The crux of his argument is that the categorical imperative, which is the fundamental principle of morality, is in essence the law of an autonomous will. Such morality requires a conception of reason, which in normal daily lives goes well beyond our basic desires. In these arguments, Kant sets out to establish the foundational principle of a set of morals. What he is trying to show is that this foundational moral principle draws from a rational will in all of us, and it is this rational will that makes us possess the autonomy to act morally. This autonomy is essentially derived from duty and has the capability of denouncing all inclinations (second proposition) in order to pursue actions that are done strictly in respect of moral law (third proposition). As he rounds up his arguments in this work, he puts it clearly that there are universal moral laws, and any action that is agreeable should not only obey a moral law, but should be done to ensure morality is upheld (Kant 4:400). Any action that is not done for the sake of a moral law even if it conforms to a moral law is not logically necessary.Thus, it is prudent to observe and link the second and third propositions in pursuit of the universal law of morals. Kant seems to maintain that the second proposition is directly linked with the third proposition. However, the notion of respect seems to suggest otherwise as it exists in the third and not in the second proposition.What, then, is respect? Respect is a notion unhinged to the personal faculty of desire and is therefore not an inclination. In plain English, thus, respect is an attitude which impels goodwill actions. An action done by reason of inclination, as opposed to one by reason of respect, would seek a desired effect, and is NOT an action from duty, but an action for a purpose. This brings us to a consideration of the will to do an action and its a priori principle, deemed by Kant to be formal, and it’s a posteriori motive, deemed by Kant to be material. The will must be based on the a priori principle to do an action in order to constitute moral worth. If there are any a posteriori (or material) concerns with regards to it, it cannot logically be deemed moral, since it is based on personal interest instead of respect for moral law even if it is in compliance of a moral duty. Thus, a grocer who offers his inexperienced
Work CitedKant, Immanuel. The metaphysics of morals. London. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
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