By Susan Meld Shell, Richard Velkley
A set of essays by way of prime Kant students analyzing Kant's Observations of 1764 and comments of 1764-1765, a suite of fragments written within the margins of his reproduction of the Observations that documented an important turning element in his existence and thought.
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Extra resources for Kant’s Observations and Remarks: A Critical Guide
Concerning Kant~· earliest ethics 35 In contrast to the ars inveniendi, however, one can no longer speak of these actions as being a part that joins, according to its goal, in the natural perfection of human beings. They are indeed determined by the same ends under which the nature of human beings exists, but in themselves they have an entirely different quality. The good of free action is thus only a good as a means. Nothing is favored in it immediately for itself. One can therefore also not speak of the peift'ctio of freedom.
For this work develops the fundamental concepts of ethics in a way that completely deviates from Woltfs order and often from his meaning. But already in the Prize Essay, Kant looks back to a "long" period of reflection on the fundamental questions of ethics. The earlier text on a proof of the existence of God already reveals results of his reflections. It is thus not possible to trace the source of Kant's critique ofWoltfs theories entirely to Baumgarten. Woltfs arguments themselves must have been available to " Henrich 196ob, 62ff.
Yet then it becomes difficult to explain how the many particular material principles, which must have many sensations as their basis, derive from one feeling that apparently must be a singulare tantum. We know that it was only a short time until Kant abandoned his project of 1762. 24 The problem regarding the relationship between formal and material principles of obligation, which still stood in 1762, was thereby solved in a way that became characteristic of the whole of Kant's ethics. At the root of this solution lies the insight that ethical obligation establishes a demand for volition and for action, and that it is crucial not only to recognize this circumstance, but also to highlight and clarifY it in the theory of the ground of obligation.