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Critique of Practical Reason
Preface and Introduction
Analytic: Chapter One
Analytic: Chapter Two
Analytic: Chapter Three
Dialectic: Chapter One
Dialectic: Chapter Two
Doctrine of Method–Conclusion
Themes, Ideas, Arguments
Suggestions for Further Reading
Suggested Essay Topics
How to Cite This SparkNote
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1. What does theoretical reason show about freedom, according to the first Critique?
Nothing, except that it can never legislate for or against it
That it can not exist because of determinism
That adherence to the moral law requires belief in it
That it can only truly be obtained by the elimination of desire
2. What does Kant say about Hume's refutation of the reality of causality?
That it is exactly right, and that it woke him from his dogmatic slumbers
that it would be true of noumenal things, but not phenomenal things
That it threatened to undermine morality
That it invited mysticism, though rightly refuting empiricism
3. When one meets a humble but upright person, how does Kant predict one will feel?
One feels relieved that moral goodness is obtainable after all.
One bows, but one's spirit does not bow.
One is amazed that it is possible to overcome social disadvantages to achieve moral greatness.
One's self-conceit is struck down by respect for the moral law.
4. Which is not an example of an action Kant cites as ruled out by the categorical imperative?
Rigidly adhering to principle, come what may
Committing suicide when weary of life
Telling a harmless lie to help a friend
Being indifferent to the needs of others
5. Which does Kant take as a greater threat to practical reason, mysticism or empiricism?
Mysticism, for pursuing pleasure can coincide with morality, but pursuing a supersensible kingdom of God is fanaticism
Mysticism, for the inscrutible will of God is susceptible to many harmful interpretations
Empiricism, for it is the moral natural error for the common run of humanity
Empiricism, for Hume's critique of causality has penetrated the thinking of the common man, and threatens to dissolve science
6. Which historical event took place within Kant's lifetime?
The signing of the Magna Carter
The Napoleanic Wars
World War I
The French Revolution
7. If one takes the good as antecedent to the moral law, what other mistake is one led to, according to Kant?
Taking noumenal concepts to apply to the phenomenal world
Taking Hume's empiricism to be true
Taking the distinction between good and evil to be the same as that between pleasure and pain
Taking oneself to possess a holy will
8. Kant quotes a Stoic who cries out, while suffering intense pain, "Pain, however you torment me, I will never admit that you are something evil." He believes the Stoic is:
Correct, and a good illustration of a philosophical distinction
Incorrect, and a good illustration of the confusion philosophy creates
Correct, and an example of the holy will
Incorrect, and an example of self-conceit
9. What is the highest good, in the sense that is the object of pure practical reason?
That everyone be virtuous
That everyone be happy
There is no such thing
That all virtuous people be happy
10. How does Kant recommend we teach morals?
We start by discussing the metaphysical foundations of the moral law.
We start by associating the idea of duty in children's mind with the idea of reward.
There is no need. Human beings are naturally rational and grow towards the moral law of their own accord.
We start by discussing particular examples of morally questionable and upright behavior.
11. What city did Kant live in all his life?
12. What is, for Kant, the relation of self-love to morality?
Acting on self-love opposes the moral law; one's impulses are morally irrelevant as long as one acts on the motive of duty.
The selfish inclinations are evil. Only when they are eradicated is moral goodness possible.
Self-love is a valuable ally in moral education, and moral excellence requires a high level of self-esteem.
It is irrelevant what one's motives in acting are, it only matters that one's actions conform to the rule.
13. How does the law of pure practical reason impinge on our consciousness?
In no particular way, for we cannot sense the moral law
By constricting the influence of our desires, and by the feeling of elevation in one's own freedom
By the pleasure we take in satisfying our desire to act morally
By the noble feelings we experience when we act truly morally
14. How does Kant view the relationship between freedom and morality?
Following the moral law constricts your freedom
A free person can act either morally or immorally
Following the moral law is freedom
Freedom is irrelevant to question of morality
15. What is Kant's view of determinism?
It is false in the phenomenal world, which we know because we are morally responsible for actions in the phenomenal world.
It is true in the phenomenal world, but freedom depends on the noumenal.
It is true in the noumenal, intelligible world, but false in the phenomenal, sensible world.
It is true in the noumenal and phenomenal worlds.
16. What is the relation of practical and theoretical reason, according to Kant?
The needs of practical reason can lead us to understand things incomprehensible to theoretical reason.
The needs of practical reason can lead us to postulate things outside the limits of theoretical reason, but not to understand them.
Practical reason and theoretical reason have the same limits.
Practical reason is a matter of action, not knowledge, and cannot alter the results of theoretical reason.
17. What does Kant claim as the purpose of the
Critique of Practical Reason
To show that pure practical reason oversteps its limits
To show that self-interest is supported by pure practical reason
To show that reason can only be the slave of the passions
To show that pure practical reason is valid
18. What is the fundamental law of pure practical reason?
Act so as to produce the greatest good for the greatest number.
If your right eye offends you, pluck it out.
So act that the maxim of your will could always hold at the same time as a principle in the giving of universal law.
Only action in which one faces up to the angst of total freedom is authentic.
19. Why does Kant feel that a critique of practical reason is necessary?
We must critique the application of impure as opposed to pure practical reason.
We must critique pure practical reason, which like pure theoretical reason, is always in danger of overstepping its bounds.
We must critique pure practical reason in order to be true our inner feelings.
We must critique practical reason because otherwise it will infringe on the prerogatives of theoretical reason.
20. In the Doctrine of Method, Kant describes what sort of example as best illustrating the worthiness of the moral principle?
The man who cleverly reconciles the demands of morality with those of self- interest
The man who despite being miserable unto thoughts of suicide lives on out of duty
The man whose moral behavior provides benefits for many people
The man who not only does his duty, but acts nobly from natural kindness of heart
21. If one does someone a good turn based on the material principle that one ought to help others, this would be, according to Kant:
A dutiful action
Displaying moral worth
Showing lack of healthy self-regard
Ultimately based on self-love
22. What is the determining ground of the practical law?
The incentive it offers
The faculty it appeals to
23. What, according to Kant, is the most important reason not to commit suicide?
Because such behavior could not be universally willed
Because it would show disrespect for those who care for you
Because it would show disobedience to God, who ought to rather choose your fate
Because it is the nature of humans to seek life, so suicide is unnatural
24. Kant regards stimulating the moral emotions as:
Essential to moral development, for without compassion, acting from duty has no worth
Essential to moral development, as only emotions and desires can motivate behavior
At best a partial means to moral education, for only conceptual principles can provide long-term moral strength
Irrelevant to moral development, as the moral agent should be able exert total control over his emotions
25. What is the difference between a practical maxim and a practical law?
The law is merely subjective, the maxim objective, necessary, and universal
The maxim is a thing in itself, the law is an appearance
The maxim is merely subjective, the law objective, necessary, and universal
The law is a thing in itself, the maxim is an appearance
26. How many laws exist, according to Kant, which are suited to governing a free will?
27. Does the moral law apply to the "holy will"?
Yes, the moral law is universal.
No, the moral law is created by God, so it doesn't apply to God.
Yes, the holiness of the holy will consists in its self-restraint.
No, it is only a law if the agent is capable of flouting it.
28. Autonomy is to freedom as:
Wrong is to right
Day is to night
The moral law is to the practical law
The categorical imperative is to the hypothetical imperative
29. Kant regards pure practical reason as:
Partially constituted by the superego
A faculty which philosophers have long understood quite well, though the common run of humanity confuses with self-love
Being much less liable to misunderstanding than pure theoretical reason
Requiring greatness of soul to properly utilize
30. When does Kant think we (correctly) regard doing ill to people as appropriate?
To wrongdoers when it will aid in reforming them
When they have committed acts of wrongdoing
Whenever it will further the overall good
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