here it would seem that all man's actions have their last ground in the causality of a Supreme Being different from himself, — and in truth, if the actions of man, which belong to his modifications in time, be not 'mere determinations of him as phenomena, but of him as a thing-in-itself, — then free- dom would irrecoverably be lost ; man would be an au- tomaton, wound up and set agoing by some supreme art- ist. His self-consciousness would no doubt make him a thinking automaton, where, however, the consciousness of his spontaneity, if deemed freedom, were illusory, as it could only be called so, comparatively speaking, since the next determinators of his movements, and their series up to their last cause, would, it is true, be internal, but the last and highest would be met with in a different hand. In consequence of this, I cannot see hoAv they who insist on regarding space and time as modes pertaining to the existence of the things in themselves, can escape the fata- lity of actions; or if (as Mendelsohn did) they declare them requisite only to the existence of finite and derived beings, but no conditions of an Infinite and Illimitable Supreme, then, first, it is incomprehensible upon what title this distinction is asserted ; and second, how they propose to escape the contradiction of making existence in time a ne- cessary modification of Finites ; God being the cause of their existence, while he yet cannot be the cause of the existence of time and space, these being, on this assump- tion, necessary a priori conditions of the existence of things themselves; and so His causality would be condition- ed in regard of the existence of things ; after which, all the objections to God's Infinitude and Independency must again


enter ; whereas, on the contrary, the determining the Di- vine Existence as independent on any conditions of time, as contradistinguished from that of a being of the sensible world, is quite easy upon our theory, as it is just the dis- criminating betwixt the existence of a being-in-itself, and its existence phenomenally ; so that if the Ideality of space and time be not admitted, Spinozism is the only alterna- tive, where space and time are taken for essential modes of the Supreme Being ; and the things which depend on him {i. e. we ourselves) are not substances, but accidents INHERING in him, because, if these things exist only as his effects in time, which time conditions their existence-in- itself, then all actions of such a product, would be just ac- tions of this Supreme, which he performed somewhere and soMEWHEN. Spinozism, therefore, notwithstanding the absurdity of its main idea, concludes more logically than the creation-theory can, when beings in time are stated as substances, and as effects of a Supreme Cause, and yet denied to belong to God and his actions.

The solution of the said difficulty can be effected shortly and cleai'ly as follows. If existence-in-time is a mere sen- sitive kind of representing, appertaining to the thinking subjects in the world, and so quite unrelated to things-in- themselves, then the creating of these latter beings is a creating of things-in-themselves, because the notion of creation has nowhat to do with the sensitive representing of an entity, but refers to Noumena. When, then, I say of beings in the sensible world, " t?tej/ are created," so far I regard them as Noumena. And as it would import a contradiction to affirm that God is the originator of the phenomena, so it is likewise a contradiction to affirm that he is, as Creator, cause of the actions which, as phe-


nomena, are exhibited in the sensible world, although he is cause of the existence of the agent as a Noumenon. And if now it is possible to assert freedom without pre- judice to the mechanism of the system of actions as phe- nomena, then it cannot make the least difference that the agent is regarded as created, since creation refers to intel- ligible, not to sensible existence, and so cannot be figured as a ground of the determination of phenomena; which result, however, would fall out the other way if the finite beings existed in time as things-in-themselves, since then the Creator of the substance would be the Author of all the machinery attaching to the substance.

Of so vast importance is the separation of time from the existence of real entities effected in the Critique.

The solution of this difficulty here advanced is exceed- ingly difficult itself, it will be said, and appears hardly susceptible of a ucid explanation ; but is there any other which has been yet attempted more easy and more comprehensible ? It would be better to say, and more true, that the dogmatic teachers of metaphysic rather showed their cunning than their sincerity, by removing this difficulty out of sight, in the hope, that if they said nothing of it, it would occur to nobody. But if effective aid is to be given to science, every difficulty must be ex- posed, and even sought for, if perad venture any lurk in secret ; for every difficulty evokes a mean of help, which cannot be found without giving science an increase in extent or in precision; and so difficulties advance the groundworks of science. But when difficulties are dis- ingenuously concealed, or obviated by palliatives, they burst out by and by into incurable evils, and science is lost in absolute scepticism.


Since it is, properly speaking, the idea freedom which alone procures us (of all ideas of pure speculative rea- son) so great an extension in the fields of the supersen- sible, although only in order to a practical behoof, I ask how it has exclusively so great and signal a fertility, while the rest denote undoubtedly the vacant spot for possible objects of the understanding, but cannot deter- naine by anywhat the notion of them. I soon compre- hend, that since I can think nothing without a category, this category must first of all be sought, even for the idea freedom. Here it is the category causality, and I am aware that I cannot give to the idea freedom, as a trans- cendent one, any corresponding intuition, yet that to the representation causality, a sensible intuition must first of all be given, in order that objective reality may be secured to it. Again, all the categories fall into two classes, the matheraatic, which tend only to the unity of the synthesis in the representing of objects, and the dynamic, which refer to the unity in the representing the existence of objects. The first kind, those of quantity and quality, contain al- ways a synthesis of the homogeneous, where the uncon- ditioned, belonging to the given conditioned in a sensible intuition in space and time, could not at all be found, as it behoved itself to belong to space and time, and so was always still conditioned. Hence, too, it came, that in this part of the dialectic of speculative reason, the antagonist modes of finding the unconditionate, and the totality of their con- ditions, were both false. The categories of the second class (those of the causality and of the necessity of a thing) demanded not in their synthesis this homogeneous- ness of the conditioned and unconditionate, because here, not the intuition, and how it was conflate and compounded


out of a multifarious, behoves to be represented, but only how the existence of the conditioned object corresponding to the intuition, was added to the existence of the condi- tion ; and there it was allowable to place the uncondition- ed of the every-way-conditioned in the sensible world (both in regard of the causality and the contingent exis- tence of the things) in the cogitable world, and to make the synthesis transcendent : and so we found, in the dia- lectic of pure reason, that both the " seemingly" antago- nist modes of finding the unconditioned for the condi- tioned, e. g. in the synthesis of causality for the condi- tioned sequences of causation and effect in the sensible world, did not contradict one another, when a causa- lity was cogitated no longer sensitively-conditioned, and that the very same action, which, as pertaining to the sensible world, was always sensitively conditioned, i. e. mechanically necessary, could yet have at bottom a cau- sality independent on the sensory, as causality of the ac- tor, so far forth as he belonged to the intelligible world, and so be cogitated as free. All depended upon this, to change this can into existence, which, as it were, one could prove in some one instance by a fact, and to show that certain actions pre-supposed such a causality, (viz. the intellectual, unconditioned by sense), whether such actions were actual or commanded, i. e. were ob- jectively and practically necessary. In actually expe- rienced and observed actions, as events in the sensible world, we never could hope to attain this connection, be- cause the causality of freedom must be sought always beyond the sensible world, in the cogitable. But nowhat is objected to our perception, except sensible entities. There remained by consequence no alternative, except


that an incontrovertible and objective law of the causali- ty, secluding all sensitive conditions from its deter mina- tors, should be found; i. e. such a law, wherein reason appealed, to nowhat else and ulterior, as a determina- tor of causation, but which determinator reason 'herself contains by means of that law, and where she is ac- cordingly as pure reason self-practical. But this prin- ciple needs no seeking and no finding, but is from days of yore interwoven with the reason and substance of all men, and this is the principle of morality. Consequently, an unconditioned causality, and our power of having it, freedom^ and along with it, my being, belonging to the sensi- ble worlds and also at the same time to the cogitable, is not merely indefinitely and problematically thought, but is, in regard of the law of its causality, precisely and assertive- ly known ; and this fixes for us, and states, the reality of the cogitable world in a practical point of view ; and this fixing, which, in a theoretic point of view, would be TRANSCENDENT, is in a practical, immanent. But this step we could not take in reference to the second dyna- mical idea, viz. that of a necessary being; we could not ar- rive at him beyond the sensible world, without the interme- diation of the first dynamic idea. For had we hazarded any such step we must have quitted all data, and soared up to that, whereof nothing was given, by means of which we might make out the connection of such an intelligible per- son with the world of phenomena (since the Unoriginat- ed and Necessary behoved to be known as given without us), while yet this was quite possible in regard of our own subject, so far as, on the one hand, it determines itself by the moral law as a cogitable being by means of freedom, and, on the other hand, recognises itself as acting in the


sensible world, conformably to this destination, as indeed every day's experience may prove.

The idea freedom alone permits that we quit the da- tum SELF, to find the unconditioned and cogitable for the conditioned and sensible. Yet it is our reason itself, which, by its supreme and unconditioned practical law, recognises itself, and the being conscious of this law (our own person), as pertaining to the cogitable system, and that too with a determination of the mode how it as such may be active. Thus we understand how it is the practical faculties alone which can help us beyond the sensible world, and procure us a knowledge of a supersen- sible order and combination of things ; which knowledge can, however, be extended only so far as is just requisite for a pure practical purpose.

There is only one remark behind, viz. that every step taken by pure reason, even in a practical department where regard is not had to subtilty of speculation, does of itself most minutely coincide with the whole progress and march of the Critique of pure speculative Reason, — nay, as exactly as if each step were taken just to procure this establishment and confirmation. Such an unsought and self-presenting arrival of the most important passages of pure practical reason at the same goal, with the exceed- ing subtile and often needless-seeming remarks in the critique of pure speculative, surprises and corroborates and reinforces, the maxim already known and lauded by others, to prosecute with all frankness and exactness a man's research in every scientific undertaking, without caring in the least against what extraneous matters it may offend or collide, but to go on to execute it completely by and for itself alone. Repeated observation has shown


me, that when a work of this sort is ended, some things which, in the middle of the investigation looked exceed- ingly doubtful, came, notwithstanding, to a final coinci- dence and harmony in the most unexpected manner, with dogmas obtained without any reference to these results, or any partiality or fondness for them. Writers might spare themselves many blunders, and much lost toil (since they aimed at a dazzling result), could they but resolve to go more openly to work.





The Metaphysic of Ethics was intended to follow the dissertation on the a priori operations of the will. It di- vides itself into the metaphysical elements of law, and the metaphysical elements of morals (ethics in the strict- er sense), and constitutes the anti-part to my previous work, the metaphysical elements of natural philosophy.

Jurisprudence is the first part of general ethics. The desideratum with regard to it, is to have a system evolved by pure reason from principles a priori, and such a system would be THE METAPHYSIC OF LAW. But sincc law, al- though a pure notion, is intended to apply to cases pre- sented in observation and experience, a metaphysic system of it must embrace the a posteriori diversities of such cases to render it complete. Again, since no classification of what is merely a posteriori and contingent can be com- plete or certainly pronounced such, and an approximation only to systematic unity is possible, the a posteriori con-


ceptions cannot be introduced as integral parts of the sys- tem, but can only be adduced by way of example in notes. This circumstance, however, induces me to term the first part of the Metaphysic of Ethics the metaphysical ELEMENTS of law Only, because, in reference to such prac- tical cases, no system, but merely an approximation to it, is to be looked for. I shall therefore here, as formerly in the metaphysic elements of natural philosophy, print in the text that part of law which is strictly systematic, and a priori ; and that part which regards given cases in experience, I shall discuss in notes, since otherwise it would not be clear what ought to be considered as meta- physics, and what as practical law.

I do not know how I can remove, or how better antici- pate, the reproach of obscurity with which I am so often taunted, and not simply of obscurity, but of a studied and affected depth of thought, than by using the words of Professor Garve, a philosopher in the true sense of the word, in whose opinion I heartily concur, and whose rule I will endeavour to follow, in so far as the nature of my subject may permit.

Professor Garve desires (Vermischte Aufsatze, p. 352) that every philosophic doctrine be made capable of a po- pular exposition, otherwise the author is to be deemed chargeable with confusion in his own ideas. This I wil- lingly admit, except with regard to an investigation into the reach and extent of the faculty of reason itself, and of such cognate inquiries as rest on the originary function and use of reason ; for there the inquiry always turns on exactly discriminating betwixt the sensible and the super- sensible, in so far as this last may be the product of rea- son. Distinctions like these can never be made popular,


nor indeed any formal metaphysic, although the results and conclusions arrived at, may be made quite apparent to every sound understanding. In such an investigation, popularity, i. e. talking to the people in their own language and way of thinking, is quite out of the question. Scho- lastic EXACTNESS is indispensable, for the author is TALKING IN THE SCHOOLS ; and, without such rigid ter- minology, we cannot advance a step in an analysis of reason.

But when pedants have the effrontery to address the public from the pulpit or the chair, in technical phraseo- logy, calculated singly for the school, that cannot be pro- perly charged on any philosophic system, any more than the follies of a logodaedalist are to be charged on gram- mar. The absurdity attaches to the individual, not to the science he perverts.

It is objected, that it is extremely arrogant, egotistical, nay, contemptuous, to the followers of the old systems, to assert, thati previotcs to the publication of my own system, there was no metaphysic science. But, to give due weight to this plausible objection, I desire that it be considered, " Whether or no there can be more than one single sys- tem of metaphysic science." There are no doubt differ- ent modes of philosophising, and various ways of re- tracing the first principles of thought, upon which after- wards, with more or less success, systems are erected, all which prepare the way, and have contributed to the esta- blishment, of my own. But since, in the nature of things, human reason is but one, there cannot be various systems of philosophy. In other words, there is in the nature of things only one true system possible, however different and contradictory the assertions may have been with re-


gard to each proposition in it. In the same way, the mo- ralist asserts, and with justice, there is but one virtue, and only one doctrine of it, i. e. a single and alone sys- tem, establishing all virtues in one common principle. In like manner, the chemist maintains that there is but one chemistry, the physician there is one alone principle of classifying diseases (that according to Brown) ; and each of these, although excluding the prior and elder sys- tems, does not deny the intrinsic merits of former moralists, chemists, and physicians, — since, without their discoveries and unsuccessful essays at system, no one could have ar- rived at a true principle, giving systematic unity to the whole philosophy. Whenever, therefore, any one an- nounces a system of metaphysic as the result of his own excogitation, it is exactly the same thing as if he were to say, hitherto there has been no true system ; for, were he to admit a second and true system, then would there be two systems of opinion on the same subject ',-. — different and yet true propositions — which is a contradiction. So that, when the Kantic system announces itself as that, before which, there was no real true philosophy, it is merely in the situation of every new system, and pretends to no more than every person must in fact pretend to, who pro- jects a system according to his own plan.

There is an objection of still less moment, and yet not entirely to be passed over, that one of the leading features of the Kantic system is not its own, but borrowed from some cognate system of philosophy (or mathematics) ; for such is the discovery proclaimed by the Tubingen reviewer concerning the author's definition of philoso- phy, which he had proposed as his own, and as very im- portant ; but which, it seems, had been given long ago by


another in almost the same words.* I must here leave it to the private judgment of each, whether oi» not the words intelkctualis qucBdam consfructio could have suggested my doctrine of Time and Space, by which I distinguish so broadly betwixt mathematics and philosophy. I am con- fident Hansen would himself have refused to acknow- ledge this interpretation of his words ; for the possibility of intuitions a priori^ and that space is such intuition, are positions he would willingly have avoided, as, in conse- quence, he would have felt himself entangled in labyrin- thic questions of unknown and sight-outrunning extent and intricacy. A representation made, as it were, by THE understanding, was intended by this learned mathe- matician to signify nothing else than the drawing of lines corresponding to the conception : where the rule alone is attended to, and the trivial errors which must be made in the actual construction are totally abstracted from, as every one may understand who considers the making lines equal in geometry.

Least of all is that objection worthy of regard which attacks the spirit of my system, by considerations drawn from the confusion wrought by those who attempt to ape it, by using some of those peculiar words which are really not capable of being supplied by any others in more common use ; for the using them in common conversation deserves high reprehension, and such castigation has been admi- nistered by Mr Nicolai, although I cannot agree with his remark, that they are to be dispensed with even in their

• Porro de actual! constructione hie non quseritur, cum ne possint quidera sensibiles figurae ad rigorem definitionum Effingi ; sed requiritur cognitio eorum, quibus absolvitur formatio, quse intellectualis qusedam constructio est. (A. Hausen, EJem. Mathem. pars i. p. 86, a. 1734.)

170 PREFACE, &C.

proper field, as being a mere disguise for poverty of thought. However, the unpopular pedant is a better ob- ject of sarcasm than an ignorant dogmatist ; for, in truth, the metaphysician who is strictly wedded to his system, belongs to the latter class, even though he is willingly igno- rant of every thing not belonging to his own school. But if, according to Shaftesbury, it is no small test of truth, that a system, particularly a practical one, can hold out against the assaults of ridicule, then, I think, the time will come when the Kantic system may laugh in turn, and with the greater justice, when it beholds the fair but airy castles of its opponents crumble to pieces at its touch, and their defenders taking fright amidst the ruins, — a destiny which inevitably awaits them.





The power of desire, or appetitive faculty, is the power man has of becoming, by his representations, the cause of the existence of the object represented. The ability of any being to act conformably to its representations, is called


With desire or aversion is invariably connected, first, PLEASURE or DISLIKE, the Susceptibility for which is called feeling; but these last may be unattended by the for- mer ; for there are pleasures (e. g. of taste) independent of desire, originating from the bare representation, formed in the mind, of an object, while the percipient may be in- different to its existence. Secondly, the liking or dis- like of an object desired need not precede the desire, and cannot always be regarded as the cause, but must sometimes as the effect, of the appetition.

Pleasure or dislike accompanying a representation, is, | for this reason, called feeling, that it is merely subjec- /


TivF, and has no relation to an object, so as to beget any knowledge of it, nay, not even a knowledge of our own state : Whereas even sensations, when considered apart from the peculiar modifications of our own subject (as red, sweet, &c.), refer, as elements of knowledge, to an object. But the pleasure or dislike we have at red or sweet denotes nothing whatever with regard to the ob- ject,* but simply its relation to my own subject. This is also the reason why the phenomena pleasure and dislike admit of no farther explanation ; and the utmost that can be done is to register and classify the consequences they may produce in order to apply these to use in practice.

That pleasure which is necessarily connected with de- siring, may be called practical pleasure, irrespective of its being cause or effect of the desire. On the other hand, that pleasure which is not necessarily connected with the desire of the object represented, and which, therefore, is no pleasure in the existence of the object of the representation, but singly in the representation itself, may be called contemplative pleasure, or inactive com- placency. A pleasurable feeling of this latter sort is

  • The aensory may be defined the subjective of our representations,

for it is the understanding which refers these representations to an ob- ject, i. e. it alone thinks to itself somewhat by means of them. Now, the subjective of a representation may be of such a sort as to be capable of being referred to an object, so as to constitute knowledge of it, and that 'with respect either to the form or matter. In the first case it is called in- tuition a priori, in the second sensation. In these cases, the receptivity is called THE SENSORY, and is divided into the internal sense and the ex- ternal. Or, otherwise, the subjective of a representation cannot become any element of knowledge, but refers singly to the subject, in which case the receptivity is called feeling. Feeling, then, is the effect of a repre- j sentation, and is of the sensory, no matter whether or not the represen- / tation causing it belong to the intellect or the sensory.


called TASTE ; this last is properly no part of a practical system, but may episodically be introduced. The practi- cal pleasure, however, which, as a cause, precedes and determines the power of desire, is itself called desire in the strictest sense. A habitual desire is called appetite or INCLINATION, and since the combination of pleasure with the power of desire is called (in so far as this con- junction is deemed by the understanding subjectively valid according to a general rule) interest, the practical plea- sure is in such a case an appetitive interest. But, on the contrary, when pleasure is of such a sort, as can fol- low solely upon a previous determination of the appetitive faculty, it is intellectual, and not sensitive ; and the inte- rest taken in the object represented is an interest of reason ; for, were the interest sensitive, and did it not rest exclusively on principles of reason, then sensation must be connected with the pleasure, so as to determine the power of appetition. Farther, although, when a pure interest of reason is granted, no appetitive interest is al- lowed to be surreptitiously introduced, yet we may, out of compliance with common parlance, speak of an incli- nation,— a habitual desire, — even towards that which can alone be an object of intellectual complacency ; yet such habitual desire must not be mistaken for the cause, but must be taken for the effect, of the rational interest, in which case, the appetite is liberal and free, and is called A pure insensitive inclination.*

" Inclination is here obviously used figuratively^ and a distinction may be taken betwixt physical and ethical inclination {Neigung). An inclination to do what the law commands is no doubt morally possible, but then it must not be figured as antecedent to the law : it can only follow upon the representation of the law, when the law has determined the will.


Concupiscence — or lusting after — is different from de- siring, and is a stimulus tending to awaken it, — it is al- ways sensitive, but is a state of mind short of producing any act on the part of the appetitive faculty.

The power of desiring, conform to intellectual represen- tations, is, in so far as the grounds of the determination to act, exist in the mind itself, and not in the object, called a


appetitive faculty is combined with the consciousness of this ability of its own act to produce the object represent- ed, it is called choice ; if such consciousness is awanting, the act of the faculty is a mere wish. Appetition, when its inward ground of determination, consequently when the option, depends upon the reason of the subject himself, is called will. Will is therefore the appetitive faculty, not so much in respect of the action (that was choice), as in respect of the ground determining the choice of the ac- tion ; and it has itself no prior determinative, but is, in so far as it determines choice, practical reason itself.

Subordinate to will, may be classed choice and wish, in so far as reason can determine the power of desire. Choice, when determined by pure reason, is a liberal, a free choice ; whereas that determinable singly by sensi- tive excitement is a mechanical or brute choice. The hu- man choice is one affected by such stimuli, but not de- termined by them, and is therefore in itself, although it may be determined to actions emanating from pure will, prior to such acquired facility, impure. Freedom of choice is the independency of its determination on sen- sitive stimulants. This is the negative conception of free- dom; the positive, the power of pure reason to be it- self practical or active. But this is no otherwise possibl e


than by subordinating the maxim of ever y action to the condition of its fitness for law universa l ; and since the maxims of men do not always coincide with this requisi- tion, reason can only prescribe this law by an imperative ordaining or forbidding.

This law of freedom is, in contradistinction to physical laws of nature, called moral. When directed to exter- nal actions and their legitimateness, it founds jurispru- dence. But when this law is applied to human conduct, and is itself the ground determining an action, so as to as- certain and fix its inward, and therefore also its outward, conformity to the law, then the knowledge a priori resulting from this formal determination of the maxims of the will is the science of ethics; and this is what is meant when it is said that actions in harmony with the first are legal, while actions in harmony with the last are moral. The freedom regarded in the first is external, i. e. personal li- berty, singly ; but that freedom concerned in the last, em- braces both a man's external freedom (of body) and in- ternal freedom (of choice), in so far as both his phenome- nal and real freedom are subjected to a law of reason. Thus, in our inquiry into the reach and extent of the fa- culty of reason, we said objects of the external senses are in space, but in time all whatever, whether of the inter- nal or external senses, the representations of both, being perceptions embraced under the conditions of the faculty of internal intuitions. In the same way may freedom be regarded as modifying the external or internal use of choice ; but still its law, as a pure practical principle, must be always valid as its inward determinator, although not always contemplated in that particular point of view.




That a system of the metaphysical principles of natural philosophy is possible a priori, and that such a system should precede that mixed physics which is applied to ob- servation and experience, has been shown elsewhere. But natural philosophy can receive many propositions, on the evidence of experience, as quite general, and admitting no exception, although such universality of extent ought strictly to be deduced from positions a priori. As an in- stance of this, Newton adopted, as founded on experience, the principle of the equality of action and re-action, and yet he extended it over the whole material universe. Chemistry goes still farther, and founds its laws of com- bination and solution singly on experience, and yet relies on their universality and necessity so as to apprehend error impossible.

But with the laws o f morals the case is different, th <ey arejyalid as laws only i n so far as they are founded a priori, and are seen to be so : nay, our judgments and opinions of ourselves and our actions are quite devoid of e thic impor t if th ey contain singly what experience teaches of them; an d if a ny one allowed himself to make any thing takenfrom experien ce a moral rule of acting, he wou ldbe in danger of the mo st ruinous errors..

If ethics were a mere doctrine of Eudaimonism, then it would be absurd to support it on principles a priori. For how plausible soever it may seem to say, that reason could have investigated beforehand the means of attaining a permanent enjoyment of real happiness and of the araeni-


ties of life, still experience has shown that all theories a priori on that subject, are either tautological or void of foundation. Experience and observation alone show in what delight is taken. The natural instincts — the desire of rest — of motion — the love of fame — of knowledge — teach each individual separately, what he is to look to, for his chief gratification; and from these instincts he learns the means of reaching what he likes. All reasoning a priori towards founding a theory of general happiness is, when narrowly examined, jnoj nore than general observa- tions founded on induction : and since ge nerals are not universals,~the propositions admit of so many exceptions m order to adapt the choice to ea c h man's likings, that, ^fter all, the individual is left to gro w wise by experience of his own or his neighbour's damage .

The constitution of the precepts of morals is totally dif- ferent : they are laws for every one, and have no respect for his appetites or inclinations ; and that simply because man is free, and reason is practical. The instruction given in its laws is not drawn from inductive observations of him- self and his animal part — not from considering the causes of the physical system, or taking heed to that which hap- pens and is acted. But reason commands how man is to act, although no example of such action could be adduced. It also disregards the advantage resulting from our con- duct, which, indeed, experience can alone teach. For al- though reason allows and approves our seeking our advan- tage in every possible way, and does, moreover, supported by experience, lead us to hope, especially if we go hand in hand with prudence, upon the whole, for greater advan- tages than can probably be counted on from violating her laws; still the authority of her behests, as Law, does



not depend on any such contingency, and she uses sucli facts merely as a counterpoise to weigh against the induce- ments leading to an opposite course, in order, by thus ad- justing the equilibrium of an otherwise undue balance, to secure for herself the full weight of her a priori reason.

And since a system of a priori knowledge deduced from notions is called metaphysic. Practical Philosophy, which treats not of the physical system, but of the cogita- ble, would require and pre-suppose a metaphysic of free- dom, or of the moral system. To have such a system is therefore itself a duty ; nor is any man destitute of this first Philosophy^ however darkly conscious of it he may be to himself ; for how could he, if destitute of a priori principles, fancy himself possessed of the ground of a law fit for all Intelligents ? But as, in the metaphysic of the physical system, there were principles required for apply- ing the supreme a priori positions to objects of experience ; so, in the metaphysic of the moral system, the particular nature of man comes to be considered, which is known singly from expei'ience, in order, on it, to indicate the con- clusions resulting from the supreme moral law; by all which the purity of this last is noways affected, nor is its a priori original rendered at all doubtful. In other words, the metaphysic of ethics cannot rest on anthropology, but it must apply to it.

The antipart of a metaphysic of ethics, as the second MEMBER of a division of practical philosophy in general, would be MORAL anthropology, which would contain the subjective obstacles or assistances the moral law might I meet with in the human constitution. It would treat of the founding moral maxims in the individual ; of propagat- ing them, and strengthening their action among tlie people ;


and such other matters as rest on experience, and, in- deed, cannot be dispensed with, but which must not pre- cede the first elements, or be mixed up with them : since then great risk is run of extracting false or at least indul- gent moral laws, which give out that to be unattainable which for this very reason is not attained, the law not being held up in its purity, in which alone its strength consists ; or is not attained, because ungenuine and sophis- ticated motives towards good and duty are employed, which ultimately sap and overthrow morality. Moral Anthropology dare not, therefore, be employed as any standard of judging in morals, nor as a discipline for the mind in assisting it to discharge its duty. Here the law itself must be resorted to, as it emanates directly from pure reason.

With regard to the division just mentioned, of philoso- phy into theoretical and practical, and that this last could be no other than moral science, I have elsewhere explain- ed myself at length (Disquisition on the a priori Func- tions of the Judgment). Every practical investigation, teaching what may possibly be reached, by help of the physical system, is art, and depends singly on mecha- nic forces and their laws ; only those practical investiga- tions which rest on laws of freedom can have principles independent on any prior theory. For as to what trans- cends nature, there is no theory. Philosophy, therefore, can contain no technical, but singly a moral-practi- cal part ; and if the acquired facility of the choice, con- form to laws of freedom, should, in contradistinction to nature, be here called art, it would be such art as be- hoved to be establishable in a system of freedom, analogous to that of nature: and, in truth, a divine art, were we al-



ways to exactly perform what reason enjoins, and to re- alize its Ideal.



To all legislation (which may prescribe inward or out- ward actions, and these either a priori by pure reason, or by the will of another), there are two things requisite, FIRST, a law representing the action as objectively ne- cessary, i. e. making it a duty. Secondly, a spring of action, which subjectively connects the determination of the choice with the representation of the law. By the first, the action is represented as duty, and is a mere theoretic acquaintance with a possible determination of choice ; but, by the second, the obligation so to act, is conjoined with a subjective ground of the determination of choice.

Every legislation, therefore (no matter whether the ac- tion prescribed be the same or not), may be divided, in respect of the spring toward action, employed. That le- gislation, constituting an action duty, and making the re-

" The DEDUCTION of the division of a system, i. e. the proof of its completeness, and also of its continuity, ». e. that the transition from the divided notion to its sub-divisions, be not per saltum, is one of the most difficult tasks imposed on the architect of a system. And there is room for hesitation as to the ultimate notion, which is divided into bight and WBONG. It is, however, that of an act of free choice in gene^ HAL. Teachers of ontology generally begin with the representations, SOMETHING, — NOTHING, — not adverting to the circumstance, that these opposed conceptions are already members of a division, and presuppose a higher notion, which can be no other than that of any object whatso- ever.


presentation duty itself the spring, is ethical. But that legislation which does not include this last in the law, and admits of other springs than the naked idea duty, is ju- ridical. As to what such springs may be ? it is quite ob- vious, that since they differ from the idea duty, they must be taken from pathological inclinations and aversions bearing on the human choice, and more pai'ticularly from the latter, singly because the legislation necessitates, and does not persuade.

The coincidence of an action with the law, abstracted from any regard had to the motive whence it sprang, is its LEGALITY. But sucli Coincidence — when the idea duty, founded on the law, is at the same time the inward spring — forms its morality.

The duties of forensic obligation are outward only ; for the juridical legislation does not require that the idea duty, which is inward, should become likewise the determi- nator of the choice of the agent ; and yet, since a motive is required, adequate, and calculated to give purchase to the law, the motives to be combined with the law can, from the nature of the case, be external singly. The ethical le- gislation takes under its cognisance inward mental acts j but it comprehends also all outward ones, and so is extend- ed over every thing that can be called duty. But, upon this very account, since ethical legislation includes in its law the inward spring of acting (viz. the idea duty), a particular noway entering into any external legislation, it follows that ethical legislation cannot be exter- nal (not even that of a divine will), although it may adopt actions prescribed by other systems of legisla- tion into its own, as duties, and make the consideration of them, as such, a spring of conduct.



From this it is evident that all duties must fall under the head of ethics, even while the law giving them hirtli may not. Thus ethic requires that I fulfil a promise, al- though the other party could not compel me to do so. Ethics adopts the law pacta sunt servanda^ and adopts also the thence arising duty. It is, therefore, not in ethics, but in law, that the legislation enjoining fidelity to one^s promise is contained. Ethics only teaches that, even if the external coercion connected juridically with the action were awanting, the idea of its being duty were still suffi- cient as a spring; for were it not so, and the legislation not juridical, and the duty not one of law, but one of CONSCIENCE, then fidelity in adhering to engagements would come to be classed with duties of benevolence,

» which is very wide of truth. It is essentially a legal ob- ligation to which a man can be externally compelled ; yet it is a virtuous action (a proof of virtuous sentiments) to act in that manner, even when no force can be afpre- HENDED. Law and morals are, therefore, not so much distinguished by the duties they enjoin, as by the different genius of the legislation connecting this or the other mo- tive with the injunction.

Ethical legislation is that which cannot be external, although the duties may be so. Juridical is that which can also be external. Thus it is an external duty to keep one's promise ; but the commandment to do so singly be- cause it is duty, and disregarding every other motive, be- longs simply to an inward legislation. It is, therefore, not as a particular act of duty (a peculiar kind of act, to which we are bound), for, both in ethics and law, question is made of external duties — ^but because in the given case the legislation is inward, and can have no external lawgiver,


that therefore the obligation is deemed ethical. For the same reason, the duties of benevolence, in so far as they consist of external actions (or rather of obligations there- unto), are reckoned to belong to ethics, — the legislation being internal singly. Ethics has no doubt its peculiar duties, e. g. those towards one's-self ; but it has also seve- ral in common with law, only the mode of the obliga- tion is different ; for to do actions barely because they are duties, and to make the principle of duty, no matter whence that duty spring, the all-sufficient spring of the will, is the peculiar characteristic of ethical obligement. Hence there are direct-ethical duties, but indirectly all others come to be so too.



The idea freedom is a product of pure reason, and, owing to that very circumstance, transcends the grasp of speculative philosophy ; i. e. is such a conception as has no example in the course of experience and observation, — is therefore no object of theoretic knowledge : it is not a constitutive, but simply regulative, and, moreover, negative principle of speculative reason. But, in the use of reason as a practical or active faculty, the reality of this idea is evinced in practical propositions, which, being laws, point to a CAUSALITY OF REASON, independent on any sensitive condition — determine the choice — and show a pure will, in which the moral ideas and laws have their seat.

Upon this idea of freedom, which is positive in so far as practice is concerned, are founded unconditional prac-


tical laws, called moral, which, in respect of us, who are aflfected by sensitive determinatives, and whose choice therefore swerves from pure will, are imperatives (cate- gorical commands or prohibitions) ; and this it is which distinguishes them from mere technical rules, which last are valid on certain conditions singly. By these impera- tives some actions are allowed or disallowed, i. e. are morally possible or impossible ; others again are morally necessary, i, e. obligatory, whence arises the idea of duty, the adhering to or transgressing which is connected with a peculiar feeling of pain or pleasure (the moral sense) : this feeling, however, since it is not the foundation of the practical laws, but only an effect produced in our mind when the choice is determined by them, which may be very different in different individuals, without affecting the truth of any moral judgment, — cannot be taken notice of in a system treating of the mere practical laws of reason.

The following notions are common to both parts of ethics.

Obl igation is the necessi ty .of a free action , falling un^- ' der a categ orical imperative of reaso n.

An imperative is a practical rule, by which an action, in itself contingent, is rendered necessary, and differs in this point from a practical law, that whereas this last represents the necessity of an action, yet it does so irrespective of the consideration that such action may, of inward necessity, belong to an agent (e. g. a holy one), and yet, in the case of man, be merely fortuitous ; for, where the action is al- ready necessary, there no imperative can be expressed. ^An imp ei'ative is therefore a rule making necessary, a sub- jecti vely contingent action, and thereb y j:ep resenting the subject affe cted by it, as one who must necessitate hi s


action s to harmonize with the rulo,. The categorical (i. e. absolute or unconditional) imperative is not one which commands mediately, or by the representation of any ul- terior END whitherward the action might point, but is one which, by the bare representation of the act, cogitates it as

IMMEDIATELY-INCUMBENT, and makes it OBJECTIVELY-NE- CESSARY. Imperatives of this sort, no practical doctrine, which treats of obligations, save ethic singly, can present. All other imperatives are technical and conditioned. The ground of the possibility of categorical imperatives is this, that they rest on no determinator of choice, which would require an ulterior end to be had in view, but on its originary freedom singly.

An action is allowed which is not contrary to obliga- tion ; and this freedom, limited by no opposing imperative, is a moral title or faculty : from this is obvious what is


Duty is that action to which a person is bound. Duty is hence the matter of obligation, and there may be one duty, in so far as the act is concerned, although differ- ent modes in which the obligation may be constituted, I. e. juridical or ethical.

The categorical imperative, expressing obligation in re- gard of a given action, is a moral practical law. But since obligation implies not merely practical necessity (that being expressed by all law), but necessitation, the imperative is either a command or a prohibition, as it may happen. An action neither commanded nor forbidden is ALLOWED, merely because, with regard to it, there exists no law limiting the freedom of the subject, and therefore no duty ; such an action is morally-indifferent. A farther question may be moved, if there are any such adiaphorous


actions ? and if so, is it open to any one to will or eschew them at pleasure, without a particular permissive law ? Were this question answered negatively, then would the faculty of acting not respect an action indiiFerent, for to such, morally considered, no particular law can be required.

A DEED or action is an event falling under the laws of obligation, i. e. it is called an act, when regard is had to its originator, — the freedom of the acting subject. The actor is considered the author of the event ; and when he is supposed to know the law applying to his con- duct, and by virtue of which law he is bound, both the act and its consequences can be imputed to him.

He to whom actions can be imputed is called person — MORAL PERSONALITY, man's independent individuality, is nothing else than the freedom of agent-intelligents, who rank under moral laws. Whence it is evident that a person is subjected to no law except such as he, either alone, or sometimes in conjunction with others, imposes on him- self.

That is called a thing to which no event can be im- puted as an action. Hence every object devoid of free- dom is regarded as a thing.

Right, WRONG , denote actions consistent or inconsist - fiTi t^witb du ty ; and these terms are so applied, in w hat- ever w ay th e du ty may have been constituted : an act re- pugnant to duty is called transgression.

An unintentional transgression is called (for it is im- putable) A fault; but a deliberate transgression [e. g. one accompanied with the consciousness of its being so) is a crime or SIN : whatever coincides juridically with the external requirements of law is called just ; what is not so, unjust.


/ A CO LL ISION OF DUTIES would imply such a condition of eth ical ob lig ation , that one duty annihilated the other. But because duty and obligation ar e ideas involvi ng the objec tive pr actical necessity of certain actions, and since two cont radicto ry and inconsistent impe ratives can- not both be necessary, it fol lows that a c olli sion of duties is p erfect ly inconceivableTj There may, however, be dif- ferent grounds towards an obligation, one or other or all of which may be insuflScient to beget a perfect obligation (rationes obligandi non obligantes), and one and the same individual may come to be affected by the rule pre- scribed by them, but duty is not established in such a case. Whence practical philosophers express themselves by saying, not that the major obligation retains its place, but that the more extensive ground towards obligation takes precedence of the less.

External laws are understood to comprehend and in- clude those obligations which are recognised by reason a priori ; and although not promulgated, they are held to be so, and compose what is called the law of nature. Those, again, which, until promulgated, have no force, and which could not oblige but by reason of their proceeding from the legislator, are, in contradistinction, called positive or statutable law. An external legislation is therefore possible, containing simply the law of nature ; but then this natural law must antecede and establish the authority of the lawgiver {i. e. his title to oblige).

An ultimate principle of reason, binding us to certain actions, is a practical law. The rule a n age nt chooses himself to follow is his p eculiar max im of conduct, and of_ such m axims the variet y is_plainly endless.

The categorical imperative, which is merely a general


formula expressing what obligation is annotineed, is the necessity of adopt ing su c h maxims as migh t serve for com-> mon laws for al l. Conduct is therefore to be examined so as to detect the private maxim from which it sprang ; and whether it be a principle possessed of objective vali- dity, can only be recognised by inquiring if reason can represent itself as pronouncing law universal by means of it.

The simplicity of this law, contrasted with the variety and gravity of the consequences following upon it, as also its majesty and supremacy, unattended by any visible sanctions, is at first exceedingly surprising. But when, in the midst of this admiration, the power of reason is pointed out to sway our choice by the idea of a formal law, and we are guided by it to the farther cogitation of that property of will, its freedom, which no force of spe- culation, no train of experience, could have reached, we then observe how it is that this law should, like mathe- matic postulates, be indemonstrable, and yet most apo- DiCTiCALLY CERTAIN, and, like them, open up a vista into a long and spacious field of scientific practical proposi- tions — a field where, theoretically ^ reason found every ave- nue barred up, and saw the idea freedom, together with every other idea of the supersensible, removed to a distance altogether inaccessible. The harmony of an action with the Law of Duty is its legality; that of its maxim with the law is its morality. Max im is the su bj ective prin- cip le of acti ng, a nd is made by the Su bj ect his own rule , viz. how he wills to act ; whereas, on the contrary, the Law of D ut y commands objectively, viz. how he o u ght to act.

The s upreme princip le of ethics therefore is. Act upon a


maxim at ^all times fit for law universa l. Every maxim repugnant to the above is immoral.

The law proceeds from will, maxims from choice, which in mankind is free. Will, with respect singly to the relation obtaining betwixt it and the law, is, pro- perly speaking, neither free nor unfree, for it does not regard actions, but the ideal legislation itself, i. e. is it- self practical reason.* Choice alone is, strictly speak- ing, FREE.

Liberty of choice cannot be explained to be a power o^ adhering to ordeserting the law, although, as phenomenon, this is often the fact ; we only mean by liberty that ne- gative property of our thinking frame not to be deter- mined to act by physical excitements. What it is really, and how freedom positivley co-acts the sensory, is be- yond the bounds of human speculation ; and the pheno- menal observance or transgression of the law can never serve to give any insight into the nature and essence of a supersensible object. It is one thing to note as true what experience has taught ; another to make such experience and observation the principle of a definition, and the mark and general criterion by which to distinguish free and mechanic choice ; for experience and observation does not inform us that the mark defined by, necessarily adheres to the notion, which, however, is essential for a sound and unerring criterion. Finally, liberty cogitated as an ability of acting on the representation of the law, is alone a power, and to swerve from the law is not a power,

  • The meaning is, practical reason or pure will is the substratum of

man's moral nature, t. e. is the ground of the possibility of his freedom and independency on every sensitive determinator, and therefore free- dom is not so much a predicate, as a coxseqtjekce, of will.


but weakness, and it is clearly absurd to explain the for- mer by the latter — a power by the want of it.

A LAW is a proposition enouncing a categorical im- perative. He who commands by law is a lawgiver, and is the author of juridical obligation, although not ne- cessarily the author of the law itself ; for if he is, then it is a positive and arbitrary enactment. That law which imposes on us its unconditioned obligation a priori, may be cogitated as emanating from the will of a supreme law- giver, i. e. of God (to whom rights are owed, but of whom no duty can be predicated) ; but this is merely the idea of a moral agent, whose will is law for all, and does not mean that he is the author of the law itself.

Imputation, in a moral sense, is that judgment where- by some one is stated to be the author of an event, which is then called his act or deed ; and if such judgment is ac- companied by legal sequents, then the imputation is ju- diciary. If no legal effects follow, then the judgment is no more than a private judgment, and the imputation is in- valid or dijudicatory only. That person who has a title to pronounce judiciary imputation is called the judge or court {forum, tribunal).

What any one does over and above what he can be compelled to, is meritorious, or of well-desert ; what ac- tions do no more than tally with the legal standard are of debt singly, and when they fall short of it are of de- merit or ill-desert. The legal consequence of demerit or guilt is punishment ; that of merit is reward, provid- ed the reward promised in the law was the motive incit- ing to action. Conduct precisely exhaustive of what we were indebted to, is unattended by any judicial effect.


Benignity or favour stands in no legal relationship to any action. '

The good or evil results consequent on an indebted ac- tion, likewise the consequences of neglecting a meritori- ous, cannot be imputed to the agent. They may tell upon the actor, but cannot be deemed effects of the law. The good springing from an action of well-desert, and the evil following on an unjust action, are imputable.

However, subjectively, the grade of the imputability of an action is to be estimated by the magnitude of the ob- stacles overcome. The_ g reater hindrance f rom without, and the _j e ss the hindranc e to duty from within, so much the hig her rises the moral hones ty and well-deservingness of t he act ; e. g. if I rescue from g r eat wretchedness one who is a stranger and un known to me, and that at great^ personal inconvenience to myself.

Conversely : The less t he impediment is from without, and t he gr eater the obstacles are withi n, s o much gr eater is the de merit in the scale of giijlt: The state of mind, therefore, in which a bad action is per pe trated, whether unagitated or inflamed, will gre atly ch ange the imputa- tion both of the deed and its consequences.




§ A. What the science of law is.

The aggregate of those laws which may be externally promulgated is law (jus). If really so announced by a lawgiver, such legislation becomes real, and composes POSITIVE LAW (jus scriptum). He who knows this, is a jurisconsult; and is even jurisperitus when he can dexterously apply the law to occurring cases, — a skill, which, if great, may even entitle a man to rank among the JURISPRUDENTS. When, however, we abstract from such jurisperitia anA jurisprudential what remains is mere- ly the scientific theory of law. By the science of law is meant the systematic knowledge of the principles of the law of nature, — from which positive law takes its rise, — which is for ever the same, and carries its sure and un- changing obligations over all nations and throughout all ages.

§ B. What is law?

This is a question which may embarrass the lawyer as much as the celebrated question, " What is truth ?"



does the logiciao : for he must avoid tautology, and give a general explanation, abstracted from the particular legis- lation obtaining in any one country. Wliat the law in any instance is {quid sit Juris), the jurisconsult can easily tell ; but whether it is RiaHT or just that it should be so, is what he wants a criterion to determine ; but this crite- rion can only then be found when, abandoning all poste- riori principles, he ascends to the sources of reason, and discovers on what, all legislation whatsoever, can alone be based ; in which analysis, positive law is doubtless a great help and guide. But laws founded singly on experience, are like the mask in the fable, beautiful, but hollow.

The notion of law, in so far as it imports obligation,— <.e. annexes the predicate, ^^ forbidden " or ^^ allowed" to an action, — regards, ^r^^, the external practical relation of per- son to person, in so far as the actions of one may affect or influence another ; second, it does not regard the relation betwixt the choice of one and the wishes or wants of an- other, as in deeds of benevolence or severity, but merely respects the relationship of choice to choice ; thirdly, in this reciprocal relationship of choices, no question is made as to the matter chosen. The form of the choice, i. e. the choice considered as free, is alone regarded, i. e. whether the action of one man is consistent with, and does not im- pair, the free choice of another.

Law, — the rule of right, — is therefore the aggregate of those conditions, according to which personal choices may harmonise and not destroy one another by being subor- dinated to freedom's law universal.


§ C. Supreme principle of law.

Every action is right and just, the maxim of which al- lows the agents freedom of choice to harmonise with the free- dom of every other, according to a universal law.

If, therefore, my deportment, or, generally, my condi- tion, is not inconsistent with the universal freedom of every other person, he does me a wrong who hinders such state, or obstructs my actions ; for such obstruction is inconsistent with a universal law of liberty.

From this it follows, that no one is legally entitled to demand, that I make this principle of universal legality the maxim or spring of my conduct. Another's freedom may be indifferent to me, — nay, I may wish to invade it ; but so long as I do it not, I am juridically just. That jus- tice should be itself my maxim, belongs to the second part of ethics.

The law or universal rule of right is. So act tJiai the use of thy freedom may not circumscribe the freedom of any other {i. e. if thy act or maxim were made imperative on all) — a law imposing no doubt obligation, but which does not exact the determination of choice by the contempla- tion of the obligation. Reason singly announces, that it in idea so limits freedom, and that others may in real fact and event co-act such limitation; and this it an- nounces as a postulate incapable of farther proof. As we here treat not of offices of virtue, but explain what is just and right, it is impossible to represent this law as the spring moving us to action.


§ D. Law carries with it a title of co-action.

An obstacle opposed to that wliich hinders an eflFect, advances that eflFect, and tends to that end. But every thing unjust is a hindrance to freedom, according to law universal. Again, co-action is a hindrance put upon free- dom. Therefore, if a certain use of freedom is a hin- drance to freedom universal, i. e. unjust and wrong, then co-action preventing such misuse of freedom goes to esta- blish freedom according to a universal law, i, e. is just or right ; and consequently law has in itself a right to co- act him who attempts to violate it.

§ E. Law may likewise be strictly defined as that by


The purport of this sentence is, that law is not to be re- garded as made up of two parts, the one obligation, the other a title to co-act ; but that the very notion of law consists in that of the possibility of combining universal mutual co-action with every person's freedom.

For since law respects that only which is external and phenomenal in an action, strict law, i, e. law in which no ethical consideration is introduced, can require no inter- nal, but merely external, determinators of choice, even al- though co-action be required to do so. All law whatever rests, it is true, on the consciousness of obligation under the moral law itself; but pure or strict law, in the sense now taken, does not expect that this consciousness should be the spring of conduct ; but supports itself as a legisla- tion for external actions, on its principle of co-action.


When, therefore, it is said a creditor is entitled to demand payment from his debtor, that never implies that he may represent to the latter that his own reason imposes that obligation ; but it signifies that external co-action physi- cally forcing the payment of debt consists with universal freedom, and so even with the debtor's. This position of reciprocal action and co-action throughout the whole sys- tem of Intelligents, gives, if I may so speak, a lively image of the notion law in a sensible figure d priori^ and carries us by analogy to the law of action and re-action in the communicating of external motion ; and as by vir- tue of it the QUANTITY OF MOTION remained undimi- nished, so here by virtue of this reciprocal co-active me- chanism, the QUANTUM OF PEKsoNAL FEEEDOM is pre- served undiminished throughout the system, in the inter- course and exchange of man with man.

Again, as in the mathematics, the truths of that science are not deduced from the naked notion, but by help of the configurations of space answering to the given notion ; so it is not so much the notion law, as that equal and mu- tual co-action corresponding to the idea, by means of which, a deduction, and, as I may say, delineation of its truths are possible ; [i. e. the propositions are not taken from the originary moral idea of the law, but from this subjected mechanism. (Beck. Com. 107.) And be- cause to this dynamic notion co-action, there corre- sponds a formal one, taken from the mathematics pre- viously spoken of, it comes to pass, that what is right, is cogitated and spoken of as we do of right lines, where " rigM" the rectilineal, are opposed to " curves" and ob- liqtie lines. That kind of rightness which is opposed to " curve" is that inward property of a line, whereby it is the


only one possible betwixt two points ; and that Tightness opposed to obliquity takes place where, betwixt two in- tersecting segments, one only perpendicular can be drawn, inclining to neither segment, but dividing equally the in- closed space.

In like manner, law insists that there be rigidly and equally given to every man his own ; a mathematical pre- cision not exigible in the offices of virtue, these last often admitting a certain latitude of application. However, without wandering into the domain of ethics, there are two cases demanding solution, but which no CEdipus seems willing to resolve, and look as if they belonged to the " Intermundia of Epicurus. Such two stumbling- blocks* must forthwith be removed from the domain of jurisprudence proper, lest their uncertainties should be imagined to have any common part with the firm and stable principles of law.



Law, strictly so called, always implied the power to co-act. But people have fancied to themselves law in some broader sense, where the title to co-act is indefinite, and quite indeterminable. Of this kind there have been usurped two sorts, equity and necessity: the former is alleged to be a law which has no co-action, but the lat-

• Viz. Equity and Necessity.


ter is a co-action (necessity) which has no law ; and the difficulty springs from this, that they are cases of opaque law, to decide which, no judge can be constituted.


Equity, considered in itself, does not in any wise ad- dress itself to the ethical duty of another ; for he who vin- dicates his property on this head, stands upon his own right ; but he is unable to assign the data which would empower the judge to decide his cause; for example, a servant who has contracted with his superior for a certain hire, may, at the expiry of his service, come to receive wages in coin greatly depreciated, though nominally the same in value ; and the same would occur in loans, or in any other money-contract, where the debtor holds him- self entitled to exact payment higher in proportion to the depreciation of the currency : but he has no claim in law, and sees himself forced to call on equity for aid, a mute goddess, who returns no response : and unless parties have guarded against contingencies by the specific stipulations of their contract, a judge can give no relief, for he cannot pronounce sentence upon vague and indefinite conditions.

Hence it follows, that a court of equity (in a ques- tion about the rights of man), is a contradiction and ab- surdity. There alone, where the proper rights of the judge are involved, ought he to give ear to the dictates of equity. Thus the crown may equitably take upon itself the losses sustained by others on its behalf, and ought, when called upon to do so, to indemnify the subject ; al- though, in point of law, the crown might urge that the


subject had, at his own risk singly, undertaken its de- fence.

The motto of equity is summum jus sumnia injuria, ex- treme law is extreme injustice; but this inconvenience cannot be remedied by law, although the claim is a claim of right. The other part of ethic alone teaches to deem the rights of man sacred and inviolablp.


This alleged right, is that title which a man is sup- posed to have, of killing another, who has done him no harm, provided he cannot otherwise extricate himself from danger. And here it seems that law is repugnant to itself. For this is not the case of an assassin whom I am allowed to anticipate, by consigning him to death ; but of alleged violence which I am entitled to use against another from whom I have received no wrong.

This assertion, it is plain, does not refer to any given law, but respects the sentence judges must pronounce when such a case of necessity is carried before them ; for there can be no law adjudging death to him who in a case of shipwreck knocks another from an oar, which is barely sufficient to save himself. The punishment threat- ened by the law cannot be made higher than the loss of life, already impending over him. A statute can, there- fore, have no effect in such a crisis ; for the punishment being uncertain, cannot outweigh the dread of death, which is instant and certain. The law sees itself in this way forced to consider violent self-preservation, not as de- void of blame, but as incapable of being punished. And


this impunity, resulting entirely from the accidental na- ture of the case, has been constantly mistaken by jurists for an impunity founded in the nature of the law itself, i, e. the action has been regarded as just and blameless.

The motto of necessity is, necessity has no law. How- ever, there never can be any case, making the unjust and wrong justifiable before the law.


A. Division of juhidical offices.

In this division we may follow Ulpian, by slightly modifying our understanding of his legal formulcB, — a meaning perhaps darkly present to his own mind, and which can be evolved from them with great ease and ele- gance.

1. HoNESTE VIVE — {he an honest man.) — Juridical honesty or uprightness consists in upholding one's per- sonal worth, as a man, against all others, — an obligation capable of being expressed by the following formula : " Suffer thyself not to become the bare mean of others, and if thou serve them, be also their end.^^ This obligation is after- wards explained, as founded on the rights of humanity in a man's own person — (lex justi.)

2. Neminem ^LiEDE — {do no man zvrong) — even though as a consequence thou must abandon all connection with others, and go out of society, — (lex juridiea.)

3. StJUM cuiguE tribue — {give each man his otvn.) —


Understood literally, these words are void of meaning, for that cannot be given to another which he already has. The formula can therefore alone signify, enter with thy fellow-men into that state,— socibty,— where each man's own is defended from the violence of his neighbour— (lex justitise.)

These tlrree classical formulae make up one entire divi- sion of the principles of law, and found a division of ju- ridical obligation into internal — external — and that com- posite obligation, which is constituted by subsuming the second under the principle of the first.

B. Division of rights.

A SYSTEM OF RIGHTS is called LAW, and is either natc- RAL, or statutable and positive. In the first case, law rests entirely on pure principles a priori ; in the lat- ter, it is considered as based on the will of a lawgiver.

2. Right is the ethical faculty or title of obliging another, and is the legal ground on which the latter sort of law is based ; and of such right there are two kinds, ORiGiNARY and DERIVED : the first is that birth-right of man which subsists independently of any legal act ; the second is that which is acquired to him by such an act.

The congenital mine and thine, may be also called the INWARD or intrinsic right, for external rights must always be acquired.



Freedom is the alone unoriginated birth-right of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity ; and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person's free- dom. Subordinate to this supreme idea, and included under it, are the rights, — 1. Of Equality, i. e. the title not to be held bound to others, beyond what they are in their turn bound to ; consequently the right of every one to be HIS OWN MASTER {sui juHs) : 2. The right to be regarded as legally innocent and guiltless, in so far as no one has been injured by his use of his freedom : 3. Lastly, the right to do to every man whatever implies nothing derogatory to that other's rights, as, for example, to exchange one's ideas and opinions with another, to tell or promise somewhat, and that whether true or untrue, whether sincerely or insincerely ; for it is the province of the other to believe or discredit what is said — to ac- cept or decline what is promised.* The reason why this

• To utter a deliberate untruth is in common speech called lying or falsehood ; for it may injure the person to whom it is told, if he good- naturedly repeat it, and so render himself the laughing-stock of others. But, juridically, that alone is falsehood which directly violates the rights of man, e. g. the false narrative of a contract, instituted for the purpose of attaching the property of another. Nor is this distinction between these two kindred conceptions ill-founded ; for, in any statement made by one man to another, it is entirely at the option of this last what weight he will give to what he hears. And yet, to say of any one that he is a man not to be believed, borders so near on the charge that he is a liar, that the line marking out what falls within the domain of law, and what within that of ethics, is all but imperceptible.


division, breaking up the conception freedom into its sub- ordinate parts, has obtained among systems of natural law, is this, that when a question arises as to any derived right, and the question arises on whom the burden lies to prove either the fact, or to establish the law of his case, the party who declines the obligation, and asserts it to be with the other, does in fact appeal to his birth-right, and so declares, that to impute to him an obligation to prove, is inconsistent with some part or other {e. g. equa- lity, innocence) of his character freedom ; and this may be carried through all the diflferent relations into which freedom can specifically enter.

Further, because this birth-right is one and indivisible, the division of rights consists of two members of most unequal dimensions ; and therefore this right is discussed now in the introduction, and the subdivisions of natural law restrained to the external riglits of mine and thine.


I. — All obligations incumbent on man to fulfil, are either juridical, for which outward laws are admissible to co-act their observance, or ethical, where no such legis- lation is conceivable ; and these ethica l offices cannot fall under any outward co-active legislation, because such offices de pend on certain ends and de sig ns which it is t he im per ative d uty of man to p ropo se to himself . But no outward compulsion can give any person certain in-



tentions, for these depend on himself alone ; for even though outward actions can be extorted, tending to that end, still the subject himself may be disinclined to it.

IL — Man, as a subject of obligation, is considered singly with reference to his freedom, which is supersensible, that is, his humanity, in which consists his personality, exempting him from every phenomenal determinator {homo noumenon), and requires to be contradistinguished from himself, as the same person subjected to the condi- tions of time and space {homo phenomenon) ; and these, when applied to those two kinds of offices, resting on the notions right and end, give birth to the following division of all moral science, and is a division founded on the relations subsisting betwixt the law and the matter of obligation.

Offices of perfect or determinate obligation.

^- ^ .




a S



The rights of humani- ty in a man's own person.


1 Juridi- f I cal ] ) offices. (^


The rights of man.


The ends of humanity ) Ethical J The ends of other in one's own person. J offices. (^ men.

c m





Offices of indeterminate obligation.

Besides the above division, the subjects mutually oblig- ing one another may sUmd in different relations, and


these relationships would afford the ground-plan of ano- ther division, according to the relation betwixt the obliger and the obliged.

I. II.

The legal relation betwixt The legal relation of man to

man and beings possessed nei- beings possessed both of rights

ther of rights nor obligations. and subjected to obligation.


For these are irrational be- For that is a relation be- ings, devoid of power to oblige, twixt man and man. and towards whom no obliga- tion can be constituted.


The legal relation subsisting The relation betwixt man

betwixt man and beings, sub- and that being who has rights,

jected to obligations, but de- but is subjected to no duties, void of rights.


For these would be men de- In a system of pure philoso- void of personality (slaves). phy ; for such a being is no ob-

ject of possible experience.

Division of Ethic as a general Si/stem of human Offices or Duties.

Elementology. Methodology.

Juridical offices. Ethical offices. Didactics. Ascetics.

Private Public law. law.

Where we have exhibited at once the materials and the architectonic form of the science.


The law of nature ought not to be divided, as is often done, into natural and social, but into natural and CIVIL OR municipal; the first is called private, the se- cond public law; for to the state of nature, not social institutions, but the civil or municipal, are to be oppos- ed. In the state of nature, society need not be awant- ing, but only that civil society, securing by public in- stitutions the rights of man ; and that is the reason why the NATURAL is called private law {Jus privatum).

  • * * *

After this follows a course of theoretic law, which omitting, we arrive at ethics or morals strictly so called.




Ethics signified of old the whole of moral philosophy in general, and this was also called the system of the offices (de officiis). But, in modern times, the name ethics came to be confined to that part of moral philosophy which treats of duties not cognisable by an external and positive legislation. Whence it has come that the general system of the offices falls into jurisprudence treatingof law ex- ternal ; and into morals, which is independent on any outward legislation. But in the present translation we follow Kant, and have restored the word ethic to that sig- nification in which it was originally taken by the sages of antiquity, as comprehending both law and morals.


The notion duty implies, in the very essence of it, the farther notion necessitation, i. e. co-action exercised by the law upon the choice ; and this co-action may be either fo- reign or proper (self-command). The ethical imperative announced by its categorical behest (an absolutely uncon- ditioned shall), this co-action, which, however, cannot be extended to all Intelligents whatsoever (for of these some


may be " hjoly'^) ; but is valid for mankind only, as phy- sical beings endowed with reason, who are unholy* enough to be seduced into the transgression of the law, even while they recognise and acknowledge its authority, and, when they do obey it, obey unwillingly (i. e. by withstand- ing inclination) ; in which point indeed self-co-action properly consists. But since man is at the same time a free (moral) agent, the notion " duty" can involve no more than self-co-action {i. e. by the naked representation of the law), at least when regard is had to the inward mobile of the will ; for, if the case were otherwise, it would be impossible to reconcile any such co-action with man's liberty of choice. But where the constraint is in- ward, the notion " duty" comes within the sphere of morals.

The instincts of man's physical nature give birth to obstacles which hinder and impede him in the execution of his duty. They are in fact mighty opposing forces, which he has to go forth and encounter j these he must

  • And yet man, as a moral beinj^, does, when he considers himself ob-

jectively, and beholds in an intellectual apprehension the destiny whi- therward his reason calls him, deem himself enough holy, to violate his law only unwillingly and with compunction : nor can there exist any one so irrecoverably far gone and decayed in ethical apostacy, as not to feel, in any instance of transgression, an inward warfare and self-dislike, against which he is compelled to struggle. This strange spectacle, and that mankind should at this conjuncture (where the fable represents Hercules betwixt virtue and voluptuousness) give ear rather to bis ap- petites than to the law, is quite inexplicable ; for we can explain events only by assigning a cause agreeably to the laws regulating the mecha- nism of the physical system ; and were we to do so here, then were the will not free. Whereas it is just this double and contrary self-co-action, and ITS iNEviTABiLiTV, that first of all reveals to mankind that amaz- ing quality of his nature, moral freedom.


deem himself able to overcome by his reason, and that not at some future period, but even now, — not bit-by-bit, but to beat all down at one single blow. He must judge that he can, what things soever the law ordains that he OUGHT and should.

• But the consciousness of the power, and the predeter- minate resolve, to withstand a strong and unjust enemy, is VALOUR ; and, in regard of that which opposes the advance- ment of the moral sentiments within us, moral valour, i. e. virtue. Whence it has resulted, that the general system of the offices is, in that part which brings not the outward but the inward freedom under control, a doctrine or the- ory of virtue.

Jurisprudence treated singly of the formal conditions of man's outward freedom (viz. that freedom should re- main consistent with itself, in the event of its maxims being elevated to the rank of law universal), i. e. it inves- tigated law only. But ethic objects a matter to man's free choice, AN END given by pure reason for him to aim at, and which is represented as an objectively-necessary end, and so, consequently, as a " duty." For since the a ppe- tites and instincts of the senso ry mislead the will t o ends siibye rsj ve of moralit y, legislative reason can in no other manner guard against their inroad, than by objecting to the will an opposite and contrary and moral end, given in- dependently of the sensory, and so a priori.

An end is the object of the choice of a reasonable being; by the representation of which, the Intelligent is de- termined to an act tending to obtain and realize such ob- ject. Now, it is undoubted that I may be forced to act 80 as to be merely an instrumental towards some ulterior and foreign end ; but I never can in any event be con-



strained to object to myself my end. I alone can assign and fix to myself the end I will to aim at. But, on the hypothesis that I stand under an obligation to consti- tute, as my end, somewhat objected by reason to my intel- lectual regards, that is, that I ought, over and above the formal determination of will (treated of in law), to super- add to it a material deter minator, i. e. an end, contrary and opposed to the ends brought forth by sensitive excite- ment ; then there emerges the notion of an end, which is in itself a ground of duty ; and the doctrine of such an end cannot fall under the sphere of law, but it belongs to morals, which alone involve in their very notion that of self-co-action, according to ethic laws.

Upon this account ethics may, in this part, be defined to be THE SYSTEM OF THE ENDS of pure practical reason. Physical co-action and self-co-action mark or determine the boundary obtaining betwixt law and morals, the two grand stems of the science of ethics ; and that ethics must comprehend duty, to observe which, no one can be con- strained physically by others, is just a corollary from the position, that it is a doctrine of the ends of reason ; it being absurd to talk of force, when question is made of the practical autonomy of the agent himself.

Again, that ethics is a doctrine of the offices of virtue, results from the definition given above of virtue, taken in conjunction with that peculiar obligation, the nature of which has just been stated. In fact, there is no other de- termination of will, except the determination and design to adopt an end, which carries already in the very notion of it, that the person cannot be co-acted to it physically by the will of another. No doubt another person may force me to do what is contrary to my own design, and


such deed may be a mere mean or instrumental toward gaining the ends of that other person ; but this he cannot force me to, that I should make his ends ray own ; and it is clear, that no end can be mine, unless I make it so by proposing it to myself. Indeed, an end imposed by any other would be a contradiction — an act of freedom devoid of liberty ; but there is no contradiction in designing an end, to have which end is the person's duty ; for here I co- act myself, and this is quite consistent with my freedom. But now the question arises, how is such an end pos- sible ? for the logical possibility of the notion of a thing, is insufficient to enable us to conclude upon the objective reality of the thing itself.



The rela ti on of an end to d uty jmay be cogitate d in a twofold manner : either begi nning with th e end to as sign the maxiD a_fl£.actionsJ n harm ony with duty, or beginning with_the maxi m to determin ejhat_e nd, which it is a duty incumbent on mankind to propose to himsel f. Jurispru- dence advances by the first method. Every one is free to give his actions what end he will, but the principle regu- lating the causality of the will is fixed a priori, viz. that the freedom of the agent must be exercised in such a man- ner as to consist with the freedom of every other person, conformably to law universal.

But morals strike into an opposite march : here we can- not commence with the ends mankind may design, and from them determine and statute the maxims he has to


take, i. e. statute the duty he has to follow ; for in this latter event, the grounds of his maxims would be experi- mental, which we know beget no obligation, the idea duty and its c at egorical imperative taking t h eir rise in pure reason_only. Nor could we indeed even talk of duty, were the will's inward principles based on tentative and expe- rimental ends, these being all selfish and egotistical. In this branch of ethics, then, the idea obligation must guide to ends which we ought to aim at, and constitute maxims pointing to those ends conformably to ethic laws.

Postponing for the present the investigation into what these ends are which mankind ought to propose to him- self, and how such ends come to be possible, we must re- mark, that a material duty of this kind is called a moral duty or virtuous oifice ; and it may be requisite to state upon what accounts it is so.

To every duty there corresponds a right, considered as a TITLE in general ; but every duty does not import that the other has a right (a legal title) juridically to co-act the execution of duty from the obliged ; but where duties are coercible, they are, strictly speaking, legal duties (duty- in-law). Exactly in the same way, to every obligation there corresponds the notion virtue ; but every ethic duty is not upon that account one of the offices of virtue : that obligation, for instance, is not, which abstracts from all given ends, and regards the bare formal of the will's deter- mination, viz. that the incumbent action be performed out of regard had to duty. It is only in the case where an action is at once both an end and a duty, that a virtuous ofiice can be constituted ; of this latter sort there may be several, and so different virtues ; whereas of the former, as there can be but one ethical obligement, so only one


fluty, i. e. one virtuous sentiment extending to all actions, of wliatever kind.

Farther, another essential distinction obtaining betwixt juridical and moral obligements is, that the former are coercible, whereas the latter depend singly upon free self- co-action. Farther, for finite holy beings (incapable of being tempted to swerve from duty), there can be no doc- trine of virtue, but a science of ethics singly, which is an autonomy of practical reason ; whereas a system of virtues treats not only the autonomy, but also, at the same time, of the AUTOKRATY of the will, i. e. is a doctrine of the force reason has to vanquish and beat down all the appe- tites which oppose the execution of the law. A force not, indeed, immediately given in an intuition, but rightly in- ferred from the categorical imperative. Whence it results, that man's morality is, at its highest grade, nothing more than VIRTUE, even admitting that such morality were al- together pure {i. e. defecated thoroughly from every ad- mixture of foreign springs) ; a state and tone of soul which fancy has impersonated in the character of the sage, an IDEAL whitherwards mankind ought in unremitting pro- gression to advance.

Nor can virtue be explained to be a habit, as Cochins has done in his prize essay, where he treats of it as an apti- tude in morally good actions, acquired by long-continued custom ; for when such use and wont is not effectuated by stable, firm, and ever more and more clarified first principles, then is the habitude, — like any other mechan- ism brought about by technical reason, — neither fortified against all assailants, nor has it any guard against the sudden fits and starts new enticements and unforeseen circumstances may occasion.


Remark. — To virtue = ^ «, is opposed non-virtue (moral weakness) = 0, as its logical antipart ; but vice = — a, as its real antagonist. And it is a question not only devoid of mean- ing, but even offensive, to inquire if great crimes may not de- mand and display more strength of soul than even great virtues ; for by strength of soul we understand the stedfastness of man's will, as a being endowed with freedom, i. e. in so far as he is in a healthy state of intellect, and retains his command over him- self. Great crimes are on the contrary paroxysms, at whose as- pect the sane part of mankind stand aghast. In fine, this sort of question may be compared to the question, whether a person may not have greater physical power in a fit of frenzy than when in his right wits ; and this question may be answered in the af- firmative, without allowing him upon that account to be possess- ed of greater strength of soul : for, as crimes take their rise from the inverted domination of the passions and appetites over rea- son, where no strength of soul is at all conceivable, this ques- tion is like asking if a man in a fever may not exhibit more strength than when in health, which may unhesitatingly be de- nied, because the want of health, which last consists in the due equilibrium and adjustment of all a man's bodily powers, is a weakening of the system of his forces, according to which sys- tem only, it is, however, that we can state any estimate of his absolute health.


End is an object of free choice, which determines itself by the representation of this object to an action, whereby this end is brought forth. Every action has consequent- ly its own end j and since no one can design an end ex-


cept by HIMSELF constituting the object chosen his end, it results that man's aiming at any particular end is an act of his own freedom, and no effect operated by constitutional mechanism of his system. But because an act, fixing an end, is a practical principle, ordaining not a means (which were a hypothetical commandment), but the end itself (». €. unconditionally), it follows that there is a categorical imperative of pure practical reason, connecting the idea duty with that of an end in general.

That there must be such an end, and a categorical im- perative corresponding to it, is apparent from this, that where there are free actions, there must also be ends, whitherwards they tend, as their object ; and among these ends, there must be some, whereof it is of the very essence to be duties. For were none such given, then, because no action can be aimless, would every end be only valid in the eye of reason as a means instrumental and conducive towards some farther end, and a categorical imperative would be impossible ; a position which would overthrow all ethics.

Accordingly we do not here treat of ends which man- kind proposes to himself by force of the physical instincts of his system, but of such ends as he ought to aim at. The former might be found a technical (subjective) doc- trine of ends, and would contain the dictates of prudence in choosing one's ends ; but the latter must be called the ethical (objective) doctrine of ends, a distinction which we do not insist upon, because the science of ethics is in its very notion contradistinguished from anthropology, the latter rising upon experimental principles, the former again, i. e. the ethical doctrine of ends, treating of duties bottomed upon a priori principles of pure practical reason.




Such ends are one's own perfection, — our neigh- bour's HAPPINESS.

These ends cannot be inverted, and we cannot state as such, — one's own happiness, — our neighbour's perfection.

For his own happiness is an end wliich all mankind has by force of the physical constitution of his system, conse- quently this end cannot be regarded as a duty, without stating a contradiction. What every one inevitably wills, cannot fall under the notion duty, duty importing neces- siTATiON to an end unwillingly adopted. So that it is a contradiction to say a man is obliged to advance his own happiness with all his might.

And there is the like contradiction in saying that we ought to design the perfection of another, and to hold our- selves obliged to further it ; for the perfectness of another, when considered as a person, consists in this, that he can impose upon himself his own end, agreeably to his own un- derstanding of his duty ; and it is a repugnancy to impose on me as a duty, the doing that which singly the other person can accomplish.


A. Owe's Own Perfection.

The word perfection is open to many an interpreta- tion. Thus, when used in ontology, perfection denotes


tlie TOTALITY of the multifarious, which, taken together, do in the aggregate compose one thing. Then, again, when used in teleology, it is so understood as to signify the exact PROPORTiONATENESS OF ME ANS TO ENDS. Perfec- tion, taken in the first sense, might be called quantita- tive, in the second qualitative {formal). The material and quantitative perfection is one only (for the total of the parts of any what is one whole) ; but of the formal there may be many sorts in the same thing, and it is of this lag t jlone that we here treat.

When it is said that the perfecting of his nature is an end which it is man's duty to propose to himself, this per- fection must be placed in that which is the effect of his own activity, not any gift of nature, upon which account this duty can be nothing else than the culture of his na- tural faculties, the principal whereof is the understanding, as the power of dealing with notions and ideas, among others with the ideas of duty ; and then, next, of his will to discharge all his duty.

It is then a duty incumbent upon mankind, — I. To de- velope himself more and more from the animal characters stamped upon him by his brute nature, and to advance and evolve his humanity, which alone renders him capable of designing any what as his end. He ought to strip off his ignorance, by learning to correct and renounce his errors ; and this is not a counsel given him by technically PRACTICAL reason, but ethico-active reason ordains it unconditionally, in order that he may be worthy of the humanity he represents.

II. To clarify, and to carry the culture of his will to the purest grade of ethic sentiment, a state and tone of soul where the law itself is the immediate mobile of the



will, and where duty is discharged because it is so. And THIS STATE AND TONE OF SOUL is an in Ward ethical per- fection, and is ca lled the moral sense, because it is a feel- mg of t he effect wro ught by legi slative reas on upon man's Wti vepower of conforming to the law ^ And although this feeling has been too often fanatically abused, as if it were a peculiar emo tion a.stir in the min d antecedently to reason, and able (like the genius of Socrates) to dispense with her tardy determinations, it is notwithstanding an ethical accomplishment, enabling mankind to make every end his own, when that end is also his duty.

B. My Neighbour's Happiness.

Happiness, i. e. contentment and satisfaction with one's external lot, in so far as its permanence is secured, is the inevitable desire and wish of every human nature ; but it is not upon that account an end affording the groundwork of any duty. Again, since a distinction has been made by some, betwixt what they term physical and moral hap- piness, whereof the former is stated to consist in man's enjoyment and acquiescence in the goods and bounties bestowed on him, in free gift, by nature, but the latter in his own self-contentment and acquiescence in his own ethical deportment, it is needful for me to remark (omit- ting all censure of the misuse of such terms, which inclose a contradiction) that the latter kind of state belongs to the other head, that of perfection ; for he who is to be happy in the bare consciousness of his honesty, possesses that very perfection treated of in the former title, as that end which it was man's duty to puisue.

That happiness, then, which it is my end and my duty


to further, can be the happiness of another singly,


What others may deem most conducive to their interests and happiness, rests upon their determination ; it stands, however, always at my option to decline the pursuit of ends, others would willingly obtain, if I hold them hurtful and pernicious. But to resist or evade this virtuous office of beneficence, by alleging a pretended obligation incum- bent on me to study my own physical happiness, is in plain fact just to convert my private and subjective end into an objective one ; and yet such pretended obligation has repeatedly been urged as an objection to the forego- ing division of duties (No. IV.) : the objection is merely plausible and apparent, and the following remark may serve to clear the matter up.

Grief, poverty, want, and pain, are unquestionably mighty temptations to the transgression of one's duty ; and hence it seems as if wealth, strength, health, which keep out the inroad of the first, were ends incumbent on man-> kind to pursue, i. e, it looks very like as if it were his duty to advance and study his own interests as much as those of others. But what is overlooked, is this, that in such event a man's general welfare is not the end aimed at, but is no more than a means allowed as instrumental towards remo\ang the obstacles which might stand in the way of the person's own morality; and this last it is^ which is the true and real end of his exertions, and must needs be permitted, no one having a right to demand that I should sacrifice for him, my proper end. To acquire wealth is thence directly and in itself no duty ; but indi- rectly it may become so, viz. in order to guard against poverty, and that wretchedness which might come accom-


panied by vice. But then it is not my happiness, but my morality, which, to uphold in its integrity, is at once my end and my duty.



The notion duty relates immediately to law, even when I abstract from every end which might become the matter of it. This, indeed, was indicated by the supreme formal principle of ethics expressed in the categorical imperative,

  • ' So act that the maxim of thy conduct might be announ-

ced as law universal." But in this part of ethics, this for- mula denotes the law of thy own special individual will, not the law emanating from will in genere ; in which latter case there would be room for the will of some other person, and the duty resulting from it would be a juridical obligation, and so fall beyond the domain of morals. In this part of ethics the maxims are regarded as such sub- jective principles as are not unfit to be elevated to the rank of law in a system of universal moral legislation ; but this gives them only a negative character,* viz. not to be repugnant to law in genere. The question, therefore, is, how can there be a law ordaining positive maxims of conduct ?

The notion of an end in itself a duty — peculiar to this

• Duty is a negative conception only, i. e. it expresses that the will is limited to the condition of not being repugnant to a potential legislation universal ; but since no will can be devoid of ends, the assigning of an end a priori, upon grounds of practical reason, is the ordaining of a max- im to act towards such end. T.


branch of ethics — is what founds a law commanding max- ims of conduct, by subordinating the ends which all man- kind have to the objective ends which all mankind ought to have. The imperative, thou shalt make to thyself, this or that, thy end, points to the matter (the object) of choice : and since no free action is possible, where the agent does not design by it some end as the object chosen, a maxim tending to such end need only be fit for law universal ; whereas, if that end be in itself a duty, such end-duty would found a law ordaining me to adopt the maxim ta- ken from and belonging to it. For man's practical max- ims may be adopted arbitrarily, and it is always in his option to execute them or not, they being no otherwise fettered than by standing under the restrictive condition of being fit for law universal, this being the formal prin- ciple regulating the whole conduct of life. But a law takes away the whole optional part of action, and so dif- fers widely from all expediential dictates, which counsel what means conduce best to certain ends.



This position is a corollary from the foregoing (No. VI.) ; for where the law ordains not the action, but its maxim only, that implies that it leaves to free choice a latitude in the execution of it, that is to say, that the law does not rigidly determine, how much ought to be done toward the end which is our duty, but an indeterminate obliga- tion must not be so understood as if it left a space open


for exceptions from the maxim itself; it means only our title to limit one rule of duty by another (e. g. to limit the general social duty by the fraternal or filial), which vir- tually enlarges the field for the practical exercise of vir- tue. The more an obligation is extensive, the more in- determinate is the person's obligement to act ; neverthe- less, the more he narrows the maxim of its observance, so as to make it approach to the nature of a strict and forensic obligation, the more complete is the virtue of his conduct.

Duties of indeterminate obligation are therefore the only offices of virtue. To discharge them is merit = + a ; their transgression is not straightway guilt = — fl, but simply moral un worth = 0. Unless, indeed, the person omitted upon system the observance of these duties. Stedfastness of purpose in carrying the first of these into action, is what is properly styled virtue. Weak- ness in the second is not so much vice, as rather non- virtue, t. e. want of moral strength (defectus moralis). Every action repugnant to duty is transgression ; but deliberate transgression, done upon system, is that only -which properly is to be termed vice.

Although the conformity of a man's actions to the law is nothing meritorious, yet to observe one's juridical obliga- tions as duties is ; i. e. reverence for the rights of man- kind is meritorious, for hereby a person makes the rights of man his end, and so extends his notion of obli- gation beyond that of mere debt (officium debiti). Another may, in consequence of his rights, demand from me ac- tions tallying with the law, but he cannot likewise insist that the representation of the law should itself be the


ground determining my will to action. A similar remark holds good of that more general ethic precept, Act duteotis- ly out of regard had to duty. To engrave such a sentiment deep in one's heart, and often to revivify its impression, is MERITORIOUS, for it goes beyond the mere act incumbent to be done, and makes the law itself the spring of con- duct.

Upon the same account, those duties must be reckoned as of indeterminate obligation, which are observed to be attended by an inward ethical reward ; or rather, to bring the parallel yet nearer to the case of forensic obliga- tions, — followed by a susceptibility for such rewards ac- cording to the moral law : viz. a susceptibility for an ethi- cal complacency, surpassing the mere simple self-appro- bation (which is only negative) consequent on the fulfil- ment of the law; and this complacency it is, which is meant, when it is said that virtue is by such a conscious- ness her own reward.

This merit, which a man may have in regard of his kind, by advancing their common and known ends, and so making their happiness constitute his^ may be called a SWEET MERIT, and the consciousness of it brings forth an ethical delight, at which ecstatic banquet others may even sympathetically feast. Whereas the bitter merit of advancing the true weal of the ignorant and unthankful, has in general no such re-action, and brings forth no more than self-approbation, although this last is in such a case likely to be more pure and more exalted.



1. My otvn Perfection, as End and Duty.

A. Physical perfection, i. e. culture of all our faculties in general, in order to attain the ends objected to us by rea- son. That this is our duty, and an end of our being, and that this culture rises on an unconditionate imperative, independently of any advantages to which such culture may perhaps conduce, may appear from what follows. The ability to propose to one's self an end, is the charac- teristic of humanity, and distinguishes it from his brute nature. Along with the ends of the humanity subsisting in our person, goes hand in hand the rational will, and together with that, the obligation to make one's self well- deserving of mankind by general culture, in carrying to higher and higher degrees of perfection the powers in- trusted to him, i. e. to develope the latent energies dor- mant in the unhewn substratum of his nature, whereby the brute animal is first of all changed and transformed into the man ; all which is in itself an imperative duty.

But this duty is simply moral, i. e. of indeterminate ob- ligation : how far any one ought to carry the improvement and the progression of his faculties, is left undetermined by reason. Besides, the difference of occasions and cir- cumstances one may come into, renders quite arbitrary the choice of the kind of calling to which he will de- vote his talent; so that there can be no commandment of reason ordaining given actions, but ordaining only a maxim regulative of conduct; the tenor of which prin-


ciple may be thus conceived : " Evolve betimes thy cor- poreal and mental faculties, that thou mayest be fitted for any kind of ends, it being uncertain which of them may come one day to be adopted by thee."

B, Ethical perfection. The highest grade of ethical perfection possible to be attained by man, is to discharge his duty because it is so ; where the law is at once the rule and the mobile of the will. Now, at first sight, it seems as if this were a strict obligation, and that the su- preme principle of duty called, not only for the legality, but likewise for the morality of every act, and that it must do so with the whole rigour and severity of law. But, in fact, the law concerns itself only with the maxims of conduct, and ordains man to seek the ground of his prac- tical maxims in the law itself, not in any sensitive in- stiiict or by-views and ends of prejudice and advantage. No individual act, then, is specially ordained. Besides, it is impossible for any one so to behold or fathom the abysses of his heart, as to become fully convinced of the purity of his moral intentions, and of his sincerity, even in one single act, however clear he may be as to its lega- lity. Imbecility, oftener than any other cause, deters a man from the hardihood of crime, and so passes with him for VIRTUE, which, however, implies a certain grade of -^ strength. > And how many may there be who have long lived lives blameless and unrebukeable, who are, after all, only lucky in having escaped temptation ? How much ethical content may belong to any action, cannot be ex- plored even by themselves.

We infer, then, that the duty of estimating the worth of one's actions, not legally simply, but likewise according to their morality, is one of indeterminate obligation;


that, in other words, the law does not ordain any such inward mental act, but merely that it ought to be our maxim, to endeavour, by unremitted assiduity, to make the consciousness of duty sufficient by itself to stir the will to action.

2. My Neighhcmr's Happiness^ as End and Dvtj/.

A. Physical well-being. General benevolence may be unlimited, for in all this nothing need be done ; but the case is different when we come to beneficence, more espe- cially when actions have to be performed, not out of love to others, but out of duty, with the mortification and sa- crifice of our own ends. That this beneficence is duty, re- sults from this, \st, That, because our self-love goes in- separably linked hand in hand with the appetite to be loved by others, and, in case of need, to be assisted by them ; a state of things in which we make ourselves the end of others: and, 2d, That since a maxim of this kind can only have ethical virtue to oblige the will of others, when it is potentially fitted for law universal, it follows, that we must state others as the ends of our will, in adopt- ing our maxims of practical conduct ; i. e. the happiness of others is an end incumbent on us as a duty.

It is my duty, then, to yield a part of my well-being, in sacrifice for others, without hoping any indemnity, be- cause it is my duty; and it is impossible to assign definite boundaries, whither and how far this duty shall extend. Its extent will always rest on the peculiar wants of each, and these wants and needs each particular must deter- mine for himself. Nor can it, in any event, be expected


that I should abandon my own real happiness and proper needs, in order to study that of another ; for a maxim containing such a rule would be found repugnant to it- self, if elevated to the rank of law universal. This duty, then, is indeterminate only, and there is a latitude of doing more or less towards discharging it. The law em- braces the maxim singly, — it cannot be extended to spe- cial actions.

B. The moral welfare of our neighbour, is no doubt an integral part of his general felicity (prosperity), and it is incumbent on us to promote it ; but this obligation begets a negative duty only. The compunction a man feels from the stings of conscience, is, although of ethical ori- ginal, yet physical in its results, just like grief, fear, and every other sickly habitude of mind. To take heed, that no one fall under his own contempt, cannot indeed be my duty, for that exclusively is his concern. However, I ought to do nothing which I know may, from the consti- tution of our nature, become a temptation, seducing others to deeds, conscience may afterwards condemn them for. There are, however, no limits assignable, within which our care of the moral tranquillity of our neighbour is to range; the obligation consequently is indeterminate.


Virtue is the strength of the human will in the execu- tion of duty. All strength is ascertained singly by the obstacles it is able to overcome. Virtue has to combat against the physical instincts of our system, when these thwart and collide with man's ethical resolves. And be-


cause it is the person himself who lays these impediments in the way of his own maxims, virtue is not only a self- co-action (for then one physical instinct might wage war upon another), but a command conducted upon a principle of inward freedom ; that is, a self-co-action, by force of the naked idea duty, and the law.

Every duty, of whatever kind, involves the notion of necessitation by law ; and the moral, that necessitation which an inward legislation can alone effect ; but the ju- ridical, one possible also by an external and foreign legis- lation. Either kind imports the notion of a co-active power, and this co-action may be proper or foreign. The ethical force of the former is virtue ; and the action rising upon such a sentiment (reverence for law) may be fitly termed an act of virtue, even although the law should an- nounce a juridical duty only; for morals alone teach to keep inviolate the rights of mankind.

But that, the practice whereof, is virtue, is not upon that account one of the offices of virtue — in the proper sense of the words — the first referring to the formal of the maxims, the second to their matter — that is, to an end which is cogitated as duty. But because the ethical oblige- ment to ends, whereof there may be several, is indefi- nite,— the law ordaining a rule of deportment only, — it results that there may be (differing with the nature of the legitimate ends they tend to) several different duties, which may all be called duties in morality, or offices of virtue, because they are subjected to voluntary self-co-ac- tion only, are unsusceptible of coercive measures from without, and spring from ends which are in themselves


Virtue, considered as the will's unshaken constancy in


adhering to tlie decrees of duty, can, like every formal, be only one, identic, and always the same with itself; but in respect of the incumbent ends of action, i. e. the ma- terials man has to work upon, there may be several vir- tues ; and since the obligement to adopt maxims or rules of life, resting on such materials, was called a moral duty, or virtuous office, it follows that the offices of virtue may be several and distinct.

The supreme principle of this division of ethics there- fore is, " Adopt such ends in thy maxims as may he made imperative on all mankind to design." By force of this principle, each man is stated as his own and every other's end; and it is now not enough to abstain from employing them or himself as means to his own end, — a ease which would leave him quite indifferent to his fellows, — but he is beholden to make all mankind his end.

This position in morals admits, being a categorical im- perative, of no proof; but some account may be given of it, i. e. a deduction from the nature of pure practical rea- son itself. What thing soever stands so related to huma- nity, one's self or others, as possibly to be an end, must be declared an end, reason being judge; for pi-actical rea- son is the power of designing ends, and to assert that rea- son were indifferent in regard of any such, i. e. to main- tain that reason took no interest in them, is an absurdity ; for then reason would miss of her function in determin- ing the maxims and rules of life, which maxims rest al- ways on an end ; that is, in other words, would be no practical reason at all. But when pure reason announces any end a priori^ it announces at the same time that end as a duty incumbent on all mankind ; and this is the kind of duty termed a virtuous office or moral duty.




It was evinced in law, that the outward co-active power, so far forth as it withstands whatever would let and hinder the mutual freedom of the subject, could be made consist- ent with ends in general ; and that this position holds good, results from the principle of contradiction. I need not quit the idea freedom, but need only to evolve the principle analytically out of it, while the end each per- son may propose to himself may be what it will ; so then the supreme principle of law was analytical.

On the contrary, the principle of morals goes out of and beyond the notion of external freedom, and conjoins with it, conformably to law universal, an end which it constitutes a duty ; and this principle is synthetic : the possibility of the synthesis of the notions contained in it is explored in the deduction at the close of No. IX.

This extension of the notion duty beyond that of out- ward liberty, and the limiting of this last to the bare for- mal condition of constantly harmonizing with every other person's freedom, depends upon the fact, that here ends are drawn into consideration from which law altogether abstracts, and inward freedom put in room of outward co-action : and the power of self-command not by force of other instincts, but by force of pure practical reason, which disdains all such intermediaries.

To constitute the juridical imperative ; the law, the power to execute it, and the will regulating the maxims, were the elements required. But whoso prescribes to himself a moral duty, has, over and above the notion of his


self-co-action, the farther notion of an end, not which he already has, but which he ought to have ; which end, there- fore, goes hand in hand with practical reason, whose last, chief, and unconditioned end (which, however, never ceases to be duty) consists in this : that virtue is its own end, and is, by its own good-desert, its own reward. By all which, virtue so shines, that it seems even to eclipse the lustre of holiness itself, which cannot so much as be solicited to swerve from the law. This, however, is a deception, and arises in this manner, that, owing to our having no stan- dard whereby to measure the grade of a strength except the magnitude of the obstacles (in us the appetites and instincts of the sensory) it has been able to subdue and overcome, we are led into the mistake of holding the sub- jective conditions, whereby we estimate a force, tanta- mount to the objective grounds of the force itself. But when virtue is compared with other human ends, each of which may have its own several obstacles to overcome, it is quite true that the inward worth of virtue, as its own end, far outweighs the value of all utilitarian and experi- mental ends, which last may notwithstanding go hand-in- hand with it.

It is quite a correct expression to say, that man is un- der an obligement to virtue, as ethic strength; for although the power of mastering every opposing excitement of the sensory may, and indeed must, be absolutely postulated — the will's causality being free — nevertheless this power is in its strength (robur) a matter of acquisition, viz. where the force of the ethical spring has been advanced by the contemplation of the dignity of our pure rational law, and at the same time by unremittingly carrying its decrees into execution.


XI, — A table of all moral duties may, agreeably to what]^has been just advanced, be drawn out in the follow- ing manner : —

The matter of moral duty.

3 o


I. II.

My own end, which is Other's ends, to advance

likewise my duty. which, is my duty.

(The perfecting of my (My neighbour's happi-

nature.) ness.)


The law, which is likewise The end, which is the de- the mobile of action. terminator of the will

to act. Whereon depends all the Whereon depends all the morality legality

Of all free determination of will.

The formal of duty.



There are such ethical predispositions, that where a man has them not, neither can he be obliged to acquire them. These are, (1), the moral sense; (2), conscience; (3), love of our neighbour ; and (4), reverence for one's self. There can exist no obligation to endeavour to ac- quire these, because they are subjective conditions of man's susceptibility for ethical conceptions, not objective grounds of morality. They are every one of them aesthe-


tical, and given antecedently in the mind, as natural pre- dispositions, fitting man for becoming a partaker of ethic notions, — predispositions given and subsisting in the sub- stratum of his person, which therefore cannot be said to be any one's duty to acquire : for it is first of all by these that he is rendered the subject of ethical obligement. Man's consciousness of them is not originated by expe- rience and observation, but they must be deemed the effects of the moral law itself, upon the mind.

A. The moral sense. This feeling is the susceptibility for pleasure or displacency, upon the bare consciousness of the harmony or of the discrepancy of our actions with the law. All determination of choice whatsoever begins with the representation of the intended act, and passes through the feeling of pleasure or pain, by taking an in- terest in the act, or its ulterior end, and so becomes event ; and this internal determination of the sensory (liking or disliking) is either a pathognomic or an ethical emotion : the former is that sensation of pleasure which may exist antecedently to the representation of the law ; the latter is that complacency, brought forth by its representation, and which can only follow after it.

Now there can be no duty either to have or to acquire any such feeling ; for all consciousness of obligation pre- supposes it, and, apart from it, no man could feel the ne- cessitation accompanying the idea duty ; and every one must, as a moral being, have such originarily within him : an obligement in regard to it can only ordain, that this sensible effect of the law be cultivated and invigorated by the admiration of its unknown and inscrutable original, which can be effected by showing that this emotion, when defecated from all admixture of pathognomic at-


tractions, is then most enlivened by the naked energies of reason.

No man is destitute of this feeling ; and were he de- prived of all capacity for being thus affected, he would be ethically dead; and when, to speak in medical language, his moral vitality could no longer stimulate this feeling, then would his humanity be decomposed, and resolved into his animality, and he could not be distinguished from the common herd of brute natures. We have no specific and individual sense of moral good and evil, any more than we have a sense of truth, although such expressions are not unfrequently employed ; but we have an original susceptibility for having our free choice impelled by pure practical reason and her law ; and this it is which is termed the moral feeling.

B. Of conscience. Conscience is original, and no ad- ditamentum to our person ; and there can be no duty to procure one ; but every man has, as a moral being, a con- science. To be obliged to have a conscience, would be tantamount to saying, man stands under the obligation of acknowledging that he is obliged. Conscience is man's practical reason, which does, in all circumstances, hold before him his law of duty, in order to absolve or to con- demn him. It has accordingly no objective import ; and refers only to the subject, affecting his moral sense by its own intrinsic action. The phenomenon of conscience is accordingly an inevitable event, and no obligement or duty ; and when it is said in common parlance, that such an one has no conscience, that means merely that he dis- regards its dictates ; for had he none in real fact, then he could impute to himself no action, as either conform or


repugnant to the law, and so would be unable even to co- gitate to himself the duty of having conscience.

Omitting all the various divisions of conscience, I re- mark merely, that an erring conscience is a chimera ; for although, in the objective judgment, whether or not any thing be a duty, mankind may very easily go wrong, — yet, subjectively, whether I have compared an action with my practical (here judiciary) reason, for the behoof of such objective judgment, does not admit of any mis- take ; and if there were any, then would no practical judg- ment have been pronounced — a case excluding alike the possibility of error or of truth. He who knows within himself, that he has conducted himself agreeably to his conscience, has done all that can be demanded of him, relatively to guilt or innocence. His obligement can ex- tend only to the illuminating his understanding, as to what things are duty, what not. But when it comes to the act, or when a man has acted, conscience speaks in- evitably. We cannot, for these reasons, say that man ought to obey his conscience ; a case where he would re- quire a supplemental conscience to control, and take cog- nizance of the acts of the first.

The only duty there is here room for, is to cultivate one's conscience, and to quicken the attention due to the voice of a man's inward monitor, and to strain every ex- ertion {i. e. indirectly a duty) to procure obedience to what he says.

C. Love of our neighbour. Love is an affair of senti- ment, not of will ; and I cannot love when I will, and %i\\\ \qs,b when I ought. A duty to love is therefore chi- merical. Benevolence, however, considered as practical, may very well stand under a law of duty. Sometimes


disinterested wishes for the good of our neighbour is called love ; but this is improper. Sometimes even when the welfare of the other person is not concern- ed, but when we devotedly surrender all our ends to the ends of another (superhuman even), love is talked of, and said to be our duty; but all duty is necessitation, i. e. co-action, even where it is self-co-action, conform- ably to a law ; but whatsoever is done by constraint and co-action, that is not performed out of love.

Acting beneficently to our fellows, according to our ability, is our duty, and that, too, whether we love them or not ; and this duty loses nothing of its importance, even although we are forced to make the sad remark that our species is but little amiable when we come to know them better. Misanthropy is, however, at all times hateful, even when, shunning hostile actions, it merely induces the man-hater to isolate and separate himself from com- merce with his kind. Beneficence is at all times incum- bent upon us as a duty, even toward a misanthrope, whom we cannot assuredly love, but towards whom we can deal kindly.

To hate the vices of other people is neither our duty nor the reverse, but simply the feeling of detestation for them ; a sentiment unrelated, and standing in no connec- tion to the will, and vice versa. Beneficence is a duty : he who is often engaged in the discharge of this duty, and beholds the success of his beneficent designs, comes in the end to love him whom he has benefited. When, there- fore, it is said, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, that is not to be understood, thou shalt first love thy neighbour, and then by means of this love, act kindly to- wards him; but, contrariwise, do good to thy fellow men,


and this beneficence will work in thee philanthropy, i. e. a liabitude or inclination to be beneficent.

Benevolent love is upon these accounts only indirectly a duty ; but the love of complacency would be immediate and direct. To be constrained by duty to this is, however, a contradiction ; for the pleasure of complacency is imme- diately attached to the perception of the existence of the beloved object ; and to be obliged to be necessitated to this, is absurd.

D. Of reverence. In like manner, reverence is some- what altogether subjective, an emotion of its own kind, — no judgment referring to any object, which might make it incumbent on us to produce and establisli this emotion : for were this the case, such a duty could be represented only by the reverence felt towards it ; and to say that it is our duty to have this reverence, would be tantamount to say, we were beholden to an obligation. So that when it is said man ought to reverence himself, that is improperly said, and it should rather be thus couched. The law within him inevitably extorts reverence from him for his own being, and this peculiar and unique emotion, which is of its own kind, is the ground of certain duties, i. e. certain actions comporting with the duty owed by man to himself. But it is ill expressed to say, we have a duty of reverencing ourselves ; for mankind must first of all revere the law before he can so much as cogitate any thing as his duty.




I. First. A single duty can rise upon one only ground of obligation ; and when two or several arguments are ad- duced to support it, that indicates for certain, either that as yet no valid reason has been assigned, or else that they are several and distinct duties, which, by mistake, have come to be regarded as one.

For since every ethic argumentation is philosophical, it is a rational knowledge rising out of notions, and not, as the mathematics are, raised upon the construction of no- tions. These last admit of several different demonstrations, because, in an a priori intuition, there may be given se- veral determinations of the nature of an object, the whole of which carry the cogitation backwards to one and the same common ground. Put the case, that we wish to prove that veracity is a duty, and argue first from the detriment inflicted on others by the lie, and then support this argu- ment by urging the internal vileness of the liar, and the violation of his own self-reverence, — and it is observable, that the first argument proves a duty of benevolence, not one of veracity, i. e. is no proof at all of the virtue desi- derated. To flatter one's self, that, by adducing several bad arguments in support of one position, their number may make up what is wanting in their cogency, is a most un- philosophic stratagem, and betrays at once guile and dis- honesty : — because a series of insufficient reasons, aggre- gated together, cannot eke out the certainty which each wants ; nay, they do not even beget a probability amongst


them,— and yet this is the common artifice of the rheto- rician.

II. Secondly. The difference obtaining betwixt virtue and vice, cannot be stated to consist in the grade of ad- hering to given maxims and rules of life ; but must be sought for in their specific qualities, i. e. in their relation to the law : that is, in other words, the lauded principle of Aristotle is false, " Virtue is the mean betwixt ex- tremes." For instance, let frugality be taken as a mean betwixt the two vices, prodigality and avarice, and it is clear that its origin as a virtue cannot be explained by gradually decreasing and abating the first of these vices ; neither can it by gradually enlarging the expenses of the miser, these vices being incapable of being so taken, as if they came from diametrically opposite directions, and met in the point of frugality ; but each vice has its own pro- per maxim, and these have qualities making them incon- sistent with one another. Upon the same account, no vice can, generally speaking, be explained by saying that it is a practice carried to excess ; as when it is said. Prodi- gality is excess in the consumption of wealth : nor yet, that it is a defect, or falling short in practice. Avarice is the failing to expend one's wealth. For since the grade is here left undetermined, and yet every thing is made to depend on this degree, whether conduct fall in with duty or otherwise, it is plain that such explanations can serve no purpose.

III. Thirdly. Duties are to be judged of, not by the power man attributes to himself, of being able to fulfil them ; but, contrariwise, his power is to be concluded upon from the law, which commands categorically ; that is, we go, not by the experimental acquaintance taught us of


mankind by observation, but by tlie intellectual appreben- sion we have of what we ought to be, as conformed to the idea of humanity. These three positions towards a scien- tific treatise on morals, are pointed against these old apophthegms.

I. There is one only virtue, and one only vice.

II. Virtue is the keeping of the due mean betwixt ex- tremes.

III. Virtue must, like prudence, be taught us by expe- rience and observation.


Virtue signifies ethic strength of will ; but this does not exhaust the whole notion of it : for a like strength may be- long to a holy (superhuman) being, in whom no instinct re-acts against the law, and who, therefore, executes the whole law willingly. Virtue is therefore the ethic strength of man in the fulfilment of his duty, a strength which is an ethical co-action, by force of one's own legis- lative reason, so far forth as this last constitutes itself also at the same time the executive of the law. This ethico- active reason is not itself a duty, nor is it incumbent on us to procure it ; but it announces its behest, and makes this commandment go hand in hand with an ethical co- action, possible according to laws of inward freedom ; but because this co-action has to be irresistible, strength is in- dispensable, and the grade of this force can only be esti- mated by the magnitude of the obstacles springing from the person's own appetites and instincts, and to which reason has to rise superior. Vice, the offspring of illicit



passion, is the Hydra, man has to encounter and to over- come ; upon which account this ethic strength, as valour {fortitudo moralis), constitutes the highest, and indeed the only martial glory of the brave ; and this it is which has been rightly styled wisdom, because this wisdom makes her own the ends of man's existence here below, and by possessing this alone, is any one rendered

Liber, pulcher, honoratus, Rex denique Regum,

and enabled to stand invincible against all assaults of chance or fate ; because man cannot be shaken from his own self-possession, nor can the virtuous be stormed out of the inexpugnable fortress of his own virtue.

The encomiums passed upon the Ideal of Humanity in his ethical perfection, are not in anywise invalidated by showing how contrary mankind are, have been, and very likely will be ; nor can anthropology, which gives but a tentative and experimental knowledge of man, at all affect or impair that anthroponomy which is reared upon our unconditionately legislative reason ; and although vir* tue may from time to time be well-deserving of our fel* low-men {never in respect of the law), and may merit a re- ward, yet it ought to be considered, as it is its own end, so also to be in itself its own reward.

Virtue represented in its entire perfection, is to be re* garded as if it held possession of man, and not as if hd had appropriated or were the proprietor of it ; in which last case, it would seem as if man had the option to accept or to decline her, and so would need an anterior virtue to in- duce him to make his election of the latter. To acknow- ledge several virtues, as we inevitably must, is merely to cogitate different moral objects, towards which the will \^



guided and led by the one and single principle of virtue ; and the same remark holds of the contrary vices. Ex- pressions which impersonate the one or other of them are aesthetic engines, which typify a moral import. An es- thetic OF ETHICS is, by consequence, no part, but it is a subjective exposition, of the metaphysic of ethics ; and such a Critique of moral taste would make sensible in out- ward delineation, those emotions effected by the co-active force of the law upon the sensory. Horror, disgust, &c. &c. depict in lively and vivid colours the ethical antagonism of the will, and would aid in counteracting the false al- lurements of sensitive excitement.



This separation, obtaining betwixt the two main branches of ethics, is grounded on this, that the idea freedom, com- mon to both these, renders necessary a distinction of du- ties into the offices of outward, and those of inward liber- ty, whereof the latter are alone moral. Whence it results that we must now state some preparatory remarks on in- ward freedom as the condition precedent of all moral duty, exactly as we previously, in No. XII. held a preliminary discourse on conscience as the condition precedent of all obligement whatsoever.


Readiness or aptitude is a facility in acting in a parti- cular way, and is a subjective perfection of choice ; but


every readiness of this sort, is not necessarily a free or 11* beral facility ; for when it degenerates into habit, i. e. when the uniformity of custom slides into mechanical ne- cessity, by the too frequent iteration of an act, such inve- terate aptitude is no product of freedom, and is by conse- quence no ethical facility ; and this is the reason why vir- tue, as we have said, cannot be defined to be a readiness or facility in acting conformably to the law ; although it might be so defined, were we to add, that it was an ap- titude of determining one's self so to act by the represen- tation of the law; for then the habitude would cease to be a quality of choice, and would become one of will, which is a function of desire, announcing law universal, by the maxims of conduct it adopts : and such a readiness alone, can be deemed and taken for a part of a virtue.

This inward freedom demands two things : the first, that mankind, in any unforeseen emergency, remain mas- ter of himself; and, second, that he suffer not the empire of his own reason to be usurped by his appetites and pas- sions. The state and tone of soul is, by such inward free- dom, noble and erect ; by the contrary, abject, servile.


Emotion and passion differ essentially; the former sort are seated in the sensory ; and as these feelings are astir in the mind, prior to all thought and reflection, they hinder and obstruct the exercise of reason, or even render it for the time impossible. The emotions are often called



transports or tempests of soiil ; and reason promulgates to us, by the idea virtue, the law of self-command. How- ever, this imbecility in the exercise of reflection, coupled with the headlong impetuosity of emotion, is merely non- virtue. It is silly and childish, and is not inconsistent with a good will, and has this advantage peculiar to such a frame of mind, that the storm soon blows over ; — a pro- pensity to an emotion, e. g. to wrath, is therefore not nearly so much allied to vice as a passion and affection is. These last denote permanent states of desire ; e. g. hatred, REVENGE, as contradistinguished from Anger and wrath. The calm and composure wherewith mankind incline to those admit of reflection, forethought, and pi'edetermina- tion, and allow the mind to adopt maxims of conduct tending to the gratification of those affections, and so, by brooding over them, allow the hate to strike deep root; by all which, evil is deliberately determined on to be done, which, as aggravated wickedness, is a true crime. • It results, therefore, that virtue, in so far as it depends upon man's inward freedom, addresses to mankind an affirmative commandment, ordaining him to bring all his feelings and passions under the dominion and govern- ment of his reason ; i. e. ordains self-command; and this it superadds to the prohibitive commandment the- DUTY of apathy, wlicreby it ordains [negatively) man not to allow himself to have it lorded over him either by his appetites or instincts ; for when reason does not take into her own hands the administration of self-government, those revolting, subject her to their thraldom.



. The terra apathy, as if it meant bluntness or want of feeling, i. e. listlessness or indifference in regard of the objects of choice, has fallen into bad repute. People have mistaken it for a weakness ; a misunderstanding which may be obviated by denominating this dispassionateness, which has no common part with indifference, the ethic APATHY, a freedom from passion, which takes place then only, when the increasing reverence for the law has so awed and ballasted the mind, that it ceases to tumble to and fro, and to be agitated by the storms and hurricane emotions which threaten to shipwreck its morality. It is but the seeming strength of one distempered, to allow one's interest, even in what is good, to degenerate into passion. An affection of this kind is called enthusiasm, and so gives occasion for that just medium which is recommended even in the practice of virtue.

Insani Sapiens nomen ferat, sequus iniqui

" Ultra quam satis est," virtutem si petat ipsam. — Hor.

For it were ridiculous to fancy that any one could be- too wise, or too virtuous : an emotion is always of the sensory, by what object soever it may be excited. The true strength of virtue is the mind at tranquillity, esta- blished upon a well-pondered and stedfast determination to put the law into execution. This is the " health" of the ethic life. While, on the contrary, enthusiastic feel- ings, even when engendered by the representation of good,


sparkle, but with momentary lustre, and leave the mind chill and exhausted. He again might be called chimeri- cally virtuous, who admits, in his system of morality, of no indifferent things, and who is beset at every step with duties strewed along his path, like spring-guns ; and deems it of moment whether he dine on fish or fowl, whether he drink beer or wine, although they all agree alike well with his constitution. But if the doctrine of virtue were to deal with such infinitesimal duties, her em- pire would be transmuted to a tyranny.

Virtue is constantly, progressive, and yet it has always to begin again, of new, from the beginning. The first part of this position results from this, that morality, considered objectively, is an ideal, and unattainable, although it is our incumbent duty to press with advancing footstep un- remittipgly toward it : the second, that virtue has always to start afresh, arises subjectively from its relation to the nature of man, a nature ever lying so open to the pertur- bations of appetite and instinct, that virtue can, in its com- bat with them, never find a truce, but must infallibly, if she keep not herself in the van, and on the advance, be driven to the rear and forced to retrograde : ethical max- ims not being, like the technical, based on habit (which last refers to the physical part of voluntary determina- tion)— «o much so indeed, that were the exercise of virtue to become habit, the agent would thereby undergo the loss of freedom ; which, however, is of the very essence of all actions performed out of duty.



The principle of subdividing ought to comprehend,—

First, As to the formal of duty, all conditions serving to distinguish this part of general ethics from the science of law, a desideratum attained by the following : 1. That no moral duty admits of any outward legislation ; 2. That while all duty, of whatever kind, must rest upon the law, yet, in morals, the commandment of duty ordains no given action, but only maxims and rules of life tending to given ends ; 3. which follows from the second. That moral duty is of indeterminate, and never of strict, obligation.

Second, As to its matter, ethic has to be represented, not as a system of duties merely, but likewise as the system of the ends and scope of practical reason ; where man is shown as obliged to cogitate himself and all his fellow- men as his ends, which some moralists have talked of as duties of self-love, and of the love of our neighbour ; but such expression is inaccurate, there being no direct obli- gation to " /are" of any sort, although there are to such actions as state one's self and others as their ends.

Thirdly, As for the distinction betwixt the form and the matter of morals {i. e. betwixt an action's conformity to law, and its conformity to its end), we have to remind the reader, that not every ethical obligation is a moral duty ; in other words, that reverence for law begets of it- self no end which can be represented as a duty, this last alone being a moral duty. There is the one onlyethical obligement, but several moral duties, there being many objects which for us are ends that we are obliged to pro- pose to ourselves. There can, however, be but one ethical


intent, as the inward ground of a man's determination to fulfil his duty ; an intention extending even to his juridi- cal duties, though these last must not on this account he lield or reputed moral duties. Eveiy subdivision of mo- rals will, therefore, have respect only to moral duties. The knowledge of the ground whereon the law has its ethical virtue to oblige the will, is the science of ethics it- self, formally considered.

,- Remark. — But why, it will be asked, have I divided morals into an elementary and a methodic part, seeing this mode of division has been dispensed with in law ? The reason is, because the former treats of duties of inde- terminate obligation, the latter of those of strict ; whence it happens, that the latter is in its nature rigid and pre- cise, and requires, no more than the mathematics, general directions (a method) for judging, but shows its method to be true, by real fact and event. Morals, on the con- trary, on account of the latitude, admissible in its duties of indeterminate obligation, conducts inevitably to ques- tions, calling upon the judgment to determine what maxim ought to be applied in any given case ; and this maxim may come attended by its secondary or subordinate max- im, of which last we equally demand a principle for ap- plying it to different occurring cases. Thus morals falls Into a sort of casuistry, law is quite ignorant of.

Casuistry is then neither a science nor a part of any .science; for, were it scientific, it would be dogmatic : and it is not so much a method for finding truth, as a mere exercise of judgment in searching for it. Cases of casuis- try are therefore interwoven, not systematically^ hnifrag- mentarily, into morals, and come, in, under the form of gcholia, as add^nd^ to tjie system. But when it is no


exercise of the judgment that engages us, but the exercise of reason itself, and that both in the theory and in the practice of her duty, then does this last belong appropri- ately to ethics, being the methodology of pure practical reason^ Its methodic, in the first sort of exercise, viz. in the theory of its duty, is called didactics ; and this last is either akroamatic or erotematic. The erotetic method is the art of interrogating out of the pupil, the notions of duty he already is possessed of, and these his notions may be extracted by the question, either out of his memory or out of his reason : from his memory, when he has been previously taught how to answer, where the method is catechetic : from his reason, when it is fancied that what is asked him, lies, although latent, in his mind, and needs only to be developed ; and this is the diaIjOQIC or S0CRA7 TIC method.

To the didactics, as the method of theoretic exercise, corresponds, as antipart, the ascetic exercise, which is that part of the methodology, where it is taught not only how the notion virtue, but likewise how man's active and moral powers, his will, may be gymnasticised by the ascetic exer- cise, and cultivated.

Agreeably to these principles, we shall divide the whole system into twd parts, the elementology and the metho- dology of ethics. Each part will have its chapters and divisions. In the former part, the order of the chapters will be regulated upon the diversity of the persons toward whom obligations may be constituted ; in the second, upon the different ends reason ordains man to have, and accord- ing to his capacity for these ends.

XIX. The division established by practical reason to- ward an architectonic of the system of her ethical con-


ceptions, may be regulated upon a twofold principle, either conjoined or separate ; the one represents, materially, the subjective relation obtaining betwixt the obliged and the obligers ; the other, formally, the objective relation obtain- ing betwixt ethic laws and the offices they enjoin. The first division proceeds upon that of the different living be- ings in relation to whom ethical obligement maybe thought as subsisting ; but the last would be the order of the con- ceptions of pure ethico-active reason, which conceptions correspond to each duty made imperative by reason, and belong to ethics regarded barely as a science, and are therefore indispensable for the methodical contexture and arrangement of those propositions which the former divi- sion may throw into our hands.

The former division of morals, agreeably to difference of the persons, contains


, ^ ,

Of man to mankind. Of man towards beings of another kind.

r » f 1

To himself. To others. Towards beings infe- Towards superhu-

rior to man. man beings.

The latter division of ethics, according to principles of a sys- tem of pure practical reason.

Ethical. Elementology. Methodology.


Dogmatics. Casuistics. Didactics. Ascetics.

which second division exhibits the form of the science, and must, as its ground-plan, go before the other.


,f ;-<>




§ 1. The Notion of a Duty owed by Mankind to Himself ap- pears at first sight to involve a contradiction.

When the obligating " /" is taken in exactly the same sense with the " /" obliged, then undoubtedly duty owed to myself imports an absurdity. For the idea duty brings along with it the notion of passive necessitation (I am obliged or beholden) ; whereas in a matter of debt owed to myself, I figure myself to be the obliger, that is, in a state of active necessitation (I, the very same person with the former, am the Obligor). And a position announcing a duty owed by mankind to himself (I ought to oblige my-» self), would state an obligement to become obliged, i. e. a passive obligation, which were, notwithstanding, at the samd time and in the same terms, an active one ; a statement repugnant to itself, and contradictory. The contradiction contained iii such a proposition may be set under a yet clearer light, by showing that the author of the obligation could always grant a dispensation to the obliged from the obligement; that is, by consequence, when the Author and


the Subject of the obligation are the same, then, in such case, the obliger would not be at all beholden to any duty imposed by him upon himself; and this again is just the contradiction above insisted on.

§ 2. There are Duties owed by Man to Himself,

For, put the case, that there were in effect no such self- incumbent duties, then would all other duties, even the outward ones, be abolished ; for I only acknowledge my- self beholden and obliged to others, so far forth as I at the same time, along with the other, put that obligation upon myself; the law, by dint whereof alone I can re- cognise myself to be obliged, emanating in every instance from my own practical reason. By this reason I am ne- cessitated, and so am at the same time my own necessi- t^or.*

§ 3. Schdion of this Apparent Antiruymy.

Man regards himself, when conscious of a duty to him- self, in a twofold capacity ; first, as a sensible being, i, e, as a man, where he ranks only, as one among other sorts of animals ; but, second, he regards himself not only as an intelligent being, but as a very reason (for the theore- tic function of reason may perhaps be a property of animated matter), resident in a region inscrutable to sense, and manifesting itself only in morally practical re- lations, where that amazing quality of man's nature— FREEDOM — is revealed by the influence reason exerts upon- / tHe determination of the will.

• Even in common speech we say, This is what I owe to myself.


Mankind, then, as an Intelligent physical being (homo phenomenon), is susceptible of voluntary determination to active conduct by the suggestions of his reason ; but in all this the idea of obligation does not enter. The very same being, however, considered in respect of his personality (homo noumenon), t. e. cogitated as one in- vested with inward freedom, is a being capable of having obligation imposed upon him, and, in particulai*, of be- coming obligated and beholden to himself, i. e. to the humanity subsisting in his person; and, so considered in this twofold character, mankind can acknowledge the ob- ligations ho stands under to himself, without incurring any contradiction, the notion man being now understood to be taken in a twofold sense.-

% 4i. On the Principle of subdividing the Duties owed by Man to Himself.

This division can take place only according to the dif- ferent objects incumbent on him, for there can be no room for it in respect of the self-obliging subject ; the obliger and the obligated is always just one and the same person ; and although we may theoretically distinguish be- twixt man's soul and his body, as distinct qualities of his system and known nature, yet it is quite disallowed to regard them as different substances, founding distinct ob- ligations in respect of them, and so we cannot be entitled ( ^ to divide our duties into those owed to the body, and those due to the soul. Neither experience nor the deduc- tions of reason afford us any ground to hold that man has a soul (meaning by soul, a spiritual substance dwelling


in his material framework, distinct from the last, arid in- dependent of it) ; and we do not know whether life may or may not be a property of matter. However, even on the hypothesis that man had a soul, still a duty owed by man to his body (as tlie subject obliging) would be quite in cogitable.

First. There can obtain, therefore, only one objective division, extending at once to the form and to the matter of the duties owed by man to himself, the first whereof, the formal duties, are limitary or negative duties ; the second, the material, are extensive and positive duties owed by man to himself: the former forbid mankind to act con- trary to the. ends and purposes of his being, and so con- cern simply his ethical selfrpreservation ; the latter ordain him to make a given object of choice his end, and com- mand the perfecting of his own nature. Both these, as moral duties, are elements of virtue j the one as duties of omission [sustine et abstine), the other as duties of com- mission (viribus concessis utere) ; the first go to constitute man's ethic health {ad esse), and to the preservation of /the entireness of his system, both as objected to his exte- rior and to his interior senses {i. e. support his recepti- vity) ; the second constitute his ethic opulence {ad melius •esse), a wealth consisting in the possession of functions adapted for the realization of all ends, in so far as these powers and functions are matters of acquisition, and be- long to self-culture as an active and attained perfection. The first principle of duty is couched in the adage, " na- turce convenienter vive" i. e. "maintain thyself in the ORIGINAL perfection OF THY NATURE;" the second, in the position, /7er^ce te utjinem, perfice te ut medium" study




But second. There is, however, a subjective division of the duties owed by man to himself; that is, such an one, where mankind, the subject of the obligement, regards himself as an animal, though also at the same time moral being, or as a moral being singly.

Now, the instincts of man's animal nature are three- fold, viz. 1. the instinctive love of life, whereby nature pre- serves the individual ; 2. that instinct whereby nature aims at the preservation of the kind ; and 3. and lastly, those appetites of hunger and thirst which are intended for enlivening the frame, — keeping it fitted for its ends, — and at the same time for securing an agreeable, though only animal enjoyment of existence. The vices which are here subversive of the duty owed by man to himself, are 1. self-murder, 2. the unnatural use of the appetite for sex, 3. that excess in meat or drink which obtunds and lames the functions of the soul. As for the duty owed by man to himself as a moral being singly, it is FORMAL, and consists in the coincidence of the maxims of his will, with the dignity of the humanity subsisting in hts person ; by consequence, in the prohibition not to renounce the pre-eminence of his rank, which consists in his power of acting upon systematic principles and rules of life: that is, in the injunction not to despoil himself of his inward freedom, — that he become not thereby the toy and foot-ball of his own appetites and instincts, and so | a mere thing. The vices subversive of this duty are ly- ing, avarice, and spurious humility. These vices rest on maxims diametrically opposed, even already by their form, to the characters of mankind as a moral being; that is, they are formally repugnant to and subversive of the inborn dignity of man's nature, his inward freedom,




Atid make $t, as it Wefre, a mail's maxim to have nonie, and Hg6 no character ; that is, to slattern himself down to zero, ^iid so to sink beneath contempt. The virtue opposed to all these vices is self-reverence, and might be called


thought having no common part with pride, which last is A LOVE AND AMBITION OF OUTWARD HONOURS, and may be, as it often is, abject and vile. This pride (superbia) is particularly treated of in the sequel, under this title, as a VICE.

APOTOME I. ot'i*ttE DUTIES OF Perfect and determinate obligation.



§ 5.

The first if not chiefest duty incumbent upon man- kind, in respect of his brute nature, is his self-conser- vation in his animal estate. The anti-part of this obli- gation is the deliberate and forethought destruction of his animality ; and this may be considered as either total or partial. The total we call self-murder ; the partial, again, is either material or formal ; — material, when a man bereaves himself of any integrant part or organ of his

^Y^AN TO HI^EI^F. 259

body, by demembration or mutilation ; formal, when by excess man suffers himself to be bereft, for a mliih or for ever, of the use of the physical functions of his sys-

tem, and so likewise indirectly of his etl^ic rationality,


§ 6. Of Self-murder.

The voluntary divestiture of man's animal part can be called SELF-MURDER, only then when it is shown that £uch an act is criminal. A crime which may be perpe- trated, either simply on our own person, or also at the ^same time and by consequence upon the person of ano- ther, e. g. as when one in pregnancy kills herself.

Self-destruction is a crime— murder. Suicide may no doubt be, considered as the transgression of the duty owed by any one to his fellow-men ; as a viplation of the con- jugal obligations incumbent upon spouses ; as a disregard of the duty owed by a subject to his government (the state) ; or, lastly, as a dereliction of one's duty to God, the person quitting without his permission the post in- trusted to him by God in the world. But none of these amount to the crime of murder ; and the question at pre- sent to be considered is, whether or not deliberate self-de- struction is a violation of man's duty towards himself, even when abstraction is made from all those other con- siderations ; that is, whether man ought to acknowledge himself beholden to the self-conservation of his animal part (nay, most strictly and exactly beholden so to act, and that too by force singly of his personality). That a man can injure himself, appears absurd (volenti non fit injuria) ; and this was the reason why the Stoics consider-


ed it to be a prerogative of the sage to walk with undis- turbed soul out of life as out of a smoky room, not urged by any present or apprehended evils, but simply because he could no longer sustain with eflFect his part in life ; and yet this very courage, this strength of soul to advance undauntedly to death, arguing his recognition of some- what prized by him far higher than life, ought to have taught him not to despoil a being of existence possessing so mighty a mastery and control over the strongest forces in his physic system.

Mankind, so long as duty is at stake, cannot renounce his personality; that is, by consequence, never, — duty be- ing always his incumbent debt ; and it is a contradiction to hold that any one were entitled to withdraw himself from his obligations, and to act free, in such sense as to need no ground of warrant for his conduct. To abolish, then, in his own person the subject of morality, is tanta- mount to expunging with all his might the very being of morality from the world, which morality is, however, an end in itself. Whence we conclude, that to dispose of one's life for some fancied end, is to degrade the humani- ty subsisting in his person (homo noumenon), and intrust- ed to him (homo phenomenon) to the end that he might uphold and preserve it.

For any one to deprive himself of an integral part of his frame, to dismember or mutilate his organs, as when, for instance, any one sells or gifts a tooth to be trans- planted into the jaw of another, or to submit to emascu- lation to gain an easier livelihood as a singer, and so on, are acts of partial self-murder. The like observation, however, does not hold of the amputation of a decayed or mortified member, which it might be even dangerous to


keep. Neither can we say that it is a violation of one's person to remove what is a part and pertinent, but still no organ of the body, e. g. to cut one's hair ; but were this done with a view to making gain by the sale of one's tresses, such an act could not be regarded as altogether devoid of blame.

Casuistics. — Is it self-murder to devote one's self, like Gurtius, to certain death for the liberation of his coun- try ? Is martyrdom — the deliberate offering of one's self up for the benefit of mankind at large — capable of being regarded, like the former, as a trait of a heroic charac- ter ?

Is it allowed to anticipate an unjust sentence of death by suicide ? Even wei-e the sovereign to grant this permis- sion, as Nero to Seneca ?

Can we regard it as a crime, on the part of our late great monarch,* that he always bore about with him a poison, probably in order that if he should be taken in war, which he always carried on in person, he might not be compelled to accept conditions of ransom too burden- some to his country ? A motive we are entitled to ascribe to him, as it is not likely he was impelled to it by mere arrogancy.

A patient feeling decided symptoms of hydrophobia, after the bite of a mad dog, declared, that as this com- plaint was incurable, he would destroy himself, lest, as he stated in his testament, he should, in a paroxysm of the disease, occasion some disaster to his fellow-men. It is de- manded if he acted wrong?

He who inoculates himself for small-pox, hazards his

  • Frederick II.


life on aA uncerfainfy, even although he does so with a view to its' Aiore effectual preservation, and places himself in a much more ambiguous relation to the law, than the mariner, who does not excite the storm which he encotrri- iers, whereas this other is himself the catuse of his running the risk of death. Is such inoculation lawful ?

§ 7. Of Self-defilement.

\ As' the love of life is bestowed upon us for the preser- 1 vation of our person, so the love of sex for the continu- ance of our kind. Either appetite is a last end purposed by nature ; by end is to be understood that connexion obtaining betwixt a cause and its effect, where the cause, although unintelligent, is nevertheless cogitated according fo the analogy it bcSars to dn understanding, that is, is spolcen of and taken as if it intentionally and of design tended to the eduction of its own effect. In this way, a question arises, if the power of propagating one's species stands under a restrictive law ; or if a person who exer- cises such a faculty may, without subverting any duty by doing so, overlook that end of nature, and employ his in- tersexual organs as the mere engine of brute pleasure.

in the elementary principles of law, we took occasion to show, that mankind could not serve himself of the per- son of another, in order to this enjoyment, except subject to tte liriiitary conditions of a particular legal contract (marriage), iti which event two persons become mutually obliged to one another. But the question ethics under- takes is this. Whether there be or not a duty owed by man to himself, in respect of this appetite, the violation whereof attaints (not merely degrades) the humanity


inhabiting his person. The appetite itself is called lust, and the vice it gives birth to is called impurity. The virtue, again, raised upon this instinct of the sensory is termed chastity ; and this chastity is now to be repre- sented as a duty owed by man to himself. A lust is sai4 to be unnatural, when a man is impelled to it, not by a real given matter objected to his sensory, but by the py^- ductive power of his imagination, depicting to him in fancy the object, contrary to the epd aimed at by nature j for the power of appetition is then put into operation in fiuch a manner as to evade or subvert the ends of nature ; 9,ud> in truth, an end yet more important thati the en4 proposed by nature in the instinctive love of life : this tending only to the conservation of the individual, tluit to the upholding uninterrupted the succession of the species.

That this unnatural use (and so abuse) of one's sexual organs, is a violation, in the highest degree, of the duty owed by any to himself, is manifest to everybody; and is a thought so revolting, that even the naming this vice by its own name is regarded as a kind of immorality, which is not the case, however, with self-murder, which no one hesitates to detail in all its horrors, and publish to the world in specie facti ; just as if mankind at large felt ashamed at knowing himself capable of an act sinking him so far beneath the brutes.

And yet to prove upon grounds of reason the inadmis- sibility of that unnatural excess, and even the disallowed- ness of a mere irregular use of one's sexual part, so far forth as they are violations (and in regard of the former, even in the highest possible degree) of the duty owed by man to himself, is a taslc of no slight or common difficulty. Tha ground of proving is to be sought no doubt in this, that


man meanly abdicates his personality, when he attempts to employ himself as a hare means to satisfy a brutal lust. At the same time, the high and prodigious enormi- ty of the violation perpetrated by man against the huma- nity subsisting in his person, by so unnatural and porten- tous a lust, which seems, as we have said, formally to transcend in magnitude the guilt of self-murder, remains unexplained upon this argument ; unless, perhaps, it might be urged, that the headlong obstinacy of the suicide, who casts away life as a burden, is no effeminate surren- der to sensitive excitement, but shews valour, and so leaves ground for reverencing the humanity he repre- sents ; while this other resigns himself an abandoned out- cast to brutality, enjoying his own self-abuse, that is, he makes himself an object of abomination, and stands be- reft of all reverence of any kind.

§ 8. Of Self-obstupefaction by Excessive Indulgence in Meats and Drinks.

The vice existing in this species of intemperance, is not estimated by the prejudice, or bodily pains, mankind may entail upon himself, as the sequents of his excess ; for then we should regulate our judgment upon a prin- ciple of conveniency (^. e. on a system of eudaimonism), which, however, affords no ground of duty, but only of a dictate of expediency ; at least such principle gives birth to no direct obligations.

The inordinate gratification of our bodily wants, is that abuse of aliments which obtunds the operations of the in- tellect; drunkenness and gluttony are the two vices fall- ing under this head. The drunkard renounces, for the


! seductive goblet, that rationality which alone pi-oclaims the superiority of his rank ; and is, while in his state of intoxication, to be dealt with as a brute only, not as a person. The glutton, gorged with viands, obtunds his powers for a while, and is incapacitated for such exer- cises as demand suppleness of body, or the reflections of the understanding. That the putting one's self into such a situation, is a grave violation of what a man owes to himself, is self-evident. The former state of degradation, abject even beneath the beasts, is commonly brought about by the excessive use of fermented liquors, or of stupifying drugs, such as opium, and other products of the vege- table kingdom ; the betraying power whereof lies in this, that for a while a dreamy happiness, and freedom from solicitude, or perhaps a fancied fortitude, is begotten, which, after all, concludes in despondency and sadness, and so unawares, and by insensible and unsuspected steps, introduces the need and want to repeat and to augment the stupifying dose. Gluttony must be reputed still lower in the scale of animal enjoyment ; for it is purely passive, and does not waken to life the energies of fancy — a fa- culty susceptible for a long time of an active play of its perceptions during the obstupefaction of the former, upon which account gluttony is the more beastly vice.

Casuistics. — Can we, if not as the panegyrists, yet as the apologists of wine, accord to it a use bordering on in- toxication, so far forth as it animates conversation, and combines the society by the frankness it produces ? Can we, in any event, say of wine what Seneca has said when talking of Cato, Virtus ejus incaluit mero ? But who is he who will assign a measure to one, who stands on the brink of passing into a state, where all eyesight fails


him to measure any thing, nay, whose disposition is in full march to go beyond it ? To employ opium or ardent spirits as instruments of one's animal gratification, is very much akiu to meanness ; because these, by their soporific welfare, render the individual mute, reserved, and unso- cial ; upon which accounts it is that these are allowed only in medicine. Mahometanism has made but an injudi- cious selection, when it forbids wine, and allows the use of opium in its stead.

A banquet (Lord Mayor's feasjt) is a formal invitation to a double intemperance in both kinds, although it has, over and above the stimulating of one's physical existence, a reference to a moral end, viz. the advancing of man's social intercourse with his species. Yet, because, when- ever the number of the guests exceeds, as Chesterfield says, the number of the muses, the very multitude ob structs the social exchange, and admits only the talking to one's immediate neighbours, i. e. since a feast is an in- stitution subverting its own end, it remains to be regard- ed only as a seduction to excess, i. e. to immorality, and to a violation of the duty owed by man to himself. To what extent is mankind ethically entitled to give ear to such invitations ?




This duty is opposed to the vices of lying, avarice, and false humility.


§ 9. Of Lying.

The highest violation of the duty owed by man to him- self, considered as a moral being singly (owed to the hu- manity subsisting in his person), is a departure from truth, or lying. That every deliberate untruth in uttering one's thoughts must bear this name in ethics, is of itself evident, although in law it was only styled fraud or falsehood, when it violated the rights of others — ethics giving no title to vice on account of its harmlessness ; for the dis- honour {i. e. to be an object of ethical disdain) it entails, accompanies the liar like his shadow. A lie may be either external or internal ; by means of this he falls under the contempt of others, but by means of thxiU falls, which is much worse, under his own, and violates the dignity of hu- manity in his own person. We say nothing here of the da- mage he may occasion to other people, the damage being no characteristic of the vice ; for it would then be turned into a violation of the duty owed to others : nor yet of the damage done by the liar to himself ; for then the lie, as a mere error in prudence, would contradict only the hypo- thetical, not the categorical imperative, and could not be held as violating duty at all. A lie is the abandonment, and, as it were, the annihilation, of the dignity of a man. He who does not himself believe what he states to ano- ther person (were it but an ideal person), has a still less value than if he were a mere thing ; for of the qualities of this last some use may be made, these being determinate and given ; but for any one to communicate thoughts to an- other by words intended to convey the contrary of what the speaker really thinks, is an end subversive of the pur- pose and design for which nature endowed us with a fa-


culty of interchanging thought, and is upon these accounts a renunciation of one's personality, after which the liar goes about, not as truly a man, but as the deceptive appear- ance of one only. Veracity in one's statements is called CANDOUR ; if such statements contain promises, fidelity : both together make up what is called sincerity.

A lie, in the ethical signification of the word, consider- ed as intentional falsehood, need not be prejudicial to others in order to be reprobated, for then it would be a violation of the rights of others. Levity, nay, even good- nature, may be its cause, or some good end may be aimed at by it. However, the giving way to such a thing is by its bare form a crime perpetrated by man against his own person, and a meanness, making a man contemptible in his own eyes.

The reality of many an inward lie, the guilt whereof man entails upon himself, is easily set forth ; but to ex- plain the possibility of such a thing is not so easy ; and it looks like as if a second person were required, whom we intended to deceive, since deliberately to deceive one's self, sounds like a contradiction.

Man as a moral being (homo noumenon), cannot use himself as a physical being (homo phenomenon), as a mere instrument of speech, nowise connected with the internal end of communicating his thoughts; but he is bound to the condition, under his second point of view, of making his declaration harmonize with his inward man, and so is obliged to veracity towards himself. Mankind thus per- verts himself, when he bubbles himself into the belief in a future judge, although he find none such within him- self, in the persuasion that it can do no harm, but may, on the contrary, be of service, inwardly to confess such


faith before the Searcher of his Heart, in order, in any event, to insinuate himself into his favour. Or otherwise, supposing him to entertain no doubts on this point, still he may flatter himself that he is an inward reverer of His law, although he knows no other incentive than the fear of hell.

Insincerity is just want of conscientiousness, i. e. of sin- cerity in a man's avowals to his inward judge, cogitated as a person different from himself. To take this matter quite rigidly, this would be insincerity, to hold a wish framed by self-love for the deed, because the end aimed at by it is good ; and the inward lie told by a man to him- self, although a violation of his duty towards himself, commonly goes under the name of, and is taken for, a weakness, pretty much in the same way as the wish of a lover to find only good qualities in his adored, seals his eyes to her most glaring defects. However, this insin- cerity in the statements declared by man to himself, de- serves the most serious reprehension ; for, from this rotten spot (which seems to taint the vitals of humani- ty), the evil of insincerity spreads into one's intercourse with one's fellow-men, the maxim of truth being once broken up.

Remark. — It is exceedingly remarkable, that holy writ dates the original of evil, not from the fratricide of Cain (against which nature revolts), but from the first lie; and states the author of all evil under the denomination of the Liar from the beginning, and the Father of lies ; although reason can give no account of this proneness of mankind to hypocrisy ; which deflective tendency must however have preceded man's actual lapse, an act of freedom not admitting, as physical effects do, a deduction and explana-



tion from the law of cause and effect, this last law refer- ring singly to phenomena.

Casuistical Questions. — Are falsehoods out of pure politeness (the most ohedient servant at the end of a let- ter), lying ? No one is deceived by them. An author asks, " How do you like my new work ?" Now the answer might be given illusorily, by jesting upon the captious- ness of such a question ; but who has wit enough always ready ? The smallest tarrying in replying must, of itself, mortify the author. Is it then allowed to pay him com- pliments ?

If I lie, in matters of importance, in the actual busi- ness of life, must I bear all the consequences resulting from my falsehood? One gives orders to his servant, if any call for him, to say he is not at home : the domestic does so, and becomes in this way the cause of his master's finding opportunity to commit a crime, which would other- wise have been prevented by the messenger-at-arms, who came to execute his warrant. On whom, according to ethic principles, does the blame fall ? Unquestionably, in part upon the servant, who violated by his lie a duty owed by him to himself, the consequences of which, also, will be imputed to him by his own conscience.

§ 10. Of Avarice.

I understand in this chapter not rapacious avarice, the propensity to extend one's gains beyond one's needs, in order to sumptuous fare; but the avarice of hoarding, which, when sordid, makes a man a miser, not so much because it disregards the obligations of charity, as because it narrows and contracts the proper enjoyment of the


^oods of life within the measure of one's real wants, and so is repugnant to the duty owed by man to himself.

It is in the exposition of this vice that we can best dis- play the inaccuracy of all those accounts of virtue and vice which make them differ in " degree^ and show clearly at the same time the inapplicability of Aristotle's famous "principle, that virtue is the mean betwixt two extreme vices.

Thus, when, for nistance, I regard frugality as the mean betwixt prodigality and avarice, and state this me- dium as one of degree, then the one vice could not pass tinto its opposite and contrary (which, however, is not unfrequent), except by passing through the intermediate virtue, and in this way virtue would come to be a dimi- nishing vice, i. e. a vice at its vanishing quantity ; and the true inference from this would be, in the present instance, that the perfect point of moral duty would consist in making no use at all of the bounties of fortune.

Neither the measure nor the quantum of acting upon a maxim, but that maxim's objective principle, is what con- stitutes the act a vice or a virtue. The maxim of the ava- ricious and rapacious prodigal is to accumulate wealth, in order that he may enjoy it ; that of the sordidly avari- cious, or MISER, is, oil the contrary, to acquire and to keep accumulated his wealth, where he makes the bare pos- session of it his end, and dispenses with the enjoyment.

The peculiar characteristic of the miser is this, that he adopts the principle of hoarding up the means conducive to many ends, with the inward reservation, never to ap- ply such means to their destined uses, and so to bereave himself of all the amenities and sweets of life ; a maxim utterly subversive of the duty a man owes to himself.



we treat here only of

Profusion and hoarding, then, diff 3r not in degree, but they are specifically distinct in res]3ect of their contrary and inconsistent maxims.*

Casuistical Question. — Since duties owed to one's self, and rapacious avarice (insatiable cupidity of wealth), and the avarice of hoarding, rest on the common ground of self-love, and seem both objection- able, merely because they conclude in poverty, in the case

  • The position, one ought never to ovi:R.DO or under-do any-

thing, says nothing, for it is tautological. What is it to over-do ? Ans. To do more than is right. What is ii^ to under-do ? To do less than is right. What is meant by one ought ? Ahs. It is not right to do more or less than is right. If this be the wisdom to be pumped from Aristotle, we have made a bad choice in our fountain.

There is betwixt truth and falsehood no ijnean, although there is be- twixt frankness and reserve : the reserved takes care that every thing he says is true, but he does not tell the whole truth, and a medium may be assigned. Now, it is quite natural to ask the moralist, to indicate this golden mean ; which, however, cannot be done, for both virtues admit of a certain latitude, and the bounds put to candour and reserve is a matter for a man's judgment, and so is a question felling under the pragmatic rules of prudence, and not under the impel'ative of morality : that is to say, the solution affects a question of indeterminate obligation, and must not be handled as if it were strict and definite. He therefore who obeys the laws of duty, may, if he do more than prudence would pre- scribe, in a given conjuncture, commit in so far a fault ; but he commits none, in so far as he rigidly adheres to his m)ral maxims, much less a vice in so doing ; and Horace's lines,

Insani sapiens nomen ferat, sequlus iniqui Ultra quam satis est, virtutem si petat ipsam,

contain downright falsehood, if taken to the letter. Sapiens seems to mean a good, dog-trot, prudent man, who doe$ not feed his imagination with any phantastic idea of perfection, which is to be aspired to, though not attained, which last exceeds man's power, snd we would run up ethics into an absurdity. But to be too virtuous, . e. too attached and de- voted to duty, is as much as drawing a right li ne too straight, or a circle too round.



of the former, issuing in unexpected, in that of the latter, in a voluntary indigence (by force of the determination to live in poverty) — since, I say, all this is the case, the question might be raised, if they are either of them at all vices, and not rather mere imprudencies, and so not fall- ing within the sphere of the duties owed by man to him- self; but the sordid avarice is not a mere misunderstood economy, it is an abject and servile enthralling of a man's self to the dominion of money, and is a submitting to cease to be its master, which is a violation of the duty owed by man to himself : It is the opposite of that gene- rous liberality of sentiment (not of munificent liberality, which is no more than a particular case of the former), which determines to shake itself free from every consider- ation whatever, the law alone excepted, and is a defrau- dation committed by man against himself. And yet, what kind of law is that, whereof the very inward legislator knows not the application? Ought I to retrench the out- lays of my table, or the expenses of my dress ? Should I in youth, or in my old age ? Or is there, generally speak- ing, any such virtue as that of thrift ?

§ 11. Of False and Spurious Humility.

Man, as a part of the physical system (homo phenome- non, animal rationale), is an animal of very little mo- ment, and has but a common value with beasts, and the other products of the soil. Even that he is superior to those by force of his understanding, gives him only a higher external value in exchange, when brought to the market along with other cattle, and sold as wares.



But man considered as a person, i. e. as the subject of ethico-active reason, is exalted beyond all price : for as such (homo noumenon), he cannot be taken for a bare means, conducive either to his own or to other persons' ends, but must be esteemed an end in himself; that is to say, he is invested with an internal dignity (an ab- solute worth), in name of which, he extorts reverence for his person, from every other finite intelligent throughout the universe, and is entitled to compare himself with all such, and to deem himself their equal.

The humanity of our common nature is the object of that reverence exigible by each man from his fellow, which reverence, however, he must study not to forfeit. He may, and indeed he ought to estimate himself by a measure, at once great and small, according as he con- templates his physical existence as an animal, or his co- gitable being, according to the ethical substratum of his nature. Again, since he has to consider himself not merely as a person, but also as a man, that is, as such a person as has imposed upon him duties put upon him by his own reason, his insignificance as an animal ought neither to impair nor affect his consciousness of his dig- nity as a rational, and he ought not to forget his ethical self-reverence springing from his latter nature; that is to say, he ought not to pursue those ends which are his du- ties servilely, or as if he sought for the favour of any other person : he ought not to renounce his dignity, but al- ways to uphold in its integrity, his consciousness of the loftiness of the ethical substratum of his nature ; and this self-reverence is a duty owed by man to himself.

The consciousness and feeling of one's little worth, when compared with the law, is ethical humility: the



over-persuasion that a man has a great deal of moral worth, but only owing to his neglecting to quadrate him- self with the law, is ethical arrogancy, and might be call- ed SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. But to renounce all claim to any moral worth, in the hope of thereby acquiring a bor- rowed and another, is false ethical humility, and may be called SPIRITUAL hypocrisy.

Humility, understood as a low opinion of one's self, when compared with other persons, is no duty (nor, ge- nerally speaking, in comparison with any finite being, although a seraph) : the active endeavour, in such com- parison, to find one's self equal or superior to others, in the imagination of thereby augmenting his inward worth, is AMBITION, a vice diametrically opposed to the duty we owe to others ; but the studied declinature of all one's proper ethic worth, considered as a mean for ingratiating one's self into the favour of another (be that other who he may), is false and counterfeit humility — (hypocrisy, flattery)— and a degradation of one's personality, sub- verting the duty he owes to himself.

Upon an exact and sincere comparison of a man's self with the moral law (its holiness and rigour), true humility must infallibly result; but, from the very circumstance that we can know ourselves capable of such an inward legislation, and that the physical man finds himself com- pelled to stand in awe of the ethical man in his own per- son, there results also at the same time a feeling of exal- tation, and the highest possible self-estimation, as the consciousness of one's inward worth, by force of which he is raised far beyond all price, and sees himself invested with an inalienable dignity, inspiring him with reverence for himself.



§ 12.

This duty, in respect of the dignity of our humanity, can be rendered more sensible by such precepts as the following.

Become not the slaves of other men. Suffer not thy rights to be trampled under foot by others with impuni- ty. Make no debts thou mayest be unable to discharge. Receive no favours thou canst dispense with, and be neither parasites nor flatterers, nor, for they differ but in degree, beggars. Live then frugally, lest one day thou come to beggary. Howling and groaning, nay, a mere scream at a bodily pain, is beneath thy dignity as a raian, more espe- cially when conscious that thou hast thyself demerited it. Hence the ennoblement of (averting of ignominy from) the death of a malefactor, by the constancy with which he meets his fate. To kneel or prostrate thyself upon the earth, in order to depicture in a more lively image to thy fancy, thy adoration of celestial objects, derogates from thy dignity as a man ; as does also the worshipping of them by images : for then thou humblest thyself, not be- fore an IDEAL, the handy work of thy reason, but beneath an IDOL, the workmanship/of thy hands.

Casuistics. — Is not the elation of mind in self-reve- rence, considered as a consciousness of the lofty destiny of man, too much akin to arrogance, i. e. to self-conceit, to make it advisable to summon up to it, not only in re- spect of the moral law, but even in respect of other men ? or would not self-denial in this particular invite others to despise our person, and so be a violation of what is due by man to himself? — Fawning and scraping to another is in any event unworthy of a man.



Are not the different styles of address, and the especial marks of respect, denoting, with such painful anxiety, difference of rank in society, — all which differs widely from politeness, a thing indispensable for mutually re- verencing one another, — the thou, he, they, your high WISDOM, YOUR REVERENCE, &c. &c. in which pedantry the Germans go beyond all nations on the earth, the Indian castes perhaps alone excepted, — are not, I say, these, proofs of a widely spread tendency among mankind to false and spurious humility ? (hae nugse in seria ducunt). — However, he who first makes himself a worm, dare not complain when he is trampled under foot.



§ 13.

The idea duty always involves and objects to the mind that of necessitation by law (law being an ethical impera- tive limiting our freedom), and belongs to our moral un- derstanding, which prescribes the rule. The inward im- putation of an act, however, as of an event falling under the law, belongs to the judgment, which being the sub- jective principle of the imputation of an act, utters its ver- dict whether or not any given deed {i. e. act subsumible under law) has been done or not, after which reason pro- nounces sentence, i. e. connects the act with its legal con- sequences, and so absolves or condemns ; all which is car- ried on before a court of justice, as if in the presence of



an ethical person sitting to give effect to the law. The consciousness of an internal tribunal in man, before which his thoughts accuse or excuse him, is what is called con- science.

Every man has conscience, and finds himself inspected by an inward censor, by whom he is threatened and kept in awe (reverence mingled with dread) ; and this power watching over the law, is nothing arbitrarily (optionally) adopted by himself, but is interwoven with his substance. It follows him like his shadow, however he may try to flee from it. He may indeed deafen himself by pleasures or by business, or he may lull himself into a lethargy ; but this is only for a while, and he must inevitably come now and then to himself; nor can he hinder himself from ever and anon awaking, whereupon he hears his dreadful and appalling voice. In the last stage of reprobation man may indeed have ceased to heed him, but not to hear him is impossible.

This originary intellectual and ethical (for it refers to duty) disposition of our nature, called conscience, has this peculiarity, that, although this whole matter is an affair of man with himself, he notwithstanding finds his reason constrained to carry on the suit, as if it were 'at the insti- gation of another person ; for the procedure is the con- duct of a cause before a court. Now, that he who is the accused by his conscience should be figured to be just the same person as his judge, is an absurd representation of a tribunal; since in such event the accuser would always lose his suit. Conscience must therefore represent to itself al- ways some one, other than itself, as judge, unless it is to arrive at a contradiction with itself. This other may


be either a real — or an ideal person the product of rea- son.*

Such an ideal person, authorized to sit as jwdge in the court of conscience, must be a searcher of the heart, for the tribunal is erected in the interior of man. Far- ther, he must hold all-obligatory power, i. e. be such a person, or at least be figured as if he were a person, in respect of whom all duty may be represented as his com- mandments, because conscience is judge over all free ac- tions. Lastly, he must have all power (in heaven and in earth) to absolve and to condemn, these properties being of the very essence of the functions of a judge: apart from his being endowed wherewith, he could give no effect to the law. But since he who searches the heart, and, hav- ing all-obligatory power, is able to absolve and to condemn, is called God, it follows that conscience must be regarded

• The twofold personality in which the man who accuses and judges himself, has to cogitate himself, this double self, forced on the one hand to appear trembling at the bar of a tribunal, where, on the other hand, he sits as judge, invested as his birth-right, with such authority, needs some explanation, lest reason seem to be involved in a contradiction with itself. I at once, accused and accuser, am numerically one and the same person, but, as the subject of the moral legislation, based on the idea freedom (Jiomo tioutnenon)^ must be considered, though only for a practical behoof, as diverse from the phenomenal man endowed with reason. I'or a practical behoof only, we say, because of the relation ob- taining betwixt the cogitable and the sensible systems speculation gives no theory. And this specific difference betwixt the real and the pheno- menal man is the difference of the superior and inferior faculties by which man is characterised. The former accuse, the latter appear in defence : after closing the record, the inward judge, as he who is invested with judiciary authority, utters the doom of bliss or woe, as ethical sequents of the deed ; but in this capacity (which is that of a sovereign governor) we are unable to investigate any further the sources of its power, but are constrained to stand in awe of the unconditionate jubeo or veto of our reason.


as a subjective principle implanted in the reason of man, calling for an account of every action before God. Nay, this notion of responsibility is at all times involved, how- ever darkly, in every act of moral self-consciousness.

This is not by any means to say, that man is entitled, and still less that he is bound, to believe in, as real, any such Supreme Being, answering to the idea, to which con- science inevitably points ; for the idea is given him not objectively by speculative reason, but subjectively only, by practical reason obliging itself to act conformably to this representation. And mankind is, by means of this idea, but merely from its analogy to that of a sovereign lawgiver of the universe, led to figure to himself conscien- tiousness (in the old language of the empire religio), as a responsibility owed to a most holy being, different from ourselves, and yet most intimately present to our substance (moral legislative reason), and to submit our- selves to his will as if it were a law of righteousness. The notion of religion in genere, is therefore just this, that it is a principle of esteeming of all our duties as if they were divine commandments.

1. In an affair of conscience, man figures to himself a pre-admonitory or warning conscience, before he decides on acting ; and here the minutest scruple, when it refers to an idea of duty (somewhat in itself moral), and over which conscience is the alone judge, is of weight, nor is it ever regarded as a trifle ; nor can what would be a real transgression, be declared according to the sayingof minima non curat prcBfor, a bagatelle or peccadillo, and so left for an arbitrary and random determination. Hence, hav- ing a large conscience is the same with having none.

2. As soon as an act is determined on and completed.


the accuser immediately presents himself in the court of conscience, and along with him there appears a defen- der, and the suit is never decided amicably, but according to the rigour of the law. After which follows,

3. The sentence of conscience upon the man, either ABSOLVING or CONDEMNING, which concludcs the cause. As to which final judgment, we remark, that the former sentence never decrees a reward as the gaining of some- thing which was not there before, but leaves room only for satisfaction at escaping condemnation. The bliss therefore announced by the consoling voice of conscience is not POSITIVE (as joy), but only negative (tranquilliza- tion after previous apprehension) ; a blessedness capable of being ascribed to virtue only, as a warfare with the in- fluences of the evil principle in man.

§14. The first Commandment of all Duties owedhy Man to


This is, KNOW thyself, not after thy physical perfec- tion, but after thy ethical, in reference to thy dut^. Search, try thy heart, whether it be good or evil, whe- ther the springs of thy conduct be pure or impure ; and how much, either as originally belonging to thy substance or as acquired by thee, may be imputable to thy account, and may go to make up thy moral state.

This self-examination, which seeks to fathom the scarce- ly penetrable abysses of the human heart, and the self- knowledge springing from it, is the beginning of all hu- man wisdom. For this wisdom, which consists in the ac- cordance of the will of an intelligent with the last end of his existence, requires in man, first, that he disembarrass


himself of an inward impediment (an evil will, nestled in his person) ; and, second, the unremitted effort to develope his originary inamissible substratum for a good one. Only the Avernan descent of self-knowledge paves a way to self- apotheosis.


This ethical self-knowledge guards, first, against the fa- natical detestation of one's self as a man, and against a disdain of the whole human race in general. It is only by force of the glorious substratum for morality within us, which substratum it is that renders man venerable, that we are enabled to find any man despicable, or to hand our- selves over to our own contempt, when seen to fall short of this august standard; an ethical disregard attaching to this or that man singly, never to humanity in general. And then it guards, secondly, against the fond and fatal self-delusion of taking a bare wish, however ardent, for any index of a good heart ; and obviates irregular self-es- timation. Even PRAYER is no more than a wish, inwardly uttered in the presence of a Searcher of the Heart. Im- partiality, in judging of ourselves, when compared with the law, and sincerity in a man's own self-confession of his own inward ethical worth or unworth, are the du- ties owed by man to himself, immediately founded on this first commandment of self-knowledge.



§ 16. Of an Amphiboly of the Reflex Moral Notions ; where- by Mankind is led to regard what is only a Duty towards himself, as if it were a Duty owed by him to others.

To judge on grounds of naked reason, man has no du- ties imposed upon him, except those owed by him to hu- manity in general (himself or others) ; for his ohlige- ment towards any person imports ethical necessitation by that person's will. The necessitating (obliging) subject must then, in every instance, be, first, a person ; and must, SECOND, be a person objected to our knowledge in experience and observation ; for, since man has to work towards the end of that person's will, this is a relation possible only betwixt two given existing beings, no ima- ginary or barely cogitable persons becoming the final cause and scope of any one's actions. But experience and observation teach a knowledge of no other being, except our fellow-men, capable of obligation, whether active or passive. Mankind can, therefore, have no duty toward any being, other than his fellow-men ; and when he figures to himself that there are such, this arises singly from an amphiboly of his reflex moral notions ; and this fancied duty owed by him to others is no more than a duty to himself, he being misled to this misunderstanding by confounding what is duty to himself in regard of other beings, with a duty toward those others.

This fancied duty may extend, either to impersonals, or if to personal, yet to invisible beings, not objected to our sensory. The former will be either the physical mat-


ter of the universe, or else its organized but impercipient products ; or, lastly, that part of nature which we see en- dowed with choice, motion, and perception (minerals, (2.) plants, (3.) animals). The latter will have a reference to super-human beings, cogitated as spiritual substances (God, angels). And we now ask, does there obtain, be- twixt these different kinds of beings and man, any rela- tion of duty ; and if so, what is the nature and extent of this obligation ?

§ IT.

In regard of the beautiful but lifeless objects in na- ture, to indulge a propensity to destroy them, is subver- sive of the duty owed by man to himself. For this spirit of destruction lays waste that feeling in man, which, though not itself ethical, is yet akin to it, and aids and supports, or even prepares a way for a determination of the sensory, not unfavourable to morality, viz. the emo- tion of disinterested complacency in somewhat quite apart from any view of its utility, e. g. as when we find delight in contemplating a fine crystallization, or the unutterable beauties of the vegetable kingdom.

In regard of the animated but irrational part of the cre- ation, it is undoubted that a savage and cruel treatment of them is yet more inly ^repugnant to what man owes to himself; for it blunts and obtunds our natural sympathy with their pangs, and so lays waste, gradually, the physi- cal principle which is of service to morality, and assists greatly the discharge of our duty towards other men. But to kill them, or to set them on work not beyond their strength (which labour man himself must undertake), is


in nowise disallowed ; although to torture them, with a view to recondite experiments subsei'ving a mere specula- tion, which could be dispensed with, is detestable. Nay, gratitude for the services of an old horse, or house-dog, is indirectly a duty, namely, an indirect duty in regard OF these animals ; for, directly^ it is no more than what a man owes to himself.


In regard of a Being transcending all bounds of know- ledge, but whose existence is notwithstanding given to us in idea, viz. the Godhead, we have in like manner a duty called RELIGION, which is the duty of recognising all our duties, AS IF THEY WERE divine commandments. But this is not the consciousness of a duty toward God. For since this idea rises singly upon our own reason, and is made by ourselves for the behoof of explaining theoreti- cally the symmetry and fitness of means to ends observed in the fabric of the universe, or practically to give added force to the main-spring of action, it is manifest that we have nowhat given, toward whom an obligation could be constituted; and his reality would first need to be established by experience (or revealed). And the duty we have here is to apply this indispensable idea of reason to the moral law within us, where it proves of the great- est ethical fertility. In this practical sense, it may be asserted, that to have religion is a duty owed by man to himself.




§ 19. Of the Duty owed by Him to Himself of advancing his Physical Perfection.

The culture of all the different resources of mind, soul, and body, as means conducive to many ends, is a duty owed by man to himself. Man owes it to himself as a reasonable being, not to allow to go to rust and lie dor- mant, the latent energies and native elements of his sys- tem, whereof his reason might one day make use. And even were he to rest contented with the measure of talent nature had endowed him with, as his birthright, still it ought to be upon grounds of reason, that he should in- struct such a remaining satisfied without so moderate a share of capacity ; for, being a person capable of design- ing ends, or of proposing himself to others as an end, he ought to stand indebted for the development and amelio- ration of his powers, not to any physical instinct of his system, but to his own liberty, whereby he freely decides how far he will carry them. This duty, then, is altogether independent on any advantages the culture of his facul- ties as means to ends may procure to him — for per- haps the advantage, according to Rousseau's views, might lie in the uncultivated roughness of a savage life->-but is founded on a commandment of ethico-active reason, and a duty imposed on man by himself to advance and ameliorate the condition of his humanity, according to


the diversity of the ends assigned him, and to make him- self, in a practical point of view, adapted to the final des- tinies of his being.

Powers of mind we call those faculties whose exer- cise is possible by force of reason singly. They are crea- tive, so far forth as their use is independent on experi- ence and observation, and rests on principles a priori. Some of their products are, the mathematics, logic, and metaphysic of ethics, which two last fall under the head of philosophy, viz. the speculative philosophy, where this word is taken, not to signify wisdom, as it ought to do, but only science; which last, however, may be subser- vient to advancing the ends of practical wisdom.

Powers of soul, again, are those which stand at the command of the understanding, and of the rule this last prescribes in order to attain the end it designs, and so depend to a certain extent on observation and experience. Instances of such powers are, memory, imagination, and the like, from which learning, taste, the graces of out- ward and inward accomplishments take their rise, and which can be employed as instrumental to a vast variety of ends.

Lastly, the culture of our bodily powers (gymnastic properly so called) is the caring for the stuff and materials of the man, apart from which instrument and engine, his ends could not be exerted into acts ; consequently, the in- tentional and regular revivifying of man's animal part is a duty owed by mankind to himself.



Which of these natural perfections may he the more eligible, and in what proportion, when compared with the remainder, it may be his duty to design them as his ends, must be left to the private reflection of each individual, who will decide, according to his taste for this or that kind of life, and according to the estimate he may make of his ability, whether he should follow some handicraft, or a mercantile employment, or become a member of a learned profession. Because, over and above the neces- sity man stands in of providing for his livelihood, a ne- cessity which never can of itself beget any obligation, it is a duty owed by man to himself to make himself of use to the world; this belonging to the worth of the humani- ty he represents, and which therefore he ought not to de- grade.

But this duty owed by man to himself in regard of his physical perfection, is only of indeterminate obligation. Because the law ordains only the maxims of the action, not the act itself; and, in regard of this last, determines neither its kind nor its degree, but leaves a vast latitude for man's free choice to roam or settle in.

§ 21. Of the Duty owed by Man to Himself of advancing his Ethical Perfection.

This consists, first of all, subjectively^ in the purity of his moral sentiments, where, freed from all admixture of sensitive excitement, the law is itself alone the spring of conduct ; and actions are not only conformable to what is


duty, but are performed because it is so, — be ye holy is here the commandment; — and, second, objectively ^ consists in attaining his whole and entire moral end, i. e. the exe- cution of his whole duty, and the final reaching of the goal placed before him as his mark, — the commandment here is, be ye perfect. The endeavour after this end is, in the case of mankind, never more than an advancement from one grade of ethical perfection to another. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, that study and pursue.


This duty towards one's self, is in its quality, determi- nate and strict ; but in degree it is of indeterminate obliga- tion, and that on account of the frailty of human nature ; for that perfection which it is our constant and incumbent duty to PURSUE, but never (at least in this life) to at- tain, and the obeying which, can by consequence, consist only in urging after it with an unfaultering and progres- sive step, is no doubt, in regard of the object (the idea to realize which, is end), detei*rainate, strict, and given; but in regard of the subject, is but a duty of indeterminate ob- ligation owed by mankind to himself.

The depths of the human heart are inscrutible. Who has such an exact self-knowledge as to be able to say, when he feels the impelling force of duty, that the mobile of his will is swayed singly by the naked idea of the law, and to declare that other sensitive excitements may not work along side of it and pollute it, — such as by-views of advantage, or of avoiding harm ? — considerations which on occasion might serve the turn of vice. Again, as for that perfection which concerns the accomplishment of


one's end, there can, it is true, be only one virtue objec- tively in idea, — the ethical strength of one's practical principles; but subjectively, in point of real fact and event, a vast number of virtues, of the most heterogeneous na- ture, amongst which it is not impossible some vice may lui'k, although it escapes observation, and is not so call- ed, on account of the virtues in whose company it ap- pears. But a sum of virtues, the completeness or defects of which no self-knowledge can accurately detect, can be- get only an indeterminate obligation to perfect our moral nature.

Whence we conclude, that all the moral duties, in re- spect of the ends of the humanity subsisting in our per- son, are duties of indeterminate obligation only.








§ 23.

The principal division of these obligations, may be made, into such duties as oblige our fellow-men, when we discharge them ; and, second^ into those which, when ob- served, entail upon the other no obligation of any sort. To fulfil the former is, in respect of others, meritorious; to fulfil the latter, of debt only. Love and reverence are the emotions, which go hand in hand, with our dis- charge of these two kinds of offices. These emotions may be considered separately, and in practice they may sub- sist, each for itself and apart from the other. Love of


our neighbour may take place even while he deserve but little REVERENCE : as, on the contrary, reverence is due to every man, althougli deemed hardly worth our love. But, properly speaking, they are at bottom, in- separably united by the law, in every duty owed by us, to our neighbour ; but this in such a manner, that some- times the one emotion is the leading principle of the duty of the person, along with which, the other follows as its accessory. Thus we regard ourselves obliged to benefit the poor ; but because this favour would imply his de- pendence for his welfare on my generosity, a case which would be humiliating for the other, it becomes my far- ther duty so to behave to him who accepts .my gift, as to represent this benefit either as a bare incumbent duty upon my part, or as a trifling mark of friendship, and to spare the other such humiliation, and to uphold his self- reverence in its integrity.


When we speak, not of laws of nature, but of laws of duty as regulating the external relation of man to man, we then regard ourselves in a cogitable ethic world, where, by analogy to the physical system, the combina- tion of Intelligents is figured to be effected by the joint action and re-action of attractive and repellent forces. By the principle of mutual love, they are destined for ever to APPROACH, and by that of reverence, to preserve their due ELONGATION from one another ; and were either of these mighty moral pririjeiples to be suspended, the moral system could not be upheld, and, unable to sustain itself against its own fury, would retrovert to chaos.



But LOVE must not be here understood to mean an emotion of complacency in the perfection of other people, there being no obligation to entertain feelings ; but this love must be understood as the practical maxim of good- will, issuing in beneficence as its result.

The same remark holds of the reverence to be de- monstrated towards others, which cannot be understood simply to mean, a feeling emerging from contrasting our own worth with that of another, — such as a child may feel for its parents, a pupil for his ward, or an inferior for his superior in raqk, — but must be taken to mean, the practi- cal maxim of circumscribing our own self-esteem, by the representation of the dignity of the humanity resident in the person of another ; that is, a practical reverence.

This duty of the free reverence owed to other men is properly, negative only, viz. not to exalt ourselves above others. It is in this way analogous to the juridical duty ^^ to do no wrong" and so might be taken for a strict and determinate obligation ; but, regarded as a moral duty, and a branch of the offices of charity, it is a duty of in- determinate obligation.

The duty of loving my neighbour may be thus express- ed, — that it is the duty of making my own the ends and interests of others, in so far as these ends are not immo- ral. The duty of reverencing my neighbour is expressed in the formula, to lower no man to be a bare means in- strumental towards the attaining my own ends, i. e. not to expect from any man that he should abase himself to be the footstool of my views.

By discharging the former duty, I at the same time ob-


lige the other ; I make myself well-deserving of him. But by the observance of the latter I oblige only myself, and keep myself within ray own bounds, so as not to withdraw from the other any of that worth he is entitled as a man to put upon himself.

§ 26. Of Philanthropy in general.

The love of our fellow-men must, because we under- stand by it practical benevolence, be understood, not as a love of complacency in our species, but as a maxim ac- tively to befriend them. He who takes delight in the welfare of his fellows, considered merely as belonging to his own species, is a philanthropist, — a Friend of Man- kind in general. He who alone finds delight in the mi- sery and woes of his neighbour, is a misanthrope. An EGOTIST is he who beholds with indifference the good or the bad fortunes of his neighbour. While that person who shuns society because he is unable to regard his fel- lows with complacency, although he wishes them all well, would be an ^Esthetic misanthrope ; and his aversion from his kind might be called anthropophoby.

§ 27.

Whether mankind be found worthy of love or not, a practical principle of good-will (active philanthropy) is a duty mutually owed by all men to one another, accord- ing to the ethical precept of perfection, love thy neigh- bour as thyself; for every ethical relation obtaining be- tween man and man is a relation subsisting in the repre- sentation of pure reason, i. e. is a relation of mankind's


free actions, according to maxims potentially fit for law universal, which maxims can therefore, in no event, be founded on an emotion of selfishness. The constitution of my nature forces me to desire and will every other person's benevolence ; wherefore, conversely, I am beholden to en- tertain good-will towards others ; but, again, because all others, except myself, are not all mankind, a maxim ex- pressing my active good-will towards all others, would want the absolute universality whereby alone the law has ethical virtue to oblige ; consequently the ethical law of benevolence must include my own person likewise with others, as the object of the commandment announced by practical reason : — which is not to say, that I thereby be- come obliged to love myself, such self-love obtaining of its own accord, and inevitably, but states, that legislative reason, which embraces in its idea of humanity the whole race (t. e. me likewise), includes in its universal legisla- tion, myself likewise, under the duty of reciprocal bene- volence ; and so renders it allowed for me to wish well to myself, under the condition that I cherish good-will towards every other person ; my maxim being thus alone fitted for law universal, whereon is based every law of duty whatsoever.


The good-will expressed in universal philanthropy, is extensively the greatest possible, but intensively (in degree) the most contracted ; and to say of any one, that he is interested in the welfare of his neighbour, as a general philanthropist, is to say, that the interest he takes in him is just the smallest possible, — he is merely not indifferent.


But of my fellows, one stands nearer to me than ano- ther ; and, so far as good-will is concerned, I am nearest to myself: how does this harmonise with the formula,

  • ' iMve thy neighbour as thyself?" If one is more my neigh-

bour (nearer to me in the obligation of benevolence) than another, and I thus am bound to more benevolence to- ward one person than toward another, and am, more- over, nearer to myself than to any other person ; then it would appear, that it cannot without contradiction be asserted that I ought to love all others as myself; this mea- sure, self-love, admitting no difference of degree. The smallest reflection, however, shows that the benevolence here intended, is not a bare wish, which last is properly an acquiescence in the happiness of my neighbour, while I myself contribute nothing towards it, according to the adage, — Every one for himself God for us all; but that we have to understand an active practical beneficence, which makes the welfare of others its end : and so in wishes I may have an equal kind intent to all, while actively the degree may be carried to any extent or measure, accord- ing to the difference of the beloved persons, some of whom may stand nearer to me than others, and all this without violating the absolute universality of the maxim.



A. Of the Duty of Beneficence.

To enjoy the bounties of fortune, so far as may be need- ful to find life agreeable, and to take care of one's animal part, but short of effeminacy and luxury, is a duty incum- bent on us to ourselves ; the contrary of which would be, sottishly to deprive one's self of the bounties of fortune, — either out of avarice, servilely, or out of an outrageous discipline of one's natural appetites, fanatically, — things both of which are repugnant to the duty owed by man- kind to himself.

But how comes it, that, over and above the benevolent wish, which costs me nothing, my fellows are entitled to expect that this wish should become practical, and be exerted into action, that is, how can we evince that be- neficence is due to the necessitous, from him who is pos- sessed of means empowering him to become kind. Bene- volence or good-will is the pleasure we take in the pros- perity and happiness of our neighbour: beneficence, again, would be the maxim to make that happiness our end ; and the duty to do so, is necessitation by the subject's own reason, to adopt this maxim as his universal law.

It is by no means evident, that any such law is origi- nated by reason ; on the contrary, it would seem, that the maxim, " Every one for himself God for us all,^' were far more natural. -n



§ 30.

To deal kindly toward our brethren of mankind who are in distress, without hoping- for any thing in return, and to aid them in extricating themselves out of it, is a mutual duty incumbent on us all.

For, every one who himself is in difficulties, desires to be aided by other men ; but if, on the contrary, he were to make the rule general, not to succour others when dis- tressed, then would every one refuse, or at least be en- titled, when such a law were announced as of catholic ex- tent, to refuse to him all assistance ; that is, a selfish prin- ciple of this kind, would, when elevated to the rank of law universal, be self-contradictory and self-destructive, that is, would be contrary to duty ; whence, conversely, we hold the social principle of mutual and joint assist- ance to one another in case of need, an universal duty owed by man to man : for, as fellow-beings, i. e. neces- sitous (by the finite constitution of their natures), they ought to consider themselves as stationed in this one dwell- ing to be fellow- workers to one another.


Beneficence, where a man is rich, i. e. enjoys the means of happiness to superfluity and beyond his own wants, is to be looked upon by the benefactor, not even as a meritorious duty, although his neighbour be obliged by it. The pleasure which he procures to himself, and which, after all, costs him no sacrifice, is a kind of moral luxury. He must likewise studiously avoid all appear- ance of intending to oblige the other by this means, be-


cause, otherwise, it would not be truly a benefit done to, but an obligation thrust upon, his neighbour, to come'un- der which, must needs make the latter stand a grade lower in his own eyes. He ought rather so to carry himself, as if he were the obliged and honoured by his neighbour's acceptance of his kindness, that is, he ought so to figure to himself, and so to represent the favour, as if it were of mere debt, and rather, when possible, exercise his good deeds quite in private. This virtue might deserve a yet greater name, when the ability to give benefits is curtail- ed, and the soul of the benefactor is so strong as to take upon himself, in silence, the evils which he spares the other from undergoing ; a case where he must be deemed ethically wealthy.

Casuistics. — How far ought the outlay expended by any one in deeds of charity to be carried ? Surely not till we ourselves came to stand in need of our friends' gene- rosity ? What may a benefit be worth, offered to us by a dead hand in his testament ? Does he who uses the right conferred upon him by the law of the land, of robbing some one of his freedom, and then making the other happy, according to his own notions of enjoyment ; can, I say, such a man be regarded as a benefactor, in consequence of the parental care he may take of his slave's welfare ? or is not the unrighteousness of bereaving any one of his freedom so grave a violation of the rights of man, that all the advantages his master could bestow, would cease to deserve the name of kindness ? or can he become so well- deserving of his slave by kindness, as to counteract and re- deem theviolation committed by him against his slave's per- son? It is impossible that I can act kindly toward any other (infants and madmen excepted) by force of my idea of his


happiness, but only by studying his ideas of welfare, to whom I wish to exhibit my affection, no kindness being truly shown when I thrust upon him a present without his will.

B. Of the Duty of Gratitude.

Gratitude is the venerating of another on account of a be- nefit we have received from him; the sentiment or emo- tion which goes hand in hand with such a judgment, is that of reverence toward the benefactor we are beholden to ; whereas this other stands toward the receiver in the relationship of love. A mere heart-felt generous good- will toward another, for a kindness shown us, even apart from any demonstrated regard, deserves the name of a moral duty ; and this would indicate a distinction betwixt an affectionate gratitude and an active thankfulness for a favour.

Gratitude is a duty, i. e. not a mere maxim of prudence, to engage my benefactor to yet greater degrees of kind- ness, by professing my obligation for what he has already done ; for that would be to use him as a means toward my by-ends; but gratitude is immediately made neces- sary by the moral law, i. e. it is a duty.

But gratitude must be regarded still further as a sacred duty, i. e. as such a duty, which to violate, would be to extinguish the moral principles of benevolence, even in their source; for that ethical object is sacrosanct and holy, in regard of whom, the obligation can never be ade- quately acquitted and discharged (that is, where the per- son who is indebted must always stand under the obliga- tion). All other is only ordinary and vulgar duty. But


there is no retribution which can acquit a person of a con- ferred benefit, the benefactor having always the good-de- sert of being first in the benevolence, an advantage which the receiver cannot take away. However, even without any active returns, a bare cordial good-will toward the be- nefactor is of itself a kind of gratitude; in this state of mind, we say that a person is grateful.


As for the extent of gratitude, it is not by any means confined to contemporaries, but goes back to our ances- tors, even to those whom we cannot certainly name. And this is the reason why it is considered indecorous not to defend the ancients as much as possible, against all at- tacks, invective, and slights ; the ancients being here con- sidered as our teachers ; althougli it were a ridiculous opinion to grant to them any superiority over the moderns, merely on account of their antiquity, either in their talents or in their kind intentions toward humanity, and to disre- gard what is new, in comparison of what is old, as if the world were continually declining from its primitive per- fection.

§ 34.

But as to the intensity of this duty, i. e. the degree in which we may be obliged to this virtue, that is to be esti- mated by the advantage we have derived from the benefit, and the disinterestedness which prompted the benefactor to bestow it on us, the least degree of gratitude would be, when our benefactor is alive, to repay to him the identic


service performed for us, or, when be is no more, to show like services to others. In all which, we must take good heed not to regard the benefit as a burden we would wil- lingly be rid of and discharge, but rather to hold and to accept of the occasion as an ethical advantage, i. e. as an opportunity afforded us to exercise and practise this virtue of gratitude, which does, by combining the ardour of bene- volence with its tenderness (perpetual unremitted atten- tion to the minutest shades of this duty), invigorate the growth of philanthropy.

C. Of the Duty of Sympathy.

To have a fellow-feeling with the joys and sorrows of our friends, is no doubt a physical emotion only ; and is an aesthetic susceptibility of pleasure or pain, on perceiv- ing these states obtain in another. There arises, however, from this disposition of our nature, a particular, but only conditionate duty, called humanity, to cultivate and em- ploy these physical springs as means of advancing an ef- fective and rational benevolence. The duty is called hu- manity, man being now regarded, not as a reasonable being, but as an animal endowed with reason. This sym- pathy may be regarded either as seated in the will and the ability to communicate to one another what we feel, or as seated in that physical susceptibility, which nature has implanted in us, for feeling in common the delights or misery of our neighbour. The former is free or liberal, and depends on practical reason ; the second is unfree and illiberal, as in pity, and may be called contagious, — like a susceptibility for heat or for distempers. The obligation extends to the former only.



It was a lofty cogitation of the Stoic sages, when they said, I would wish I had a friend, not to assist me in poverty, sickness, captivity, and so on, but whom I might be able to assist and rescue : and yet this very Sage again thus speaks, when the case of his friend is gone past remedy, what concern is it of mine ? i. e. he rejected pity.

And, in truth, when another suffers, and I allow my- self to be infected by his sorrow, which, however, I can- not mitigate nor avert, then two persons suffer, although naturally the evil affects one singly ; and it is quite in- conceivable that it can be any one's duty to augment the physical evils in the world ; and consequently there can be no obligation to act kindly out of pity. There is likewise an offensive variety of this pity, called mercy, by which is meant that kind of benevolence shown to the unworthy ; but such an expression of benevolence ought never to take place betwixt man and man, no one being entitled to boast of his worthiness to be happy.


But although it is no direct duty to take a part in the joy or grief of others, yet to take an active part in their lot is ; and so by consequence an indirect duty, to cultivate the sympathetic affections, and to make them serve as in- struments enabling us to discharge the offices of a hu- mane mind, upon ethical principles. Thus it is a duty not to avoid the receptacles of the poor, in order to save ourselves an unpleasant feeling, but rather to seek them out. Neither ought we to desert the chambers of the sick, nor the cells of the debtor, in order to escape the ])ainful sympathy we might be unable to repress, this emo-


tion being a spring implanted in us by nature, prompting to tbe discharge of duties, which the naked representa- tions of reason might be unable to accomplish.

Casuistical Question. — Would it not be better for the world if all morality and obligation were restricted to the forensic duties, and charity left among the adiapho- RA? It is not easy to foresee what effect such a rule might have on human happiness. But, in this event, the world would want its highest ethical decoration — charity — which does by itself alone, even abstractedly from all its advantages, represent the world as one fair moral whole.



These vices form the detestable family of envy, in- gratitude, and MALICE ; but the hate is in these vices not open and A'iolent, but veiled and secret ; and so, to the forgetfulness of one's duty toward one's neighbour, su- peradds meannesSi that is, a violation of wliat a man owes to himself.

A. Envy is the propensity to perceive the welfare of our neighbour with a grudge, even though our own hap- piness does not suffer by it, and, when it rises to the ex- treme of tempting any one actively to diminish his neigh- bour's happiness, is the highest and most aggravated kind of envy, although otherwise it is most commonly no more than JEALOUSY, and is only indirectly a wicked senti-


ment, viz. an ill-will at finding our own happiness cast into the shade by the surpassing prosperity of our neigh- bour ; and is a displeasure arising from not knowing how to estimate our own advantages, by their own intrinsic worth, but singly by comparing them with those enjoyed by others ; from hence come the expressions, the enviable concord and happiness of a married pair, or of a family, just as if these were cases where it were quite allowed to envy. The mov^ements of envy are implanted in the hu- man heart, and it is only their utterance, which can raise it, to the shocking and disgraceful spectacle of a peevish, self- tormenting passion, which aims, in its inward wish, at the destruction and ruin of the good fortune of another, — a vice alike contrary to what is due from us to our neigh- bour and to ourselves.

B. Ingratitude towards one's benefactor is, according to the common judgment of mankind, one of the most odious and hateful vices ; and yet our species is so noto- rious for it, that every one holds it for likely that he may create himself enemies by his benefits. The ground of the possibility of such a vice, lies in the misunderstood duty owed to one's self, not to come to need, or to sum- mon up, others to assist us, which lays us under obligation to them ; but rather to support alone, the calamities of life, than to pester our friends with them, and so to stand in their debt, which places us to others in the rela- tion of clients to a patron, a state subversive of a man's proper self-estimation. And this is the reason why gra- titude to those who have been by necessity before us and our antecessors, is always generously expressed : but scan- tily to our contemporaries ; or why even sometimes we invert the latter relation, and show the contrary of grati-


306 or THE VICES

tude, to make insensible the unequal obligation. How- ever, this is a vice at which humanity always revolts, not only on account of the prejudice, which such an example must entail, by deterring mankind from benevolence (for this benevolence would, when the ethic sentiment is pure, be only so much the more worth, when disdaining even this hope of recompense), but because the duties of philanthropy are inverted, and the want of love is transmuted to a title to hate those by whom we have been first beloved.

C. Malice is the exact counterpart of sympathy, and denotes joy at the sorrow of another ; nor is it any stran- ger to our frame ; but it is only when it goes so far as to do ill, or to assist the miscreant in executing his nefarious designs, that it appears in all its horrors, and presents the finished form of misanthropy, or the hatred of our SPECIES. It is quite inevitable, by the laws of imagination, not to feel more vividly our own welfare or good deport- ment, when the miseries or the scandalous behaviour of others, serve as a foil to set off the brighter hues of our own state ; but to find immediate joy in the existence of such portentous disasters as subvert the general welfare of our kind, or to wish that such enormities should happen, is an inward hate of mankind, and the veriest anti-part of the offices of charity which are incumbent on us. The insolence of some upon uninterrupted prosperity, and their arrogancy upon their good deportment (properly upon their good fortune, to have escaped seduction to any public vice), both which advantages the selfish imputes to him- self as his deserts, are the causes productive of this miser- able joy on their reverse of fortune, a joy quite opposed to the sympathetic maxim of honest Chremes, "/«m a mauy and I take an interest in all that relates to inankind,"


Of this joy in tlie misery of another, there is a sort which is at once the sweetest, and which seems even to rest on some title of justice, nay, where it would appear that we stood under an obligation to pursue the misery of an- other as our end, abstracting from all views of our own advantage, and that is the case of the desire for vengeance.

Every act violating the rights of man deserves punish- ment, by which the sufferer is not only indemnified, but where the crime itself is avenged upon the transgressor. Punishment, however, is no act emanating from the pri- vate authority of the injured, but from that of a tribunal different from himself, which gives effect to the Laws of a Sovereign to whom all are subject ; so that when we con- sider mankind as in a society (as Ethic demands of us) combined, not by civil laws, but by laws of reason sing- ly, it remains that no one can be entitled to decern a pu- nishment, and to avenge the insults received from man- kind, except He who is the Supreme moral Lawgiver ; and He alone, i.e.GoB, can say, " Vengeance is mine; I will repay. ^' Upon this account it is a moral duty, not only not to pursue with avenging hatred the aggressions of another, but even not to summon up the Judge of the World to vengeance ; partly because man has himself so much guilt as to stand too much in need of pardon ; and also partly and principally because no vengeance or punish- ment ought to be inflicted out of hatred. Placability is therefore a duty owed by man to man, which, however, is not to be confounded with a soft tolerance of injuries. This last consists in abstaining from employing rigorous means to obviate the continued provocations offered us by others ; and would be an abandonment of one's rights, and a violation of the duty owed by man to himself.


Remark. — All those vices which make human natm*e hateful when they are practised upon system, are objec- tively inhuman; but, subjectively, experience teaches us that they belong to our species. So that though some people may, from their extreme horror of them, have called such vices DEVILISH, and the opposite virtues angelic, yet such notions express only a maximum, used as a standard, in order to compare the particular grade of morality an ac- tion has, by assigning to man his place in heaven or in hell, without allowing a middle station betwixt either for him to occupy. Whether Haller has hit it better, when he speaks of man being an ambiguous mongrel betwixt angel and brute, I shall here leave undecided ; but to halve or strike averages when comparing heterogeneous things, gives birth to no definite conception ; and nothing can as- sist us in classifying beings, according to the unknown differences of their ranks. The first division into angelic virtues and devilish vices is exaggerated, the second is ob- jectionable ; for though mankind do, alas ! sometimes fall into brutal vices, yet that is no ground for assigning to their vices, a root peculiar to our species, as little as the stunting of some trees in the forest, justifies us in taking them for a particular kind of shrub.



Moderation in one's pretensions, i. e. the voluntary cir- cumscription of a man's own self-love by the self-love of others, is modesty or discreetness. The wantof this mo-


deration in regard of the demands we make to be loved by others, is self-love ; but this indiscreetness in pretend- ing to the consideration of others, is self-conceit. The reverence I entertain toward any one, or that observance which another may demand from me, is the recognition and acknowledgment of a dignity in the person of another ; i. e. of a worth exalted beyond all price, and admitting no equivalent, in exchange for which the object of my esti- mation could be bartered. The judgment that somewhat is possessed of no worth at all, is contempt.


Every man may justly pretend to be reverenced by his fellows, and he ought in turn to accord to them his. Humanity is itself a Dignity ; for no man can be employed, neither by others nor by himself, as a mere instrument, but is always to be regarded as an end ; in which point, in fact, his Dignity, i. e. his Personality consists, and where he stands pre-eminent over all other creatures in the world, — not of his kind, and which yet may be used, and stand at his command. And as he cannot dispose of himself for any price (which would be subversive of his own self- reverence), neither is he at liberty to derogate from the equally necessary self-reverence of others as men, i. e. he is obliged practically to recognise the Dignity of every other man's Humanity, and so stands under a duty based on that reverential observance, which is necessarily to be demonstrated towards every other person.



To DESPISE others, i. e. to refuse them that reverence we owe to mankind at large, is, in any event, contrary to duty: to think but little of them, when compared with others, is sometimes inevitable, but externally to demonstrate such disregard, is at all times offensive. What thing soever is dangerous, is no object of disregard, and consequently the vicious is not so ; and if my superiority to his attacks should authorize me to say I despise him, the only mean- ing such words can have is, that there is no danger to be apprehended from him, even though I take no precau- tions, because he shows himself in his full deformity. Nevertheless, I am not entitled to refuse, even to the vi- cious, all consideration in his capacity as a man, this last being inalienable, although the other make himself un- worthy of it. Hence it comes that some punishments are to be reprobated, as dishonouring Humanity (such are drawing and quartering, to be devoured by wild beasts, demembration of the eyes and ears), which are often more grievous to the unhappy sufferer, than the loss of goods and life, on account of the afflicting degradation they im- port (and impeding his pretending to the reverence of others, which indeed every man must do) ; and they also make the spectator blush, to know that he belongs to a race, which some dare to treat in such a manner.

Note. — Upon this is founded a duty of reverence for man, even in the logical use of reason; viz. not to repre- hend his blunders under the name of absurdities, not to say that they are inept, but rather to suppose that there must be something true at bottom in them, and to endeavour to find out what this is : to which would be attached the


still further duty, of exerting ourselves to discover the false appearance by which the other was misled {i. e. the subjective of the judgment, which by mistake was taken for objective), and thus, by explaining to him the ground of his error, to uphold for him his reverence for his own understanding. And truly, when we deny all sense to an adversary, how can we expect to convince him that he is in the wrong. The same remark holds of the reproach of vice, which ought never to be allowed to rise to a com- plete contempt of the vicious, so as to refuse him all moral worth; this being a hypothesis according to which he never could redintegrate his moral character, — a state- ment repugnant to the very idea of a man, who being, as such, a moral being, can never lose the originary substra- tum for a good will.

§ 40.

Reverence for law, which subjectively was styled the moral sense, is identic with what is called the sense of duty ; and this is the reason why the demonstration of re- verence toward mankind, as a moral agent (highly vene- rating the Law), is a duty owed by others towards him, and, in his case, a right which he cannot abdicate. The standing upon this right, is called the love of honour, and the expression of it, in one's external conduct, is deco- rum : — the infraction whereof is what is called " scandaly^' and is a disregard of this right, which may be followed as an example by others, whence it is highly reprehensible to give any such ; although, to take such scandal, at what is merely paradoxical, and a mere deviation from the common fashion, is a mere fantastic whim mistaking


the uncommon for the disallowed, and an error highly prejudicial and perilous to virtue. For, the reverence due to others, who display by their conduct an example, ought never to degenerate into a mere servile copying of their manners (which would be to raise a custom into the autho- rity of a law), a tyranny of the popular use and wont, al- together subversive of the duty owed by man to himself.

§ 41.

To omit the offices of charity, is merely non-virtue (a fault) ; but to neglect the duties founded on the incum- bent reverence due to every man whatsoever, is a vice. When the first are disregarded, no one is offended ; but by the breach of the latter, the just rights of mankind are affected : the one is merely negative of virtue ; but that which not only is no moral acquisition, but which abolish- es that worth which ought otherwise to belong to the sub- ject, is vice. Upon this account, the duties owed toward one's neighbour, in respect of the reverence he is entitled to challenge, admit of a negative enunciation only ; i, e. this moral duty is expressed indirectly, by forbidding its opposite.


These Vices are, A. Pride ; B. Backbiting ; C. Sneering,

Pride (superbia), i. e. the thirst to be always upper- most, is a kind of ambition, where we impute to others,


that they will think meanly of themselves when contrast- ed with us, and is a vice subverting that reverence for which every man has a legal claim.

Pride differs entirely from "^er^," considered as a love of honour, i. e. care to abate nothing of one's dignity as a man, when compared with others; and which ^er^^ is on that account often spoken of as noble, for the proud de- mands from others a reverence which he refuses to return them. But this j^er^ becomes faulty, and even insulting, when it presumes, that others will occupy themselves with its importance.

That PRIDE is UNJUST is manifest of itself; for it is a courting of followers by the ambitious, whom he deems himself entitled to handle contemptuously, and so is re- pugnant to the reverence due to humanity in general. It is also FOLLY, since it uses means to attain somewhat as an end, which is nowise worth being followed as such. Nay, it is even stupidity, i. e. an insult upon common sense, to use such means as must produce directly the contrary eflFect ; since every man refuses his reverence to the proud, the more the haughty endeavours after it. But it is perhaps not quite so obvious that the proud is always, at the bottom of his soul, mean and abject ; for he never could impute to others, that they would think lightly of them- selves in comparison with him, were he not inwardly con- scious that, on a reverse of fortune, he would have no diflSculty to sneak in his turn, and to renounce every pre- tension to be reverenced by others.


§ 43. B. Detraction.

To speak evil of one's neighbour, or backbiting, by which I do not mean calumny, a verbal injury which might be prosecuted before a court of justice, but by which I understand the appetite (apart from any particu- lar purpose) to spread about reports to the disparagement of the reverence due to others, is contrary to the reve- rence owed to mankind in general ; because every scandal we give, weakens this reverence, on which emotion how- ever, depends the spring toward the moral-good, and in fact tends to make people disbelieve in its existence.

The studied and wilful propagation of any what, im- peaching the honour of another (not made judicially be- fore a court), even allowing it were quite true, diminishes the reverence due to mankind at large, and goes to throw upon our species a shadow of worthlessness, and tends finally to make misanthropy or contempt the ruling cast of thinking mankind entertain for one another, and blunts away the moral sense, by habituating the person to the contemplation of scenes and anecdotes of his neigh- bour's vileness. It is therefore a duty, instead of a ma- lignant joy, in exposing the faults of others, so as thereby to establish one's self in the opinion of being as good, at least not worse, than others ; to cast, on the contrary, a veil of charity over the faults of others, not merely by softening our judgments, but by altogether suppressing them ; because examples of reverence bestowed on others may excite the endeavour to deserve it. Upon this self- same account the spying and prying into the customs and manners of others, is an insulting pretext to a know- ledge of the world, and of mankind, against which, every


man may justly set himself, as violating the reverence due him.

§ 44. C. Scorn.

The propensity to exhibit others as objects of ridicule, SNEERING {persiflage) i. e. the making the faults of others the immediate object of one's amusement, is wickedness, and quite diflPerent from jesting, where, amid familiar friends, certain peculiarities of one of their number are laughed at, but not to scorn ; but to exhibit, as the object of ridicule, one's real faults, or, still more, alleged faults, as were they real, with the intent of depriving any one of the reverence due to his person, and the propensity to do so by biting sarcasm, is a sort of diabolic pleasure, and is so much the graver a violation of the duty of reverence owed toward other people.

Contradistinguished from this, is the jocose retortion, nay even the sarcastic retortion, of the insolent attacks of an adversary, where the «neerer (or generally a mali- cious but impotent antagonist) is sneered down in return, and is a just defence of that ^verence we are entitled to exact from the other. But when the topic is no object of wit, and one in which reason takes an ethical interest, then it is better, no matter how much soever the adver- sary may have sneered, and so have exposed many points for ridicule and sarcasm, and is also more conformable to the dignity of the matter, and to the reverence due to- ward humanity, either to make no defence at all against the attack, or otherwise to conduct it with dignity and seriousness.

Note. — It will be observed, that in the foregoing chap-


ter, it is not virtues that are insisted on, but rather the contrary vices which have been reprehended ; and this arises from the very notion of reverence, which, as we are bound to demonstrate it towards others, is but a negative duty singly ; I am not obliged to revere others (regarded simply as men), i. e. to pay them positive veneration. The whole reverence to which I am naturally beholden is to- ward the law ; to observe which law and its reverence, in my intercourse with my fellow-men, is a universal and unconditionate duty, although it is not to entertain posi- tive reverence toward other men in general, nor to be- stow upon them any such ; whereas the other, viz. the ne- gative, is the originary reverence owed to, and challenge- able from whomsoever. The reverence to be demonstrat- ed to others, according to their diflferent qualities and various accidental relations, such as age, sex, descent, strength or fragility, and those things which mainly rest on arbitrary institutions, cannot be expounded at length, nor classed in the metaphysic principles of ethics, since here we study singly the pure principles of reason.



This chapter, consisting of a single paragraph, is omit- ted as immaterial.




§ 46. Of the Intimate Blending of Lave with Reverence in Friendship.

Friendship, regarded in its perfection, is tlie union of two persons by mutual equal love and reverence. It is then an Ideal of sympathy and of fellow-feeling, in weal or woe, betwixt the reciprocally united by their ethical good- will ; and if it do not effectuate the whole happiness of life, still the adopting such a double of good-will, into both their sentiments, comprehends in it, a worthiness to become so ; whence it results, that to seek friendship, is a duty.

But although friendBhip, as a maximum of reciprocal kind intent, is no vulgar and common, but an honourable duty, proposed to us by reason : still it is easy to see, that an entire friendship, is a naked, although a practically ne- cessary idea, and unattainable in any given circumstances. For how can any man exactly measure and adjust the due proportion obtaining between the duty of reverence and that of love toward his friend ? For, should the one party become more fervent in love, then he must dread lest he sink upon that very account in the reverence of the other. How can it then be reasonably expected, that both the friends should bring into a due equipoise, that love 'and esteem which are required to constitute this virtue ? The one principle is attractive, the other repel- lent ; so that the former ordains approximation, while the



latter demands that a decorous distance be maintained, a limitation of intimacy expressed in the well-known rule, " that even the very best friends must not make them- selves too familiar;" and which conveys a maxim, valid not only for the superior towards the inferior, but also vice versa ; for the superior finds his dignity encroached on unadvisedly, and might perhaps willingly wish the reve- rence of his inferior suspended for the instant, but never abrogated, which, if once injured, is irrecoverably gone for ever, even though the old ceremonial be re-established on the former footing.

Friendship, therefore, in its purity and entirety, figured to be attainable, as between Orestes and Pylades, Theseus and Pirithous, is the hobby of novel-writers; whereas Aristotle has said, Alas ! my friends, there is no friend- ship. The following remarks may serve to point out the difficulties encumbering it.

Viewed ethically, it is doubtless a duty, that one friend make the other aware of his faults, for that is for his good, and so is one of the offices of charity; but his other half discovers in this, a want of reverence, and fears that he has already sunk in this esteem, or at least is apprehen- sive, since he is scrutinised and censured, that this danger is close at hand ; nay, that he is watched and observed by his friend, appears to him already akin to insult.

A friend in need, how desirable is he not ? that is, when he is an active fi'iend, ready to help out of his own re- sources and exertion. It is, however, a grievous burden to be chained to the destiny of another, and to go laden with a foreign sorrow. Upon this account, friendship is not a union intended for mutual and reciprocal advantage; but this union must be purely moral, and the assistance


either may count upon from the other, in case of need, cannot be held the end and motive towards it, for then the one party would forfeit the reverence of the other ; this help can only be undei'stood to signify and denote the out- ward mark of their inward hearty good-will, without ever suffering it to be put to trial, which is dangerous ; each friend magnanimously endeavouring to spare his counter- part any burden, and not only to support it all alone himself, but farther, altogether to hide and conceal it from his view, while he at the same time can always flat- ter himself, that in an exigency he could confidently call for aid on the other. But when the one accepts a benefit from the other, then he may count on an equality in their love, but not in their reverence ; for he plainly stands one grade lower, being indebted, and unable to oblige in re- turn.

Friendship is, on account of the sweetness of the sen- sation arising from the mutual possession of one another, approaching indeed almost to a melting together, some- what so exceedingly tender, that when it is hung upon feelings, it is not secure a single instant from interrup- tion, but demands for its guard that the mutual surren- der and confidence, be conducted upon principles or firm rules circumscribing love by demands of reverence. Such interruptions are frequent among the uneducated, which yet do not produce any rupture (for biting and scratching is common folks' wooing) ; they cannot let each other alone, and yet cannot bring themselves into harmony, the very rupture being wanted to sustain the intimacy, and give a relish to the sweetness of reconciliation. At all events, the love of friendship cannot be impassioned ; for this is blind, and in the sequel evaporates.



Moral friendship, as contradistinguished from the ses- thetical, is the entire confidence of two people, who reci- procally impart to one another their private opinions and emotions, so far as such surrender can consist with the reverence due from one to the other.

Man is destined for society, although in part unsocial ; and in his progress through life, he feels the mighty need to confide himself to others, and that without having any farther end in view. On the other hand, he is warned to fear the misuse others might make of this disclosure of his sentiments, and so sees himself compelled to lock up within himself a good deal of the judgments he forms, particularly with regard to other men. He would fain con- verse with others relative to their opinions of the govern- ment, religion, and what they think of the society he mixes in ; but he dare not hazard it, for others, by cauti- ously concealing their sentiments, might employ his to his disadvantage. He would willingly unbosom to ano- ther his wants, defects, errors, and faults ; but he must dread that that other would conceal Ais, and that he might forfeit that other's reverence, were he to disclose his si- tuation candidly.

So that if he find a man who has good sentiments and understanding, and to whom he can open up his heart unreservedly, without apprehending that danger, and who generally falls in with his way of thinking, then he may give vent to his thoughts. He is no longer alone, im- prisoned with his opinions, but goes forth to enjoy free- dom, which he is precluded from, amidst the great mass of people. Every -one has secrets, and dare not blindly in-


trust himself to others, partly owing to the ignoble cast of thinking of the most, who would abuse the secret against his interests, and partly owing to the want of understanding of many, i. e. their indiscretion, and being unable to dis- criminate betwixt what things are fit to be repeated and what not. Now it is exceedingly seldom to find those qualities together in the same Subject, especially since friendship demands that this intelligent and intimate friend deem himself obliged not to communicate the secret he has been intrusted with, to any other, how trust-worthy so- ever he may think him, at least without the consent of the other.

Notwithstanding all this, the pure moral friendship is no ideal, but is to be found extant here and there, in its perfection. But that intermeddling friendship which mo- lests itself with the ends of other men, even though it does so out of love, can have neither the purity nor that en- tireness, which is indispensable towards a defined maxim, and is only an ideal in wish, which, in cogitation, it is true, has no bounds, but must in observation and experience shrink within a very narrow compass.

A FRIEND OF MAN, is he wlio takes an aesthetic parti- cipation in the welfare of his race, and who never will dis- turb it, but with inward regret. This phrase, however, FRIEND OF MAN, is more limited than that of a philan- thropist, for the FRIEND cherishes the representation of the equality of his species, and has at least the idea of becoming indebted to them, even while he obliges them, where he figures to himself all mankind as brethren un- der a common Father, who wills their joint and common happiness. For the relation of protector, as benefactor, relatively to the protected, is no doubt one of love, but


not of friendship, the reverence due from each to other not being alike. The duty to cherish good-will to MANKIND AS THEIR FRIEND (a neccssary condescension), and the laying to heart of this duty, serves as a guard against pride, which is tx>o apt to invade the prosperous, who possess the resources of good deeds.



It is a duty both to one's self and to others to bring his ethical accomplishments into society, and not to isolate himself; to make, no doubt, himself still the immoveable centre of his own principles, but then he ought to regard this circle which he has drawn around him as capable of expansion, till it swell to the size of the most cosmopoliti- cal spirit, not in order immediately to advance the end of the whole world, but only to advance the means which in- directly tend thitherwards, viz. urbanity of manners, so- ciability, aifability, and decorum, and so to accompany the Graces with the Virtues ; to establish which companion- ship, is itself one of the offices of virtue.

All these are, it is true, no more than mere by-work (parerga), or accessory virtues, giving a fair virtuous ap- pearance. These, however, never deceive, as every body knows for how much they are to pass current. They are va- lid only as small coin, and yet conduce to strengthen man's virtuous sentiments, were it even merely by awakening the endeavour to bring this outward form as near as pos- sible to a reality, in rendering us accessible, conversible.


polite, hospitable, and engaging in our daily intercourse ; which things, although one and all of them, no more than a mere manner of behaviour, do, by being obligatory forms of sociability, at the same time oblige others, and promote the cause of virtue, by making it beloved.

A question may, however, be raised, whether we may venture to frequent the society of the wicked? But we cannot avoid meeting with them, unless by withdrawing from the world ; and besides, our judgment as to their cha- racters is incompetent. But whenever vice is a scandal, i. e. is an openly given example of unblushing contempt for strict laws of duty, and does therefore entail the in- famy of dishonour, then all former intercourse must be broken up, or at least carried on as sparingly as possible, even should the law of the land annex no punishment to the crime ; for to continue in society with such a person, is to throw a stain on honour, and to prostitute the virtues of sociability to whomsoever is rich enough to bribe his parasites with the voluptuousnesses of luxury.






That virtue must be acquired, and is not innate, results from the very notion of it, and does not need that we should recur to what observation and experience teaches in Anthropology ; for the ethic strength were not virtue, unless it were brought forth by the firmness of man's re- solution when combating against such mighty withstand- ing appetites. It is the product of pure practical reason, so far forth as this last does, by the consciousness of her superiority in freedom, gain the mastery over those.

That ethics therefore can, and needs must be taught, is corollary only from the position, that it is not born with us. It is accordingly a science (a doctrine^ t. e. a demon- strated theory) ; but since, by the mere knowledge how we ought to behave, no power is gained of exerting that knowledge into act, the old Stoics were of opinion that virtue could not be taught hortatively by the naked repre-



sentatioD duty, but behoved to be cultivated by the asce- tic exercise of encountering the inward enemy in man. For no man can straightway do anywhat he wills to do, unless he have first tried his powers, and practised them ; to which, however, the determination must be taken all at once. And in the case of virtue, any intention to ca- pitulate with vice, or parley as to the gradual evacuation of its territory, would be itself impure, and even vicious ; and the product of such a sentiment could not be virtue, this last depending on one only principle.

§ 50.

Now, as to virtue's scientific method, — and every scien- tific doctrine must be methodic if it is not to be tumul- tuary, — this method cannot be fragmentary, but must be systematic, if ethics is to be represented as a science. But the treatment of it may be either acroamatic, or it may be erotematic. In the former case, those whom we address are auditors simply ; in the latter, we interrogate the pupil. This erotematic method, again, is subdivided into the dialogical, where the science is questioned out of the pupil's reason, and into the catechetic, where, out of his memory. When we intend to evolve anywhat out of the reason of another, it can be done only by the dialogue, the master and the disciple mutually interrogating and responding. The master conducts by his questions the pupil's train of thinking, by merely laying before him certain select instances, adapted for starting the substra- tum of given notions. The disciple is thus aroused to the consciousness of his own ability to think, and even does, by his re-interrogation (called forth by the obscurity



or the doubtfulness of his master's tenets), teach the teach- er, how best to frame the dialogue : as the old proverb has it, docendo disdmus.


The first and most necessary instrumental for convey- ing ethical information to the altogether untutored, would be an ethical catechism. It ought to go before the reli- gious catechism, and to be taught separately, and quite in- dependent of it, and not, as is too often done, taught along with it, and thrust into it, as it were by parentheses ; for it is singly on pure ethic principles that a transit can be made from virtue to religion, and when the case is other- wise, the confessions are insincere. Upon this account it is that our most celebrated theological dignitaries have hesitated to compose a catechism for the statutable FAITH (creed), and thereby to stand, as it were, surety for it ; whereas, one might have thought that so scanty a service was the very least we were entitled to expect, from the vast stores of their learning.

On the contrary, the composition of a pure moral cate- chism as a ground-sketch of the moral duties, does not lie open to the like scruple or to the same difficulty ; the whole matter of it, admitting of being evolved out of every person's common sense ; and its form only, requiring adap- tation to the didactic rules of an elementary instruction. The formal principle, however, of this kind of instruction, does not admit of the dialogo-Socratic method, the pupil not yet knowing what he has to ask. The teacher, there- fore, alone catechises ; and the answers, which are to be methodically elicited from the reason of the pupil, should


be drawn up iu definite, unchanging terms, and then in- trusted for conservation to his memory. In which latter point it is, that the catechetic method differs from the acroamatic, where the teacher alone speaks ; as also from the dialogic, where the interrogatories are mutual.


The experimental mean, the technique of moral educa- tion, is the good example of the teacher himself, his own conduct being exemplary, and the warning one of others ; for, copying is what first starts the causality of the will of the unlearned, and induces him to project those max- ims which, in the sequel, he adopts. Habit is the esta- blishment of a continual and permanent appetite, apart from any maxim, and springs from abandonment to re- peated gratification, and is merely a mechanism of the sensory, and not any principle of cogitation ; and to wean one's self from it, is usually more difficult than to bring it forth. But as to the power of examples (whether to good or to evil) offered to our propensity for copying, it is to be noted, that the conduct of no one, can become the rule of ours, so as to found any maxims and principles of virtue ; these consisting always just in the subjective auto- nomy of every man's own practical reason, where no external behaviour but only the law is the standard whereon we regulate the determinations of our will. The instructor will, for this reason, never say to an ill-thriv- ing pupil, take an example from that good, orderly, stu- dious boy ; for the pupil can only take occasion to hate his model, from seeing himself placed by him in so disad- vantageous a light. A good example ought not to be


made a copy, but should be used to serve in showing the practicability of our duty. It is not a comparison with any other man " as he is,"" but with the idea of humanity « as he ought to be" i. e. with the law, that must sup- ply the preceptor with an infallible standard of educa- tion.



The preceptor questions out of the reason of his scho- lar what he wishes to teach him ; and if, by hazard, this last cannot answer, then the other dexterously suggests to him the responses.

Preceptor. What is thy chief desire in life ? Scholar. Remains silent.

P. That every thing should succeed and prosper with thee, according to thy whole heart and wish, — how is such a situation called ? S. is silent.

p. It is called happiness (welfare, comfort, entire feli- city). Now, suppose that thou had'st confided to thee all the happiness which is at all possible ; would'st thou keep it to thyself, or would'st thou impart some of it to others ? S. I would share it with my fellows, that they also might be happy and contented.

P. Good : that says somewhat for thy heart. Let us now see how it stands with thy head. Would'st thou give the sluggard, cushions to while away his time in sloth? would'st thou allow the drunkard wine, and the occasions


of excess ; or give the deceiver captivating form and man- ners, that he might entrap others ? would'st thou give the robber intrepidity and strength ? These are some means, whereby each of the above, hope to become happy, after a manner.

S. Oh, no ; not at all.

P. So that, if thou had'st at thy disposal all possible happiness, and had'st likewise the completely good-will to bestow it, thou would'st not unreflectingly confer it on the first comer, but would'st previously inquire how far he might be worthy, of such happiness as he aspired after ; but as for thyself, thou would'st probably, without hesita- tion, provide for thee whatever would conduce to thy welfare. S. Yes.

P. But would not then the question occur to thee, to inquire if thou thyself wert altogether worthy of such happiness ?

S. Yes, it would.

P. That within thee which pants for happiness, is ap- petite : that, again, which limits and restricts this appetite for happiness to the prior condition of thy being worthy of it, is thy reason : and that thou by force of thy rea- son can'st contain and conquer thy appetites, that, is the freedom of thy will. And in order to know what is to be done to partake of happiness, and at the same time not to become unworthy of it, the rule and the instruction lies all alone in thy reason ; that is to say, it is not needful for thee to learn the rule of thy conduct from observation and experience, nor from others in education. Thy own REASON teaches and commands thee forthwith what thou hast to do : e. g. suppose the case were put, that by a


dexterous lie thou could'st extricate thyself or thy friend from some near embarrassment, and that without preju- dice to any other, — what would thy reason say to such a matter ?

S. Reason says that I ought not to lie, be the advan- tages of falsehood ever so great. Lying is mean, and makes man unworthy to be happy. Here is an uncondi- tionate injunction of reason to be obeyed, in the face of which all appetite and inclination must be silent.

P. How do'st thou call this absolute necessity of acting conformably to a law of reason ? S. Duty.

P. The observance, then, of a man's duty is the only and the unchanging condition of his worthiness to be made happy ; and these two are identic and the same. But admitting that thou wert conscious of such a good and effective will, whereby thou mightest deem thyself worthy, at least not unworthy, of felicity, can'st thou ground upon that, any certain hope of becoming one day happy ?

S. No, not upon that alone ; for it is neither in our own power to secure our welfare, nor is the course of na- ture so adjusted as to fall in with good-desert ; and the chances of life depend on events over which we have no control. Our happiness must remain a bare wish, and cannot even convert itself to hope, unless some foreign power undertake it for us.

P. Has reason any grounds for believing in, as real, any such supreme power, dealing out happiness and misery according to desert and guilt, having sway over the whole physical system, and governing the world with the ex- treraest wisdom : i. e. to hold that God is ?


S. Yes ; for we discover in those works of nature we can judge of, manifested, the traces of a wisdom so vast and profound, that we can account for it only by ascrib- ing it to the unsearchable skill of a Creator,* from whom we deem ourselves entitled to expect a no less admirable adjustment of the world's moral order, which latter is in- deed its highest harmony ; that is to say, we may one day hope to become partakers of happiness, if we do not, by our forgetfulness of duty, make ourselves unworthy of it.


In this catechism, which ought to go in detail over all the virtues and vices, it is of the most vital moment that the behests of duty be not based on any advantages or incon- veniences springing from their observance, to the man who stands obliged by them, no not even on the good re- sults accruing to others ; but that abstraction being made from all such, those behests be immediately grounded on the pure moral law itself, the others may indeed be men- tioned, but only by the by, and as superfluities. It is the shame, and not the damage, that goes hand in hand with vice, that is at all points to be insisted on. For when the dignity of virtue in action is not extolled beyond every thing, then is the very idea duty thawed down and resolved into a mere dictate of expediency. That which ennobles and gives state to man fades out of his con- sciousness, and he, despoiled of the enchantm£nt that would have guided him unscaithed through life, stands

  • This does not contradict what was said at p. 159. There the ques-

tion was oi a priori knowledge. Here Kant only talks of belief. (T.)


venal for any price, his seductive appetites may bid for him.

When these instructions have been exactly and wisely evolved from the reason of the pupil, according to the dif- ferent stages of rank, age, or sex, mankind may be pre- sented in : then there remains yet somewhat which inly searches and shakes the soul to its foundation, and places man in a position, where he can only behold himself, struck with unbounded admiration at the aspect of the originary substratum of his nature; — an impression no time can ever afterwards deface. When all his duties are briefly recapitulated to him in their order, and he is made observant at each one of them, that no evils, nor tribula- tions, nor ills of life, no not even imminent death, which may be threatened, if he adhere faithful to his duty, are able to Jessen, or to take away his consciousness of being independent on all such, and their master. Then the ques- tion lies very near him. What is that within thee that dare trust itself, to go forth to encounter and to brave every vicissitude in the physical system, within thee and without thee ; in the confident conviction that thou can'st surmount the whole of them, if they collide with thy ethi- cal resolves? When this question, which presents itself of its own accord, but which far transcends all ability of speculative reason to investigate or explore, — when this question, I say, is once laid properly to heart, then must even the incomprehensible of the might retected in this part of self-knowledge, fire the soul to unsheath a yet keener energy of reason, and prompt her to the more inly hallowing of her law, the more temptation solicits to for- sake it.

In this ethic catechetical instruction, it would conduce


not a little to facilitate the advancement of the pupil, to propose, at the analysis of each duty, a few questions in casuistry, and then let the whole scholars try their skill in disentangling themselves from the puzzle. Not alone because this manner of sharpening the judgment is the very best adapted to the capacity of beginners, but espe- cially because it is man's nature to acquire a liking and relish for studies he is at length well versant in, and has urged to the grade of science ; and thus the pupil is un- awares drawn over, by unsuspected steps, to the interests of morality. ,;

But it is of the very last moment, in all education, not to mix up and amalgamate the religious with the moral catechism ; and yet of higher, not to suffer " tJw£^ to pre- cede " this" but always to endeavour, with the greatest diligence and detail, to bring the understanding to the clearest insight in ethical topics ; for, when the case is otherwise, religion slides imperceptibly, and in the se- quel into HYPOCRISY ; and mankind is driven hy fear, to lie in the face of his own conscience, an acknowledgment of duties in which his heart takes no share.





The rules for the exercise of virtue, are intended to bring about and establish these two moods or frames of mind, viz. to make it (1) hardy and (2) cheerful in the discharge of duty. Virtue has to combat obstacles, for the vanquishing of which she has to rally all her forces ; and is also sometimes summoned to quit and yield up the joys of life, the loss of which may well sadden the soul, and might even make it dark and sulky. But he who does not do, what he has to do with alacrity, but renders the servile services of bondage, finds no inward worth in the obeying of the law, but dislikes it ; and will shun as much as possible all occasions of observing it.

The culture of virtue, i. e. the ethical ascetics, has, in regard of its first element, i. e. for the valiant, dauntless indefatigable practice of virtue, no other than the old watchword of the Stoa {avt^ov xai uTe^ov, bear and for- bear). Bear, endure the evils of life without complaint ; FORBEAR, abstain from its superfluous enjoyments. This is a kind of diatetics, enabling man to keep himself ethically in health. Health however is, after all, only a negative satisfaction, and is not itself capable of being made sen- sible. Something must be superadded (viz. the second element) to make us taste the sweet amenity of life, and which must still be only moral. This is the having a serene, gay, and ever joyous heart, according to the sen-


timent of the virtuous Epicurus. And who, indeed, can have more reason to be contented with himself, and gay ; nay, who so able, even to regard it as a duty owed by him to himself, to transplant himself into a serene and joyous frame of mind, and to make it habitual, as he who is aware of no wilful transgression, and knows himself secured against a lapse (hie murus aheneus esto) ? The an- ti-part of all this, however, is the ascetic exercise of the monasteries,* which, inspired by superstitious fear, and

• A reply made hy Kant to Schiller may belong to this place. The common objection in Germany to Kant's Ethics is, that it is too rigoris- tical ; and the poet, in his paper on grace and decorum, affirms that Kant's ideas of duty and obligation are best fitted to produce monastic manners, being subversive of all physical grace, and proper only for slaves. Here is the answer of the philosopher. He distinguishes betwixt the idea duhj and the beneficial effects of virtue. The first admits of no grace, on ac- count of the awe and sense of the sublime, which follow on its repre- sentation ; the sublime disdaining charms and embellishment as only proper to the beautiful : but permanent effects of active virtue on him who has fulfilled his duty, may be, and often are, advantageous, and ap- pear as graceful and decorous.

" So that were the question put, which then is the right determina- tion of the sensory wherewith duty is to be obeyed ? i. e. what is the TEMPERAMEVT of virtue, valiant, and by consequence joyous ? or anxious and dejected ? Scarce any answer would be needed ; so slavish a state and tone of soul never can be, where the law itself is not hated; and the glad and joj'ous heart, on the execution of duty (not complacen- cy in recognising it) betokens that the virtuous sentiments are genuine, — nay, is the test that piety is real, — piety consisting not in the sclf-re- proachings of a whining sinner (a state of mind I look upon as exceedingly equivocal, and which is, for the most part, the man's inward upbraidings at having erred against a dictate of prudential expediency), but in the stedfast, unfaultering determination to make the matter better in all time to come. And this purpose gaining in life and force by the con- stancy wherewith the ascetic knows he has adhered to it, must needs ef- fectuate a joyful disposition. Apart from which, no one can be certain that he loves good, i, e. has adopted it into his m&xims." (Kant's Reli- gion, p. 11.) Tr.


the hypocritical disesteem of a man's own self, sets to work with self-reproaches, whimpering compunction, and a torturing of the body, and is intended not to result in virtue, but to make expurgation for sins, where, by self- imposed punishment, the sinners expect to do penance, instead of ethically repenting of them («. e. merely for- saking them by the undecaying energy of the representa- tion of the law) ; but this custom of imposing and exe- cuting punishment upon a man's own self (which en- closes a contradiction, — punishment demanding the sen- tence of another), cannot beget that hilarity which goes hand in hand with virtue, and would rather tend to en- gender a covert hatred of the behests of duty. All ethi- cal gymnastic consists, therefore, singly in the subjugat- ing the instincts and appetites of our physical system, in order that we remain their master in any and all circum- stances hazardous to morality ; a gymnastic exercise ren- dering the will HARDY and robust, and which, by the con- sciousness of regained freedom, makes the heart glad. To feel compunction, is inevitable on the remembrance of former sins, — it is even a duty not to suffer it to fade on such reminiscence; but this compunction, and the inflic- tion of a penance, such as fasting, are totally distinct and disparate ethical operations, the latter whereof, understood not in a diatctical, but pious sense, is cheerless, sad, and gloomy, makes virtue hateful, and scares away her sup- porters. The discipline exercised by man upon himself, can only by its attendant hilarity and alacrity become welcome and exemplary.




Although the last result obtained in our inquiry into the reach and extent of the a priori operations of hu- man understanding was, that speculative reason declared the existence of God problematical ; yet the belief in God being here admitted, and it being farther admitted, that the doctrine of religion is an integral part of the general system of the offices, the question now raised re- spects the determining the boundary of the science, whereof it is part. Are we to regard it as belonging to morals (to law in no event, for the rights of man cannot comprehend it) ? or is it to be considered as falling out of and beyond the domains of pure moral philosophy ?

The formal of religion, explained to be " the aggregate of our duties, as if they were divine commandmeivts^^ belongs to the philosophy of morals ; since it expresses singly the relation obtaining betwixt reason and that idea of God itself evolves, and the duty to have religion is not thereby made any duty owed by us toward God, as a being existing out of and beyond our own ideas ; for we expressly abstract from such existence. That all human duties must be cogitated agreeably to this form (by refer- ring them to a Divine a priori Will), rests on aground sub- jectively logical only. We cannot easily depicture to our- selves in thought, obligation (ethical necessitation), ex- cept by figuring to ourselves another and His will — God, — whose vicegerent is our universally legislative reason ; but this duty in relation to the Divinity (strictly in rela-


tion to the idea we frame to ourselves of such a Being), is a duty owed by mankind to himself; i. e. is not an ob- jective duty to perform certain services to anotlier, but a subjective obligation only, to strengthen the ethic springs of our own legislative reason.

As for the matter of religion, as a whole of duties to- ward God, and of the worship to be rendered him, such ob- ligations would be particular, not emanating from uni- versally legislative reason. They could not upon this account be cognisable a priori, but could be known by ex- perience and observation singly, that is, they would be duties of REVEALED RELIGION, rested on divine command- ments in the proper sense of the words ; and such duties w^ould require to set forth, not the bare idea of the God- head for our practical behoof, but the existence of this Being as given mediately or immediately in observa- tion and experience. A religion of this kind, however, how well founded soever it may be, can never constitute a part of pure moral philosophy.

Religion, therefore, considered as the doctrine of the duties owed toward God, falls far beyond all limits of pure ethics; and these remarks are subjoined here in justifica- tion of the present treatise, where the author has not, with a view to its completeness, inserted, as is usual, any re- ligious duties.

There may undoubtedly be a doctrine of " religion within the limits of naked reason," where it is not affirmed that the positions were originated at first by rea- son {for this might be too much presumption p. 8, Vor- rede Streit d. FacuUdten, T.), but rest in part on historical documents and the tenets of a revelation, and where we treat only of the harmony of this last, with what is


taught by pure practical reason. But neither is this kind of doctrine of religion pure, but is mixed and applied to the Critique of a given document ; and for this, ethics, as pure practical philosophy, can afford no room.

Remark. — All the ethical relations obtaining betwixt Intelligents, and involving a principle of the mutual har- mony of their wills with one another, may be reduced and classed along with the emotions of love and reverence; and where th6 principle is practical, the will's determina- tion upon the former points to the ewe? of the other person, but upon the latter to his right. If now there be such a person as to have rights only and no duties toward others (God), and the others, conversely, owe merely duties and have no rights, then is the principle of the ethic re- lation betwixt them transcendent; whereas that of man to man, whose wills recipi'ocally limit one another, is im- manent.

The end of the Godhead in creating, and his provi- dence of man, we can only depicture to ourselves as an end of love, i. e. that he wills their happiness; but the principle of his will in regard of the reverence (awe) we owe him, which limits the operations of the principle pointing to the end willed, i. e. the principle of his divine rights, can be no other than that of justice ; we might, speaking as we must do after the fashion of men, lay down this position, that God created his intelligent uni- verse that he might have somewhat to love or be loved by in turn. But then, again, as extensive, nay more so (for the principle is restrictive, and conditions the end), is the demand, which, even our own reason tells us, divine justice, as punitive, may challenge. A reward cannot be expected, on the score of justice, from the Supreme


Being, by Intelligents wlio have no rights, but only duties : they can only hope for it from His benignity and love; for wages there can be no claim ; and a remunerative jus- tice is a contradiction in the relation cf God to man.

There is, however, in the idea of the judiciary func- tion of a Being exalted beyond the possibility of any in- fraction of his ends, somewhat hard to be reconciled with the relation of tnan to God, viz. the idea of a lesion com- mitted against the Sovereign Majesty of the Governor of the World, where the question is not of the violations of the rights of man, perpetrated by mankind upon one an- other, and which God might as Judge avenge ; but of a lesion which, it would seem, affected the rights of God him- self; an idea altogether transcendent, t. e. which goes quite beyond the range of any punitive justice we as men can instance in, and presents surd and impossible principles, not capable of being brought to coincide with those em- ployed in everyday life, and which, therefore, are for our reason blank and empty.

This idea of divine punitive justice has been personified. It is not a particular being who dispenses it, for then it would be found contrary to the principles of justice; but justice itself cogitated in substance (called eternal jus- tice), which, like fate in the old poets, is even above Ju- piter, announces her law with an iron indeilectible neces- sity, the grounds of which we are unable to explore. — Of this, examples. Punishment, according to Horace, never leaves out of her siglit the culprit who stalks audaciously away before her, but limps unremittingly after him until she overtake him. — Innocent blood cries for vengeance. — Crime cannot remain unavenged ; and if the transgressor suffer not, yet his iniquities are visited on his posterity;


6r if vengeance is not in this life inflicted, it must in an- other, after deatli, which is expressly postulated and be- lieved in, that the demand of eternal justice may be satis- fied. — I will tolerate no blood-guiltiness to come over my land, said once a well-thinking prince, by granting pardon to a malignant assassinating duellist, for whom ye entreat my grace. — The debt of sins must be discharged, even though an innocent were required for a sacrifice (in which event his sorrows could not be called punishment, he hav«  ing transgressed no law) ; hence we see, that the justice to which we attribute such decrees, is not a person admi- nistering a judiciary function (for he could not speak thus without violating the rights of others), but that bare jus- tice as a transcendent principle, and cogitated to an invi- sible subject, defines the right of this personified Being. All which is in harmony no doubt with the formal of the prin- ciple of creation, but is contrary to its matter, the end, which must still be the happiness of mankind ; for, on account of the vast multitude of criminals who allow their catalogue of sins to run on increasing, this principle of punitive justice would come to put the end of Creation, not in the love of the Creator (as we cannot but think it), but in the rigid maintenance of his right (i, e. would make his right itself the end of the creation, called — the glory of god) ; and yet, since this justice is only a negative principle limitary of the other (benevolence), to affirm this, is contrary to the principles of practical reason, or seems to be so ; for, in such event, practical reason would hold that there could have been no room for creation, leading to results so con- trary to the design and intention of the Author, whose end we can only depicture to ourselves to have been that of love.


Ethics then, can, as pure practical philosophy, based on man's own inward legislation, treat singly of the rela- tion obtaining betwixt man and man, and this is for us the alone compi'ehensible ; but as for relations obtaining betwixt God and man, these far transcend all our powers of knowledge, and are absolutely incomprehensible; and this confirms what we advanced above, that ethics could not extend itself beyond the boundary of the duties owed by mankind to one another.






Kant. Religion innerhalb der Grentzen d. reinen Vernunft. Konigsberg, Zweite Auflage, 1794. Religion within the bounds of Naked Reason. Konigsberg, 2d edition, 1794.

Kant. Streit der Facultaten. Konigsberg, 1798.

The Battle of the Faculties. This book is dedicated to Dr Staudlin, and was originally intended for his Theo- logical Journal. Republished by Tieftrunk in the third volume of Kant's Miscellaneous Writings. Halle, 1799.

Staudlin. Geschichte der Sittenlehre Jesu. Giittingen, 1799. History of the Ethic of Jesus.

Staudlin's Rationalismus und Supernaturalismus. Giittingen, 1825.

Der Prophet lesaia. Neu iibersetzt und mit einem Commentar begleitet, von Dr W. Gesenius. Leipzig, 1820. Gesenius' Translation and Commentary on Isaiah.

The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated. By W. Warbur- ton, D. D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester, V. Y. and Lon- don, 1812.

Thus have we seen how ethic issues in religion ; and the reader who has made himself acquainted with Kant's tenets, cannot fail to have been struck by the strong resemblance ob-


taining betwixt the Ethic of pure Reason and the moral scheme of Christianity. So alike indeed are they, that in Germany they are usually taken to be the same ; only it is said in the case of holy writ, the doctrines are historical, whereas, in the hands of our author, morals have been ushered into public view arrayed in the vestment of a strictly scientific garb.

Now, to facilitate the understanding of what the Germans mean by saying that a theory may be subjectively-historical, although at the same time objectively -rational, let us take for a moment a supposed example from a more familiar science. Let it, for instance, be granted that the modern Cophts had forgotten their mathematics, and that, to reinstruct them in that geometry which once sprang from Egypt, our Royal Society should depute some of their body to make a landing at Alexandria, and there instruct the Cophts in the long-forgotten doctrines of their fa- thers. Then suppose farther, that the learned men thus com- missioned should, to prevent these barbarians from again letting drop out of mind the truths of geometry, think fit to record their proceedings in a book ; and, to object the memory of it )'et more to their minds, should farther cut the fields into the dia- grams needed for the demonstrations, intersecting the soil with circular, elliptic, or parabolic segments of canals, as the case might be ; and that the book of geometry should be made spe- cially to refer to these local figures i then would the Cophts have a historical and local geometry, and such geometry would be QUITE TRUE, for it would contain the scientific in it, and the one would not be contrary to the other ; so that a Copht, who had begun and ended his geometric studies by help of the his- toric VOLUME, and had seen the requisite configurations of space in the local diagrams of his country and its canals, would nevertheless have in him as sound and exact a geometry as any other person, who, apart from any such historical and local ve- hicle, had entered at once on a course of purely scientific ma- thematics. The Cophts, however, being barbarous, might long think that the knowledge of geometry adhered to these local con- figurations, and was inseparable from them, and could have no es- tablisbmpnt anart f'-^ro tlipir written book, until, in due course of


time, some mathematician of a more independent order of think- ing might arise, to whom it would become manifest that all this geometry had its ground and evidence in naked reason ; and this insight being gained, he would observe that the historical and local geometry might be dispensed with, although quite true ; and that the main value the Royal Society's record could have had, must have been that of subserving the purpose of a vehi- cle to introduce the pure science. For tl>e pure science, being once attained, would continue to subsist by itself, and on its own evidence.

In exactly the same way, it may perhaps (Kant would say) be a matter of fact that mankind had forgotten the ethical SYSTEM, and that it was necessary for a celestial intelligent of most exalted rank to appear on earth,* at a time when we were ignorant, " dead in trespasses and sins" nay, even this per- son's enemies, by the antipathy obtaining betwixt our maxims of conduct and his ; and that this supra-terrestrial Being taught the only true solution of the question of the sum mum bonum, and brought under our notice the doctrine of an invisible and supersensible state, called the kingdom of God, which two points, the beginning and end of ethics, do covertly imply a whole system of that science ; — that he presented farther, in his own deportment, a sensible outline and configuration of that ethic he had taught, — rose moreover from the dead, and re- turned whence he came, thereby shadowing forth a diagram of that immortality, he first brought to light, as an ethical element needed for the solution of the dialectical difficulties attaching to the question of the summum bonum ; — then all this being re- corded in a book, and his example, of which his benevolent ad- vent would be great part, being narrated, would give a histori-

• Unquestionably, the cogitation, — that such godlike person was from ' everlasting possessed of this excelsity and beatitude ; that of these he voluntarily divested himself for the sake of the unworthy, even for his enemies, in order to rescue them from everlasting ruin, — is a thought that must tkterniine our minds to admiration, love, and graiitude to- ward him. {Religion, p. (lO.)


cal and local ethic; and this ethic would be quite true, for it would contain the scientific in it, and the only mistake man- kind might perhaps commit, would be the supposing that there could be no ethic apart from, and unconnected with, the narra- tive, until at length a philosopher of a higher order became ob- servant that all this ethic had its ground and authority in naked reason ; that the belief in an invisible kingdom of God* could be arrived at by an investigation a priori ; that this cogitation is, strictly speaking, not knowledge, but a faith ; and that, apart from this ethical faith in a higher and supersensible order of things, it is idle to hope rationally for any moral con- duct, although fanatically we may, as the Stoics did. And when once this a priori insight was attained, the history, al- ihough perfectly true, might, as a mere vehicle, be dispened with. The HISTORICAL BELIEF would, it is clear, not be contrary to, or inconsistent with, the pure a priori ethical belief ; and who- ever should begin a good life, from Scripture, or from the de- monstrated theory, would have eventually the self-same moral character : acting, in the one case, from the immediate represent- ing of the law, — in the other, from the law made exhibitive in the example.f And if this opinion be correct, then it may with the greatest propriety be affirmed, not only that reason and reve- lation are in the greatest harmony, but that they are absolutely identic

Herein, then, consists the rationalism of divines in Germany. It consists in holding the identity of the historical with the ethi-

• Kant's Ideal Empire of Ends-in-Themselves, p. 83 of the foregoing translation.

•^ A living belief in the Son of God is standard and spring at once. • • * But, on the contrary, the belief in this self-same archetype in his phenomenon, — as God-man, — is a posteriori and historical, and so not identic with the a priori principles of reason. • * • And yet in his phenomenon, it is not that of him falling under sense, but that in him which corresponds to the ethical archetype latent in our own reason, that is, properly speaking, the object of saving and justifying faith ; and such a faith is quite identic with the principles of a walk and conversation acceptable to God. {Religion, p. 174.)


cal belief, where, however, what are mere historical details, are deemed to be no more than a vehicle for the latter. With this explanation, we are in a condition to fix precisely the meaning of the words, — naturalism, rationalism, and supra-ra- TioNALisM. If a man deny altogether the possibility of such a historical vehicle, then he is a naturalist. If he admit a his- toric promulgation of ethic and religion, but contend that the history can be no more than a mere vehicle, then he is a ra- tionalist. Should he however hold, that the history is some- what more than a mere vehicle, and that the narrative is itself a part of religion, or perhaps of ethic, then he is a supra-ra- tionalist.

Kant was a Rationalist. He invariably admitted the possibility of a revelation, but maintained that such historical belief could be nothing more than a mere vehicle toward the ethical. As a rationalist, indeed, he was, by his very assuming such a name, compelled to abide within the bounds of all rational insight. Hence he never did, as the Naturalists, deny or dispute the pos- sibility of revelation, nor yet the necessity of such a thing as a divine means towards the introduction of a true religious feith. He left, on the contrary, ample room for Supra-rational- ism, and even said the ethical faith leaves a man always open /or the historical, in ^o far as he find this last conducive to the enlivening of his pure moral and religiotis sentiments, which belief can alone in this way have any inward moral worth, as it is then free, and unextorted by any threat.*

The Translator inclines to the opinion of the Supra-rationalists, and takes the historical faith to be itself a part of religion. All religion is a doctrine of duty ; and in his opinion this duty may affect the will in a twofold manner. The duty arising out of the historical belief must, of course, be represented as autonomic, and cannot be represented as founded simply on a divine command- ment ; for then the imperative would be no more than an ecclesi- astical statute for the behoof of a church. The historical faith, therefore, although ^c?e* imperata, must be Wkew'i&e fides historice elicita.\ First, then, it is clear that the history of Christ's advent,

• RtHgion, p. 281. f Jbid. p. 247-250.


death, and departure, — the mbssianic-historical, orBiBLicAi, BELIEF, as commonly understood, — being admitted, the obUgation of gratitude toward him is immediately constituted ; and this ob- ligation is imposed by a man's own, and so by even/ other reason, e.g. THE DIVINE. Acknowledgment and thanks can no longer be paid to Christ personally, and can therefore only be discharged by active gratitude toward our fellow-men. Regarded in thie light, it is one of the duties of religion to advance the ends of our fellow-men, out of gratitude to Christ. A determination of will of this sort, where we reproduce in ourselves a transcript of Christ's friendship for us, superadds sympathy to that practical reverence, whereunto we are naturally beholden by the law, and ought to be represented as a determination of will sui generis, i. e. one made possible singly by the history — of divine command- ment, and yet most entirely free and autonomic, — A new com- mandment, &c.* {John, xiii. 34.)

Second, In respect of the determination of will by the idea of the summum bonum. A Supra-rationalist would hold, that such immortality, and access to the kingdom of God, are put within our reach, by what Christ did and suffered for mankind, for the full and plenary gaining of this last end, — restoration to our lost inheritance, — is represented in holy writ,| as the fruit of Christ's having expurgated man's infraction of the law. When therefore an individual determines his will by the idea of the summum bo- num, he will, if a believer in the history, think it a duty to super- add to the bare ethical representation, and to the adoration of the Godhead involved in this second determination of will, the imme- diate emotion of gratitude toward Christ. This latter state of will seems to be that spoken of by Peter the apostle, in his first chapter of his first epistle, v. 3-9, and in the doxologies to Christ in the Apocalypse. In this opinion the Translator is supported by know-

- • James on Christian Charity, — a book which, though containing much to which no Kantist can subscribe, has nevertheless the advantage of representing the study of the character of Christ as fitted to beget, esta- blish, and make permanent, a benevolent determination of will of a par- ticular sort.

•f Warburton, Div. Leg. book ix.


ing, that all orthodox divines have concurred in representing the scriptural spring to active virtue, as the hope of that everlasting life and blessedness which God has prepared for the just in hea- ven. They only neglected to state what Kant has insisted on in his dialectic of the summum bonum, that in this representation of immortality the moral law is covertly involved, and that the law is in truth still the formal determinator of the will, even while fixed on the summum bonum as its matter and last end. These obligations of gratitude ought not to be discharged grudgingly, or as a burden, but ought to be joyously undertaken and gone through as a high ethical advantage, assisting us to cultivate the virtues of charity and humanity, and so to conjoin *' the warmth of an affection with the stability of principle."

These distinctions may seem to some too shadowy. They are notwithstanding of great moment, as they go to prevent the his- torical faith from being so mistaken, as to issue in heteronomy, and are completely in harmony with the spirit and genius of Kant's system, — the only difference betwixt the Author and his Translator being, that the former would hold the historical belief optional, whereas, in the opinion of the latter, it is commanded.

The possibility of such a divine commandment seems to be ad- mitted, at least not denied, at p. 249 of the Religion Innerhalb ; but in the Streit der FacuUdten^ p. 107, we find Kant maintain- ing, that to suppose the historical faith incumbent as a duty, is SUPERSTITION, — a position which he certainly ought to have ad- vanced in his work on religion, had he held that opinion in 1794, instead of introducing it, for the first time, almost as an obiter dictum, in a small pamphlet published in 1798, — a pamphlet which otherwise could scarcely ever have been regarded as con- stituting any part of his philosophic system. This opinion he did not even hold in 1796, when his ethic first came out ; for the possibility of positive divine commandments is therein twice over expressly admitted, which he could not have done, had he then been persuaded that to believe in a narrated imperative (^tJie essence whereof must be to command, inter alia, itself to be be- lieved), was a superstitious or heathenish creed. The Streit der Facultdten is, however, a work to which the Translator is not in- clined to pay much attention, partly from the great age of the


author, who, at any rate, was then bordering on dotage, and had previously complained that he was incapacitated for abstract thinking ; and partly because the preface, if not open exactly to the odious charge of wilful .lying, shows that Kant had lately been making ample use of the privilege claimed in his Elements of Law (p. 202 of the foregoing Translation), to say what he liked, whether true or untrue. But if our philosopher was capable of prevaricating or equivocating with his king on the subject of Christianity, we must watch with great jealousy any conclusion he may have arrived at, while labouring under so gross a bias, more especially when contrary to the hitherto acknowledged spi- rit of his system. It is matter of great regret to the Translator to find himself compelled to call in question the candour of an individual for whom he entertains so high an admiration ; but it is needless to cloak the notorious infirmity or depravity even of those whom we would willingly regard as the best of men. The Translator considers it due to the reader to acquaint him with this circumstance, * so as to enable him the better to make up his mind in judging for himself betwixt the two conflicting theo~ ries of the rationalists and supra-rationalists.

It is, however, interesting to know what the objections or dif- ficulties are, opposed by Kant to the possibility of a positive di- vine commandment. There seems to have been with Kant a double obstacle ; the first turns on the question of the expurgation of sins, the second, on the imagination that the historical belief could add nothing to any man's moral character. — First, it is usual- ly supposed that reason leaves us totally in the dark as to the want of our own righteousness, and the forgiveness of our sins. But this is not the case. It is no doubt quite true that reason cannot tell whether an atonement may be required or not. But reason can say thus much, that if any such atonement be at all needed, then since man cannot perform it for himself, and since he cannot make what he has done undone, then this redemption from evil, if any, must be done by some one for him, i. e. must be entirely

  • The whole details of this story are to be found in Blackwood $ Ma-

gazine for August 1830. The castigation there administered is severe, but just.


and altogether gratis. There can therefore be no gift of righteousness to be accepted by man, but rather that righteous- ness, if any such there be, must be gratuitously adjudged to his accoimt by the upholder of the moral law, and the forgive- ness of sins cannot possibly be clogged with any condition what- soever. That this is what reason teaches, and indeed must teach, on this subject, appears everywhere from Kant's writings on religion. But continental commentators on the gospel have generally represented the expurgation of sins, as conditioned, either by faith, or by acceptance of the pardon, or by repentance ; and there can be no doubt that Kant saw in this doctrine a tenet directly militating against what he knew upon grounds a priori to be one of the ethical notices of reason ; * and therefore event- ually issuing in superstition and hypocrisy, — a stumbling-block, that at once vanishes the moment we become aware that the ex- purgation of sins is absolutely gratuitous, " being justified gratis

  • I lay down this position as requiring no proof. Every thing mak-


WORSHIP or THE Deity. I Say, whatever man fancies he can do ; for that something, beyond all our exertions, may lie in the mysteries of supreme wisdom, possible to be performed by God alone, and making us acceptable in his sight, is not denied by me. But even if the church were to promulgate, as revealed, any such mystery, still the opinion, that to believe in this revelation, as taught in the sacred volume, and to con- fess, whether inwardly or outwardly, such belief, were anywhat in itself rendering us acceptable to God, would be a dangerous delusion in reli- gion. For thit belief, considered as the inward self-confession of one's stedfast conviction, is so certainly an act, extorted by fear, that an honest upright man would rather accept any other condition ; because all outward ceremonial worship, mankind can regard as only somewhat supererogatory to be gone through ; whereas here he violates his con- science, by declaring in its presence what he is not {and cannot become ? Tr.) convinced of. The confession, therefore, with regard to which, he persuades himself, that it {at the acceptance of a proffered boon) will make him acceptable to God, is somewhat which he imagines he can do, in ad- dition to the moral conduct that the law ordains him to execute in the world, and which is done for the worship of God singly. — (Religion, p. 260-61.)


by hisgrace,"(ii?o»?.iii.24) — and that, too, whether we regard this redemption from evil negatively, as a mere remission of the pains of law, ov positively, as moreover an investiture with righteousness, whereby we become fully conformable to the law, and so alto- gether acceptable in the sight of God. That interpretation which makes the well-known words — the righteousness of God — signify our plenary, and not merely supplementary, conformity to law, by a divine work — is, under any aspect, incompatible with Kant's system, L e. with reason, and may therefore be passed over by all Kantists, without any farther remark.

With regard to Kant's second objection, it is obvious that Kant must speak ah ignoranlia ; for having been an unbeliever in the history, he could not know whether a practical assent to it would support or overthrow his morality. That great ad- vantages are to be derived from a lively belief in the narrative, is an opinion very widely spread and very commonly entertain- ed, and is what has just been affirmed by the Translator. We may therefore regard this also as disposed of. Although, un- doubtedly, if any one should find the historical belief prejudicial to his ethical estate, — as has by some been asserted, — it would be impossible for such a person to represent to himself the Chris- tian faith as an incumbent duty.

Books have been written to show that the practical effects of vital Christianity excel those of bare Rationalism ; and this has probably been done with a view not only to extol the Chris- tian dispensation, but likewise to contradict what Kant has said at page 24, Of the Groundwork, of the strength of the unaided energies of reason. But it is clear that no duty can be founded on any by-views of advantage or disadvantage; and even when it is admitted that religious determinations of will, do lend an added force to its inward mobile ; still, because such determina- tions of will are adopted singly out of regard had to the au- thority of an unconditionally-necessitating commandment, and since, in such material determinations, the moral law is at all times covertly involved, there is no need to depart from the fun- damental position that the naked moral law is by far the mighti- est spring to action. Besides, Kant never intended to say that the primary emotion reverence could not be supported and


sustained by being conjoined with one or other of the second- ary emotions, such as an emotion of beauty,* or a feeling of bene- volence. However, where no reverence has gone before, there a secondary emotion is good for nothing ; and the culture of gra- titude ought to be conducted upon system as a point of duty, not at hap-hazard as an affair of taste.

In addition to the two above-mentioned objections, Kant suggests sundry minor and special others, such as, that belief cannot fall under an imperative at all, and that the essentials of religion must needs consist in that only of it which is apriori ; and that therefore the history being a posteriori, must of neces- sity be extra-essential, though not upon that account imma- terial or superfluous. German theologians posterior to Kant have endeavoured to show that there is no truth in the history at all ; and unquestionably in this way the whole debate betwixt Ra- tionalism and Supra-rationalism is expunged. Gesenius, in his commentary on Isaiah, and De Wette on Daniel,f have exerted themselves to dry up Christianity in its sources, i. e. in the Mes- sianic prophecies ; and Schleiermacher on Luke has registered the contradictions discoverable in the Gospels. The researches of a future age will doubtless bring what — to this extent— is a mere affair of historical inquiry, to a final and satisfactory re- sult. Meanwhile, the Translator has held himself bound to state what he conceives to be immediate obligations springing from the historic narrative, the truth of that narrative being presup- posed.

  • Critik d. Urtheilskraft, p. 51. The union of taste with reason serves

as an underground for adding a self-maintaining and balancing mental equilibrium to that cast of thought which is only to be acquired by toil and labour . . . Properly speaking, neither does the notion perfec- tion gain by the perception beauty, nor beauty by perfection ; but the collective representative faculty gains in force when both understanding and sense are brought into harmony.

•f Daniel in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopadie.


There is in the Advocates' Library a German abridgment, by an Ano- nymous Writer, of Kant'B Religion. It is bound up in the same volume with Kant's Prize Essay. What follows is the first two chapters of Kant's Book, thus sketched in marginal outline by his Commentator.

Chapter I.


That the world lieth in wickedness, is a very old complaint. All histories give the world, at its outset, a good beginning ; but then they come on the instant to a lapse, and talk of a de- scent, with accelerated speed, into evil.

§2. ' In modern days, philosophers and pedagogues have good-na- turedly embraced the contrary to that opinion, and maintained that the world is perpetually on the march toward a better and a better state, for which advance toward perfection the sub- stratum exists in the nature of man.

§3. ' In this embarrassed state of the matter, it occurs to every one to put the question, Whether or not there may not be room for holding that man is by nature neither good nor bad ? or, other- wise, for asserting that mankind is both of them at once, i. e. good sometimes, and at other times evil ?


§4. To judge by observation and experience, this last would seem the correct opinion. But when weighed in the balance of pure reason, man's character must be otherwise estimated.

§5. This more rigid and rigorous estimation rises upon this posi- tion, a position of the first moment in ethics, that our free choice can never be determined by any spring to any act, ex- cept so far forth as we have adopted such spring into our maxim ; i. e. have stated it as a universal, according to which we will to conduct ourselves. '

§6. The moral law is of itself the all-sufficient spring of will, and he who has established it as his maxim is morally good. Who- so acts not according to it has not made it his maxim, but has, by consequence, made some other spring different from the law his maxim, and so is morally bad. The sentiment of mankind is therefore never indifferent relatively to the law ; and he ne- ver can be neither good nor evil.

§7. In like manner, mankind cannot be in some points of charac- ter morally good, while he is at the same time in others evil ; for is he in any point good, then the moral law is his maxim ; but is he likewise, at the same time, in some other points bad, then quoad these, the moral law is not his maxim. But since that law is one and universal, and as it commands in one act of life, so in all, then the maxim referring to it would be at once universal and particular, which is a contradiction.


That one or other of these sentiments belongs to man at his birth by nature, does not mean to say that the man who holds such sentiments is not their author, but simply that he has not at any time acquired them ; i. e. that his good or evil must be


placed as a ground in him prior to all experimental exercise of his freedom, and hence comes in this way to be represented as already co-existent with him at his birth, not as if his birth were the cause of it.


What then are we to say of man ? Is he by nature good or evil ?

§ 10.

The originary predispositions of our nature which immediate- ly refer to will and the determinableness of choice, are these.

(1.) The substratum of man's animality as a living being.

(2.) The substratum of his humanity as a living and also intelligent being.

(3.) The substratum of his personality as an intelligent and accountable being.

§ 11 and 12. Man's animality may be all fitly comprehended under the title of mechanical, instinctive self-love. There are three branches of it ; the love of life, of sex, and of society. On these appetites may be ingrafted every virtue, as also every vice. These last, when in extreme, beget the beastly vices, gluttony, licentious- ness, and lawless violence.

§ 13 and 14.

The predisposition for humanity may be classed under the head of rational, comparative self-love ; for which theoretic rea- son is required. On it is grafted the civilized vices of envy, in- gratitude, and malice, which are also called devilish vices.

§ 15.

Man's predisposition for personality, is his susceptibility for that reverence toward the moral law, which (reverence) is suf- ficient to constitute the law the determinator of his free re- solves (susceptibility for reverence toward the law is the


moral sense). This reverence can only by force of freedom become the determinator of an actual volition ; but the ability to make it such requires a substratum in humanity, whereupon nothing evil can be grafted. Now this power, inseparable from pure practical reason, is the immediate substratum of human nature for morality.

§16. These three predispositions are all originary, as they belong to the possibility of the nature of man. They are not only good, so far as they are in nowise contrary to the moral law ; but they are even substrata towards excellence ; i. e. they advance the observance and execution of the law.

§ 17.

By evil is understood the irrationality, not of an appetite, but of a free resolve ; and to such evil there is no predisposition in human nature at all conceivable. But the ground of the possi- bility of evil must be figured as originating from man's own free- dom, and entailed by him upon himself; and such ground must of necessity be cogitated for the behoof of an ethical judgment.

§18. This adopted and self-entailed ground of the possibility of evil consists in an act of freedom, which is itself already evil, which act is the ground of merely evil acts of freedom. It is a (" Hang") proneness to evil, somewhat noway belonging to the possibility of a man, but which, as self-entailed by all men on themselves, now belongs to his actuality, and is so far natural, though not original ; upon which account mankind comes to be regarded as by nature evil.


Since now the inward character of the ethically good or evil consists in the will's maxims, i. e. in the general rules which a person prescribes and appoints by freedom to himself, and by which rules he makes either the law, or an emotion of pleasure


or pain apart from the law, the determinator of his free resolve : it results that the adventitious, self-entailed ground of the pos- sibility of evil, i. e. that the {Hang) bias to evil consists in an evil maxim, which is the groundwork of all other evil maxims, and may be cogitated as a universal evil maxim, under which the particular evil maxims are subsumed.

§20. This universal maxim, by adopting which the (" Hang") bias to evil is entailed, consists in the free and general resolve occa- sionally to swerve from the moral law ; and by force of such maxim, the {Hang) bias to evil precedes every act pointing to a given object of choice, as that evil act whereby man has corrupt- ed his will, and is himself become evil. As the root of all other evil in man, this {Hang) bias to evil, residing in the universal evil maxim, is called the radical evil of human nature.

§21. There may be three different grades of this proneness to evil : (1.) Frailty in not adhering to good maxims once for all deter- mined on ; (2.) Impurity, or the mixing up evil maxims with the good ones ; (3.) Vitiosity, the (Hang) proneness to act upon simply evil maxims, which may farther, as the (Hang) bias to postpone the moral springs to the immoral, be called corruption, and, as a {Hang) bias to invert the ethical order of the springs of will, may be called the perversity or perverted- NE5S of the human heart.

§22. ' The common ground whence all these immoral acts spring cannot, as is usually done, be placed in the sensory and its ap- petites and wants ; for they have no immediate tendency to evil — nay, they afford even opportunity to good, and show forth the moral sentiments in their full strength. The ground of the {Hang) Bias to evil cannot therefore be found in man's sensi- tive nature ; and how varied soever it may be by climate, consti- tution, &c. the sensory contains too little to yield such a result.



The ground of this evil cannot any more be sought in a cor- ruptedness of moral legislative reason, as if reason had abrogat- ed and defaced the authority of the law, and rebelled against the obligation founded on it ; for that is too much, and perhaps impossible. To suppose a revolted and absolutely wicked will is therefore too much, and goes beyond the bias {Hang) to evil, and would characterize man as devilish.

§24. Moral evil cannot then be deduced either from the sensory, or from reason ; it can, however, be evolved from freedom, and the law regulating the causality of the will, by the following in- vestigation a priori.

§ 23 and 26. By virtue of the predisposition to good, the moral law forces itself irresistibly on the will ; and were no other springs of choice astir in the mind, man would unhesitatingly adopt it into his su- preme maxim of conduct, and so act. According to the con- stitution of his sensory, pleasure and pain are no less necessary ; and were there no counter-springs, he would, according to the principle of self-love, follow his natural instincts. Were, then, either spring alone, mankind would adopt and make it the singly-suflficient determinator of his will, and so be in the one case quite good, in the other quite evil. § 26. But since in the human mind both springs are naturally united, and man adopts both into his maxim, he would, if the moral good de- pended solely on the diflFerence of the two springs, be at once both good and evil, which, however, cannot be cogitated without a contradiction.

§ 27.

The moral quality of the will depends, therefore, not on the

difference of the springs man has adopted into his maxims, but

in the subordination which his freedom has introduced among

them ;^for since they cannot subsist along-side of, i. e. co-ordi-


nated to one another, freedom states the one as the condition of the other, the one as means to the other, which is end.

§28. Mankind is upon this account only evil, in so far as he per- verts the ethic order of his springs of choice.

§29. This subordination of the moral law to the principles of self- love, is the original sin of humanity, from which all other evil actions are to be derived.

§ 30. This insubordination makes itself manifest, in so far as man- kind counts bare legality for morality, and conversely immorali- ty for a mere illegality, and is prone to take the absence of vice for virtue, and its presence for a venial fault. This insincerity in deceiving one's self, extends itself next so as to deceive others, and if not wickedness, is at least worthlessness.

§31. The actual existence of a (" Hang") Bias adopted by freedom to invert the order of the springs of action, can only be elicited by conscience's impartial judgment of itself. But this judgment is corroborated by a host of examples, which history and ob- servation throw into our hands.

§ 32 and 33. Examples. North American Indians. Wars in civilized so- ciety.*

• Upon this peculiar bia? of the will is founded an obligation lui generis, i. e. one owed by the whole human race to itself, viz. to enter into an Ethical Society, called church, where all mankind are rallied round the standard of the law for the purpose of upholding, supporting, and advan- cing the ethical end and interests of their whole species.

It is owing to this aberration of the will from the law that the state of nature, whether juridical or ethical, is a state of war, and that each



The radical evil rooted in human nature has consequently, as an act of freedom, no origin in time ; neither can it be deduced from any cause different from freedom ; it is therefore impene- trable.


The incomprehensible of the origin of evil is thus expressed by the Scripture, where it represents evil as already resident in

man, before entering into Society^ invades either the outwakd FaEEDOM of his neighbour, i. e. his rights of property, or overturns his ikwahd FREEDOM, i. e. his morality. It is" merely requisite for mankind to come together to awaken mutually in one another's breasts such vices as envy, covetousness, or hate ; for even while they may not as yet seduce one another into crime, still the bare presence of another individual is of it- self sufficient to bring out the ethical antagonism of both their wills. The dictate of reason, therefore, is to quit the state of nature and combine in society ; and as mankind quitted the juridical state of nature and enter- ed into civil society to secure their personal freedom and rights, so rea- son in like manner calls upon them to forsake their natural estate of mu- tual ethical hostility, and to enter into an universal Ethical Society in or- der to protect the inward freedom of the race. As the civil common- wEALTH is called a state, so the ethic commonwealth bears a pecu- liar name, and is called church.

But the laws of the Ecclesiastical Society cannot, from the very idea of it, be OUTWARD, i. e. forensic. The legislation combining all mankind in an ethical society can be inward only, i. e. moral ; and hence no one except a moral lawgiver can be regarded as at the head of such ethical association, combining the whole family of man under one common mo- ral law.

The institution of a church is upon these grounds a work to be ex- pected not so much from man, as rather to be undertaken by God himself; and, in Kant's opinion, this is the only conceivable case where reason can allow us to hold that there is room to figure to ourselves the Ethical Le- gislator granting us his divine aid, namely, to set a church a going, in order thereby to advance the ethical ends and interests of us mankind who are subjects in his ethical realm. Consequently it is a duty of na- tural RELIGION, not alone of revealed, to become a member of the church, ». e. of the universal ethical society, and that too whether we be- lieve the church to be a positive divine institution|or_the contrary. (Tr.)


a spirit of a lofty and excelse nature, and man as only become evil by being seduced into it, and so not out and out corrupted, but as still capable of amendment, and where there is yet a hope of a return to that good from which he has swerved.


How it is possible, that a man, naturally and radically bad, should become good, is incomprehensible. For how can an evil tree bring forth good fruit ? But since, by the foregoing inves- tigation, a good tree has brought forth evil fruit, the lapse from good into evil is not one whit more comprehensible than the re- turn from evil toward good ; and since, notwithstanding our lapse, the law ordains unremittingly that we become better men, the possibility of it cannot be denied, even though our own endea- vour were insufficient, and should only make us susceptible of a higher aid.

§43. The restoration of the originary substratum toward good in its power, is not the re-acquisition of a lost ethic spring, but is only the reviving of reverence in its purity as the sufficient spring of the determination of choice.

§44. This restoration to purity can only be represented as a retro- version of the perverted cast of thinking, i. e. of a change of character, by a revolving of the sentiments, demanding as it were a new birth or creation of the whole inner man. This revolv- ing of the cast of thinking turns about the last ground of adopt- ing maxims, by force of one single unalterable determination, which contains, so far as it is inflexible, the ground of a perpe- tual reform.

§ 45 and 46. This change of character, and the amelioration of conduct springing from it, cannot be regarded, without a contradiction, as a gift of the Deity, but only as an educt from our own freedom ;


since, if otherwise, it could not be imputed to us ; and such change not being ours, would leave us neither morally better nor worse.


Against this commandment of self-amelioration, sluggish and lazy reason offers all sorts of impure religious ideas in defence. By help of such, a man flatters himself God will make him happy, and dispense with his moral amendment; or, otherwise, he ima- gines God will forthwith make him better, quite apart from his own exertions, provided that he only pray for it ; as if, in the eye of an all-seeing person, praying amounted to any thing more than wishing ; and if a wish were enough, who is there who would not have a good character ?

§48. According to the spirit of genuine moral religion, which of all the public ones that have appeared, Christianity alone is, this is the principle, " that every one must do as much as he can to render himself a better man ;" and it is only by not burying his talent, or hiding it in a napkin, that he may hope that what he cannot do himself will be supplied from above. Nor is it at all requisite that any man should know wherein this help consists ; nay, it is perhaps inevitable, that even were the mode in which it is granted revealed at some time or other, different men should not at some other time entertain different notions with the greatest sincerity about the matter, so that this farther prin- ciple would come to apply : " It is not essential, and so not ne- cessary, for any one to know what God does or ha^ already done for his salvation, but it is by all means necessary for him to know what he himself has to do, in order to render himself wortJiy of such aid."

2 a



Chapter II.



Opposed to the radical evil stands holiness, i. e. the ethical perfection of humanity, which is possible for every man by the originary predispositions of his personality, and which is by the moral law made necessary. If personified, the one is the principle of evil ; the other stands contradistinguished to it, in the capa- city of the principle of good.


This good principle is an Ideal, in so far as by its means hu- manity is represented, not as it is, but as it ought to be ; i. e. where mankind is figured as making the law his determining spring of conduct, and as adhering to this universal mobile in all his particular determinations.


This Idfeal is altogether sui generis, and is unique in its kind, having, quoad the wiW, practically, objective reality ; i. e. it is ne- cessary by the moral law, and is commanded to every man to realise it in his own person, a matter possible by a constant ap- proximation towards it for ever {objectively), and subjectively by his adopting the moral law into his supreme and most universal maxim, so taking upon him the sentiments of that Ideal.


Viewed in its relation to the Godhead when personified, this practically necessary Ideal of the holiness of finite Intelligents must be cogitated according to these following determinations.

a. In regard of its origin, as extant in God from everlasting ; in so far therefore no created thing, but begotten and emanating from the essential character of the Godhead, which can only be figured as infinite morality — the only-begotten son of God.



b. In reference to the world as the end and aim or creation, he must be regarded consequently as the Divine Word, the Fiat tchereby all things are, and loithout which nothing was made that is made, — the brightness of his Father's glory, — in him God loved the world.


c. In reference to human nature, it is somewhat whereof man is not the author, but which has taken up its abode in man, al- though mankind cannot explain how human nature should be susceptible of it ; therefore, as somewhat which has descended from heaven to earth, and taken upon it human nature, tJie Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Again, since holiness is alone the character of the Godhead, the practical necessity of this holiness in man, is cogitated as the descent of Deity to man in a state of humiliation of the Son of God, uniting itself to hu- manity, whereby also man is elevated to the grade of divinity.

§55. In this practically necessary Ideal of holiness, we learn far- ther the only thing possible and requisite for us to know concern- ing the Godhead, viz. the will of God, by fulfilling which we alone learn how to love God worthily ; thus alone do we reach the Father through the Son. No one has seen God at any time ; the only- begotten, from the bosom of the FaiJter, he hath revealed him.

§56. The actual adopting of the sentiments of this Ideal is the only condition, but also the'certain means, of becoming acceptable to God. To such as received him, gave he power to become tlie chil- dren of God.

§57. This Ideal, as the archetype of pattern for our imitation, can. only be represented under the figure of a man, who, in respect of the Physique of his nature, is as nearly related to mankind, as, in respect of the Ethique, to the Deity.


§ 58.

The conviction that this Ideal has objective reality, and is consequently to be met with in human nature, is the belief that the Son of God took upon him our nature. And the conviction that to adopt sentiments adequate and conform to this ideal is practically necessary, is the alone justifying and saving faith in the Son of God.

§59. Whoso holds this practical faith in the Son of God, and is conscious within himself of such moral sentiments as enable him justly to hold that he would under any similar temptations ad- here unchangeably to the archetype of humanity, he and he alone is entitled to deem himself an object not unworthy of the di- vine favour.

§60. A perfect man would unquestionably, by virtue of his prac- tical faith, be quite upright and acceptable to God ; but how can such practical belief justify us, who continue all our lives imperfect ? how can a righteousness, which ought to consist in a life exactly commensurate and conformed to this practical belief, be regarded as ours ? There are three obstacles which seem to hinder this from being possible.

§61. The first difficulty impeding the reality of this faith, which justifies a man only by an unremitted observance of the law, seems to lie here — the law ordains holiness. Be ye holy, as your Father which is in heaven is holy. But we men are only always on the march from a defective state of good to a better, even after we adopt the law into our supreme and most univer- sal maxim, i. e. adopt the sentiments of that practically neces- sary ideal. But how should it be possible that a holy lawgiver can take such good sentiment in the room of an imperfect ser- vice ?


§62. To clear up this difficulty, we'must bethink ourselves that the deed remains at all times faulty, since we as men are inevitably fettered to the conditions of time, which imports a constant progression from defective goodness to higher and better stages ; so that our good deeds made exhibitive as phenomena, must at all times be regarded as disconform to a holy law. The Search- er of the Heart, however, tests the sentiment, which is super- sensible, and the source and fountain of the deed ; which senti- ment, containing the ground of a constant progression onwards for ever, is estimated in the pure intellectual intuition of a Searcher of the Heart as an entire whole, and so as somewhat perfect.

§63. The practical faith in the Son of God begets in this way the hope that we, by adopting his holy sentiment, may, notwith- standing the inevitable defectiveness of all actions in time, be regarded as holy, on account of the advancement for ever to- ward it effectuated by that sentiment.

§ 64. The second difficulty attaching to this reality of justifying and saving faith is presented by the following question, how can any man become assured of the permanency of a sentiment to advance constantly in good ?

§65. The bare consciousness of a present pure sentiment is noway sufficient to furnish a confident conviction of our persisting in good ; nay, this might on the contrary amount to a perilous self- confidence, when not supported by the experience of a really amended life since the epoch of that supposed revolution of character. This observed experience is what first begets a well-founded and rational hope that our character is truly al- tered, and warrants an expectation that the grace of God may supply what may be still wanting to consolidate our ethical re- solution to advance.


§ 66.

The third and most serious difficulty in the way of this self- justification is, lastly, this: Although the adopted holy sentiment, and change of character consequent thereon, be never so per- manent, still mankind began from evil, and this past guilt he never can abolish ; for, to make no more new debts after he has repented, is no paying or discharging of his old ones. Nei- ther can he perform any thing supererogatory, for it is always his duty to execute all the good possibly in his power. Lastly, this guiltiness cannot be taken away by any other person, so^ar as we can see; for it is an all-personal and most untransfer- able obligation, viz. a debt of sin, and obligation to punishment ; and this only the blameworthy himself can undergo. No In- nocent, how magnanimous soever, can bear it for the guilty.

§67. The solution of this difficulty depends upon the following : Supreme justice must be satisfied, evil must be punished. But this punishment follows of its own accord upon the change of sentiment ; which one act is exit from evil and entrance into good, self-crucifixion of the old and putting on of the new man. This exit out of evil is then (regarded as the death of the old man, and crucifying of the flesh) of itself a sacrifice, and entrance upon a long train of sufferings in life, which the amended encoun- ters merely for the sake of that moral good ; which sufferings and sorrow properly belonged to the old man, the new man being ethically another ; and since the good sentiment of the peni- tent proves its sincerity by his willingly undertaking all the suf- fering and sorrow which arise to the old man from the persever- ance of the new man in good, mankind may in this way hope that the adopting of this holy sentiment may satisfy divine jus- tice for the guilt incurred prior to this self-devotement to the ideal of moral excellence.

§ 68. Agreeably, then, to this deduction of the idea of a justifica-


tion of the once guilty, but now transmuted to sentiments accep- table in the sight of God, we conclude that the sentiment involved in the ideal of an ethically perfect man (§ 56) is the condition of our sanctification, growth in good, and justification ; and that the adopting such sentiment as one's own, begins, es- tablishes, and effects a perpetual progression for ever in amelio- ration. Hence we say (58) that by the Son of God we are sanc- tified, forgiven, and justified, and He by his perfect holiness comes in the room of our defective deed (63). Farther (65), He becomes surety to us for aid requisite to permanent endur- ance, and (67) redeems us from the guilt of sin.

§69. This deduction exhibits a notion of redemption and of vica- rious substitution, in which notion the ethically-necessary libe- ration from self-entailed guilt — i, c. expurgation — is really cogi- tated, and cogitated in such a manner as can alone be brought into harmony with an ethical cast of thought, viz. as a grace or favour, to be hoped for singly when respect is had to a sincere and solemn change effectuated by freedom ; the want of which free change of heart no expiation can supply, nor yet invocations nor hosannahs of the vicarious Ideal of Holiness ; nor, if such change is there, can these add anywhat to its validity.

§70. This deduction affords, first, consolation ; second, rigid self- investigation ; third, guards against slumbering security.


The sacred volume gives an account of the combat betwixt the good and the evil principle under the form of a history; it represents two principles contrary and opposed to one ano- ther, as heaven from hell, as persons without and outside of man, who not only prove their strength against one another, but also endeavour to make good their claims, as if legally be- fore a Supreme Judge.


§72. Agreeably to the spirit of this historic narrative, man was originally gifted with the lordship and dominion of all the goods of the earth ; but of this he was only to hold the fee, and to do homage to his liege Lord and Creator, who retained the su- periority of the property. Immediately there appears an Evil Being, who by a lapse lost all his estates in heaven, and seeks now to re-acquire others on earth.

§73. But because this Evil Person is a spirit of the higher order, earthly and terrestrial objects yield him no delight. He seeks a dominion over the minds and wills, by making the progenitors of mankind swerve from their Lord, and subservient to him ; by all which he succeeds in being recognized as the Superior of the goods of the earth, and as the Prince of this World. Thus, in despite of the Good Principle, a kingdom of evil was erected, to which all mankind descending from Adam have enthralled themselves, by voluntarily perverting the order of their springs of Action.

§74. The Good Principle defended itself against the alleged title of the Evil Principle to rule over mankind, by erecting the Jewish Theocracy, which was set apart for the public and sole veneration of his name. But because the minds of the subjects in this kingdom were directed to observances and ceremonies, and not to the internal morality of their sentiments, this insti- tution did not much encroach upon the reign of darkness.

§75. At a time when the Jewish people were ready to revolt, all at once there appeared some one, whose Wisdom was as it had come down from heaven, and who announced himself, as to his doctrine and example, both as a true and real man, and as a Divine Ambassador, of such extraction as by his originary in- nocence not to be included in the Covenant which all the rest


of mankind, by their representative (Adam), had entered into with the Evil Principle, and in whom, therefore, the Prince of this World had nothing.


The Prince finding the security of his government endanger- ed, offered him the whole world in fee if he would do homage to hiijn for it ; and as this offer did not succeed, he withdrew from this stranger while on earth all that could make life agree- able ; nay, he excited persecution against him, calumniated the purity of his intentions, and followed him even to death, yet without being able, by such violent invasion, to shake his sted- fastness or generosity, either in doctrine or example.

§77. ■ ■

His death, the extreme grade of human suffering, was the fi- nished exhibition of the Good Principle, i. e. of the Archetype of Humanity, in its entire moral perfection, as a pattern to be copied- by every one, and which was then, nay, may be at all times, of the greatest influence, by showing forth, in the most glaring contrast, the freedom of the Children of Heaven, and the bondage of a mere Son of Earth, " He came unto his own, and his own received him not ; but to such as received him, he gave power to be called the children of God ;" i. e. He by his example threw open the gate of freedom to every one who chose to die, like him, to every thing which kept them chained to this earthly life, disadvantageously to their morality, and gathers from among men under his authority, a peculiar people, zealous of good works, leaving the meanwhile those who prefer the ser- vitude of immorality to their chains.

§78. When this popular narrative is divested of its veil, we imme- diately observe that the spirit and genius of it is valid and of import at all times, and for the whole world. This Spirit is




Tliat there is absolutely no salvation for mankind but in the adopting in their inmost sentiments of genuine moral princi- ples ; that their adoption is withstood, not by the sensory, but by a self-demerited perversity, whereby man has deranged his springs of action, and submitted himself a slave to the Evi Principle ; a perversity to be met with in all men, and capable of being overcome and counterbalanced by nowhat except by the idea of the Ethic-good in its entire purity — going hand in hand with the conscious conviction that such ideal really be- longs to the internal predisposition of our humanity (i. e. by the practical faith in the Son of God, 58).

§80. By the effect which this faith (idea of moral excellence), when kept clear of all foreign admixture, gradually takes upon the mind, the person becomes assured that the dreaded powers of evil have no share in him, and that the gates of hell shall not ultimately prevail against him ; an assurance only to be sought for in the criterion of a self-active, well-regulated life. Lastly, an endeavour such as the present to find in the Scripture a sense quite in harmony with the most sacrosanct notices of reason, is to be looked on not only as allowed, but as a very duty ; and we may remind ourselves of the saying of Jesus to his disciples re- lative to some one who took his own mode of going to work, but which eventually issued in the same result: " Forbid him not : for he who is not against us, is for us."


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