They set out only the beginnings of Kant’s teaching on morality.
One by one, there were no longer articles, but entire books directed against him. He was accused of skepticism and subjective idealism. It was not possible or necessary to answer everyone: along with the number of critics, the number of supporters grew. Kant himself only in rare cases responded to his opponents.
Scientific dispute, in his opinion, is interesting only when you can say something new. To expose the adversary in the dishonesty of stupidity is an ungrateful occupation, especially since Kant has finally discovered an unknown continent of thought, around which the great philosophers have long argued and to which he himself aspired for many years.
It’s about ethics. In this area, Kant’s merits are no less great than in epistemology. It was the interest in ethical problems and the difficulties that arise in solving them, first of all prompted Kant to start writing "Critique of Pure Reason." Kant began his first systematic exposition of ethics in his book The Fundamentals of the Metaphysics of Manners, which was published in 1785. The philosopher sought to show the unity of practical and theoretical reason (ie, morality and science). In 1785 he believed that he was unable to solve such a problem. As soon as it appeared on his shoulder, he wrote "Critique of Practical Reason."
The book was published in 1788. The content of these two ethical works partly repeats, partly complements each other. They set out only the beginnings of Kant’s teaching on morality. Only in old age did the philosopher manage to create a work where his ethics became complete, that is, the "Metaphysics of Manners." The new word Kant said about human behavior is the autonomy of morality. Previous theories were heteronomous, that is, they derived morality from principles external to it.
Some moralists saw the root of moral principles in some coercive order – the will of God, the establishment of society, the requirements of innate feelings. Others insisted that the notion of good and evil are derived from the goals pursued by man, and the consequences arising from his behavior, from his desire for happiness, pleasure, benefit. Kant asserts the fundamental independence and self-worth of moral principles. Good is good, even if no one is good.
The criteria here are absolute and obvious. Philosophical analysis of moral concepts suggests that they are not derived from experience, they are a priori embedded in the human mind. The original concept of Kant’s ethics is autonomous good will. It is not passive, the thinker demands action, action from its bearer. The moral act looks like the result of some internal imperative (command), which sometimes goes against the immoral practice of the surrounding reality.
In this regard, the philosopher emphasizes the primacy of practical reason over theoretical. The main thing is behavior, and knowledge is secondary. Therefore, in order to recognize good and evil, you do not need professional education, enough intuition ("judgment"). Here Kant disagrees with the "discoverer" of morality Socrates, for whom good coincides with knowledge and lack of knowledge is the only source of any moral imperfection. In this way, the author of "Critique" and "Fundamentals" goes beyond Enlightenment rationalism.
According to Kant, human nature is his will. The will from the point of view of ethics is not arbitrariness, not just a logical construction, in which for this reason different actions can occur on equal terms. The moral freedom of a person consists in the realization and fulfillment of a duty to oneself and other people. "Free will and will, subject to moral laws, are one and the same." Man’s will is possible insofar as he is a child of two worlds. Belonging to the sensory world makes a person a toy of external causality, here he is subject to external forces – the laws of nature and the establishment of society. But as a member of the noumenal world of "things in themselves" he is endowed with will. These two worlds are not antiworlds, they interact with each other.
The dichotomy of man is eliminated by the mechanism of conscience. It is not possible to understand everything correctly, but to arrive incorrectly. Define yourself, worry about the consciousness of moral duty, it follows him always and everywhere, be responsible for your actions – such is the quintessence of Kant’s ethics, strict and uncompromising. An essential place in Kant’s philosophical system is occupied by his philosophy of religion, which is directly adjacent to ethics.
The philosopher puts forward thesis: morality does not arise from divine institutions, and the antithesis: morality inevitably leads to religion. Human abilities are not enough to align people’s right to happiness with their responsibilities, so it is necessary to recognize the almighty moral being as the ruler of the world. The treatise "Religion within only the mind" is devoted to the substantiation of the antithesis. Kant looks closely at the past, seeks socio – psychological roots of faith in God and sees in man and humanity as a whole the struggle of two beginnings – good and evil. The philosopher begins with considerations about the moral nature of man.
Man, he argues, is evil by nature. It contains a tendency to act evil, which seems to be acquired, being, however, inherent in it. At the same time, a person possesses the original instincts of good.
Moral education consists in restoring good rights in rights, so that they may win in the struggle against the human tendency to evil. Such a victory is possible only as a revolution in the direction of thoughts and feelings of man himself and requires for this purpose the animal farm ch 5 summary existence of a social need for good. Feelings of guilt (your own or someone else’s, in which you are only involved) – the basis of morality. The historicism of Kant’s thinking was clearly manifested in the doctrine of religion.
Kant sees the primordial, essentially non-religious state of the people, then the first, as yet undeveloped type of religion, called "worship." The third stage is the faith of reason. The liturgical religion is designed to seek the affection of the supreme being, which can be appeased by reverence, sacred sacrifices, observance of orders and rites. Man flatters himself with the thought that God can make him happy without getting better himself.
The religion of reason is a pure belief in the good, in one’s own moral potentials without the admixture of any calculation, without shifting responsibility to higher powers. It is a religion of a good way of life that commits to inner perfection. God is a moral law that, as if it existed objectively, is love, as stated in the pages of the Metaphysics of Manners of the author’s latest ethical work. The author accepts Christianity as a moral principle, as a program of philanthropy. Improving this program, he tries to justify it theoretically.
In the late 80′s of the XVIII century in the philosophical views of Kant is a new turning point. Remaining generally in the position of criticism, he clarifies (and sometimes drastically changes)his views on a number of important issues for him. This primarily concerns the problem of metaphysics. In the Critique of Pure Reason, the question remains open.
On the one hand, the philosopher convincingly showed that metaphysics as a theoretical discipline is impossible. On the other hand – he declared the program of creating a new metaphysics as a science of things – God and the immortality of the soul.
In 1788 it became known that the Berlin Academy intended to announce a competition for the best work on the topic "What real successes have made metaphysics since the days of Leibniz and Wolf." Kant did not participate in the competition, although he was hired three times. The surviving manuscript eloquently testifies to its relation to metaphysics. Kant insists that there can be no theoretical knowledge outside of sensory experience.
To add to the concept of objectivity it is necessary to bring under it any contemplation. Therefore, theoretically, we can learn nothing about God, or about the will, or about the soul separated from the body. "Practically we created these objects for ourselves" we believe in them and behave accordingly. Metaphysics of the supersensible is possible only from a "practically – dogmatic" point of view. And Kant imagines the metaphysics of nature only as the development of the conceptual apparatus of the natural sciences. Metaphysics is a critique, a correction to common sense, and nothing more – can be read in drafts.
Having moved to the position of critical philosophy, Kant did not forget about the fascination of youth, about his "first love" – science. He continued to teach courses in physical geography and theoretical physics. He remained interested in astronomy and "celestialics" and wrote two articles on the subject: "On volcanoes and the moon" and "Something about the influence of the moon on the weather." Two years before the Berlin competition was announced, he published Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science.
If in "Critique of Pure Reason" sketching the structure of his future philosophy of nature, Kant divided it into rational physics and rational psychology, now he does not consider the nature of the soul as an object of scientific knowledge. The soul is not an extensive quantity, but a description of sincere phenomena – not a natural science that deals only with bodies. The philosopher took an active part in the practical implementation of scientific discoveries. For example, the construction of the first lightning rod in Königsberg (on the building of the Haberberg Church) is connected with Kant’s name.
However the main interests of the thinker on – former lay in actually philosophical sphere. When it became clear to him the inability to try to rebuild the house of speculative metaphysics destroyed by him, he began to look for new ways to create a philosophical system, because in philosophy he valued first of all systematicity.
The general outlines of training have developed in him for a long time, but the system has not yet been. Of course, the first two "Critics …" are connected in some way, they have developed the same concept, but the achieved unity between theoretical and practical reason seemed to insufficient him. What was missing was some important next link. The system of philosophy arose in Kant only after he found between nature and the will a kind of "third world" – the world of beauty. When he created the Critique of Pure Reason, he believed that aesthetic problems could not be understood from a general point of view.
The principles of beauty are empirical in nature and, therefore, cannot serve to establish general laws. The term "Aesthetics" he then referred to the study of sensuality, the ideal space and time.