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Immanuel Kant ( 22 April 1724 - 12 February 1804) was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features. In one of his major works, the Critique of Pure Reason (1781; second edition 1787), he drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori ('beforehand'), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality.[b]
Kant believed that reason is also the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics. He attempted to explain the relationship between reason and human experience and to move beyond the failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. He wanted to put an end to what he saw as an era of futile and speculative theories of human experience, while resisting the skepticism of thinkers such as David Hume. He regarded himself as showing the way past the impasse between rationalists and empiricists, and is widely held to have synthesized both traditions in his thought.
Kant was an exponent of the idea that perpetual peace could be secured through universal democracy and international cooperation. He believed that this would be the eventual outcome of universal history, although it is not rationally planned. The nature of Kant's religious ideas continues to be the subject of philosophical dispute, with viewpoints ranging from the impression that he was an initial advocate of atheism who at some point developed an ontological argument for God, to more critical treatments epitomized by Schopenhauer, who criticized the imperative form of Kantian ethics as "theological morals" and the "Mosaic Decalogue in disguise", and Nietzsche, who claimed that Kant had "theologian blood" and was merely a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christian faith
Collected here in this omnibus edition are Immanuel Kant's three most important works on the Metaphysics of Morals and Ethics. Included are Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Introduction to the Metaphysic of Morals, and The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics.
Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most important works in modern moral philosophy. It belongs beside Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Hobbes. Here Kant sets out to articulate and defend the Categorical Imperative - the fundamental principle that underlies moral reasoning - and to lay the foundation for a comprehensive account of justice and human virtues.
In Introduction to the Metaphysic of Morals Kant states: "All duties are either duties of right, that is, juridical duties, or duties of virtue, that is, ethical duties. Juridical duties are such as may be promulgated by external legislation; ethical duties are those for which such legislation is not possible."
In The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics states: "If there exists on any subject a philosophy (that is, a system of rational knowledge based on concepts), then there must also be for this philosophy a system of pure rational concepts, independent of any condition of intuition, in other words, a metaphysic. It may be asked whether metaphysical elements are required also for every practical philosophy, which is the doctrine of duties, and therefore also for Ethics."