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Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals 

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Written by: Immanuel Kant
Edited by: Lara Denis

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: January 01, 2005
209pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551115399 / 1551115395

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Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, first published in 1785, is still one of the most widely read and influential works of moral philosophy. This Broadview edition combines a newly revised version of T.K. Abbott's respected translation with material crucial for placing the Groundwork in the context of Kant's broader moral thought. A varied selection of other ethical writings by Kant on subjects including our moral duties, fundamental principles of justice, the concept of happiness, and the relation of morality to religion are included, along with important criticisms of Kant's ethics by Fichte, Schiller, Hegel, and Sidgwick.


"Lara Denis's subtle updating of Thomas Abbott's classical translation of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals may be the best for both students and general readers. Her clear and concise introduction highlights Kant's central claims and arguments while pointing the reader to the best of contemporary Kant scholarship. Her judicious selection of materials from Kant's other major works in moral and political philosophy—touching upon Kant's theory of the highest good, his conception of the possibility of evil as part and parcel of the possibility of freedom, his humane conception of virtue and the virtues, and much more—provide even the first-time reader with precisely the context that is necessary in order to avoid misunderstanding the Groundwork. As an added bonus, Denis includes key responses to Kant from Fichte, Schiller, and Hegel as well as Henry Sidgwick's 1888 critique of 'The Kantian Conception of Free Will,' perhaps the single most important article on Kant's ethics ever written. All in all, this volume is a brilliant introduction to one of the greatest works in the history of Western philosophy." - Paul Guyer, University of Pennsylvania

"This is an outstanding new edition of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Two main features make it an invaluable introduction to Kant's moral philosophy. The first is the appendices, which include carefully selected excerpts from Kant's other works in moral philosophy and classic criticisms of Kant's ideas by his contemporaries and other philosophers. The second exemplary feature of this edition is Lara Denis's concise, careful, accessible yet rigourous introduction. This edition aims to remove barriers to understanding and appreciating Kant's Groundwork; if I had to choose an ideal edition to set for courses on Kant, it would certainly be this one." - Lucy Allais, University of Sussex

Lara Denis is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Ethics Program at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She is the author of Moral Self-Regard: Duties to Oneself in Kant's Moral Theory (2001) and many articles on Kant's ethics.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Immanuel Kant: A Brief Chronology 

A Note on the Text

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

First Section: Transition from the Common Rational Moral Cognition to the Philosophical Moral Cognition
Second Section: Transition from Popular Moral Philosophy to the Metaphysics of Morals
Third Section: Transition from the Metaphysics of Morals to the Critique of Pure Practical Reason

Appendix A: Immanuel Kant, "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

Appendix B: From Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (1788)

Appendix C: From Immanuel Kant, "On the Common Saying: ‘This May Be True in Theory, but It Does Not Apply in Practice’" (1793)

Appendix D: From Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1793, 1794)

Appendix E: From Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics of Morals (1797)

Appendix F: From a Letter from Johann Gottlieb Fichte to Karl Leonhard Reinhold (1795)

Appendix G: From Friedrich von Schiller and Wolfgang von Goethe, Xenian (1796)

Appendix H: From Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy (1831)

Appendix I: From Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics (1907))

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Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

2005 • 209pp • Paperback • 9781551115399 / 1551115395

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.