The Theory of Good and Evil (1907)

Chapter 5. The Categorical Imperative


We have seen that there is implied in every ethical judgement the idea that there is something which is intrinsically good, which it is reasonable to do, which is right, which ought to be done. These different modes of expression I regard as alternative ways of expressing the same unanalysable idea which is involved in all ethical judgements--as much in the Utilitarian's judgement that he ought to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number as in the Idealist's judgement I ought to aim at the greatest Virtue or Perfection for myself or for others. If any one questions the existence of this idea of rightness, no argument can do more than remove some of the misconceptions which may prevent his explicitly recognizing what is really implied in the workings of his own mind. To attempt this task will be the object of the present chapter. If any one denies the authority or validity (as distinct from the existence) of this idea of duty, such a vindication of its validity as it is possible to give belongs to Metaphysic. The relation of Morals to Metaphysic is a subject on which something must be said hereafter: and yet all that even Metaphysic can do in this connexion is to develope the extravagant consequences in which a man becomes involved if he denies the validity of his own thought. To deny the deliverances of our own Reason is to deprive ourselves of any ground for believing in anything whatever. To admit that our Reason assures us that there are some things which it is right to do, and yet to ask why we should believe that those things ought to be done, is to ask why we should believe what we see to be true.(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 1)

Sidgwick's account of this idea of duty is so clear and so entirely dissociated from any metaphysical assumptions which to some minds might seem difficult or questionable, that I cannot do better than quote him at length:--(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 2)

It seems then that the notion of ought or moral obligation as used in our common moral judgements, does not merely import (1) that there exists in the mind of the person judging a specific emotion (whether complicated or not by sympathetic representation of similar emotions in other minds; nor (2) that certain rules of conduct are supported by penalties which will follow on their violation (whether such penalties result from the general liking or aversion felt for the conduct prescribed or forbidden, or from some other source). What then, it may be asked, does it import? What definition can we give of ought, right, and other terms expressing the same fundamental notion? To this I should answer that the notion which these terms have in common is too elementary to admit of any formal definition.... The notion we have been examining, as it now exists[74] in our thought, cannot be resolved into any more simple notions: it can only be made clearer by determining as precisely as possible its relation to other notions with which it is connected in ordinary thought, especially to those with which it is liable to be confounded.(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 3)

In performing this process it is important to note and distinguish two different implications with which the word ought is used; in the narrowest ethical sense what we judge ought to be done, is always thought capable of being brought about by the volition of any individual to whom the judgement applies. I cannot conceive that I ought to do anything which at the same time I judge that I cannot do. In a wider sense, however,--which cannot conveniently be discarded--I sometimes judge that I ought to know what a wiser man would know, or feel as a better man would feel, in my place, though I may know that I could not directly produce in myself such knowledge or feeling by any effort of will. In this case the word merely implies an ideal or pattern which I ought--in the stricter sense--to seek to imitate as far as possible. And this wider sense seems to be that in which the word is normally used in the precepts of Art generally, and in political judgements: when I judge that the laws and constitution of my country ought to be other than they are, I do not of course imply that my own or any other individual's single volition can directly bring about the change. In either case, however, I imply that what ought to be is a possible object of knowledge: i.e. that what I judge ought to be must, unless I am in error, be similarly judged by all rational beings who judge truly of the matter[75].(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 4)

In referring such judgements to the Reason, I do not mean to prejudge the question whether valid moral judgements are normally attained by a process of reasoning from universal principles or axioms, or by direct intuition of the particular duties of individuals. It is not uncommonly held that the moral faculty deals primarily with individual cases as they arise, applying directly to each case the general notion of duty, and deciding intuitively what ought to be done by this person in these particular circumstances. And I admit that on this view the apprehension of moral truth is more analogous to Sense-perception than to Rational Intuition (as commonly understood): and hence the term Moral Sense might seem more appropriate. But the term Sense suggests a capacity for feelings which may vary from A and B without either being in error, rather than a faculty of cognition: and it appears to me fundamentally important to avoid this suggestion. I have therefore thought it better to use the term Reason with the explanation above given, to denote the faculty of moral cognition[76].(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 5)

In claiming for the idea of duty not merely existence but authority, we have implied that the recognition that something is our duty supplies us with what we recognize upon reflection as a sufficient motive for doing it, a motive on which it is psychologically possible to act. The recognition of the thing as right is capable of producing an impulse to the doing of it. This impulse need not be strong enough to override other motives, nor need we enter here upon the question in what sense (if any) the choice between this motive of duty and other desires or impulses must be held to depend upon the undetermined choice of the individual at the moment of action. It is enough for our present purpose that on reflection we recognize that the seeing a thing to be right is a reason for doing it, and that in some ment at some moments the desire to do what is reasonable or right as such causes the actions to be done.(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 6)

Once again I may quote Sidgwick:--(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 7)

Further, when I speak of the cognition or judgement that X ought to be done--in the stricter ethical sense of the term ought--as a dictate or precept of reason to the persons to whom it relates; I imply that in rational beings as such this cognition gives an impulse or motive to action: though in human beings, of course, this is only one motive among others which are liable to conflict with it, and is not always--perhaps not usually--a predominant motive. In fact, this possible conflict of motives seems to be connoted by the term dictate or imperative; which describes the relation of Reason to mere inclinations or non-rational impulses by comparing it to the relation between the will of a superior and the wills of his subordinates. This conflict seems also to be implied in the terms ought, duty, moral obligation, as used in ordinary moral discourse: and hence these terms cannot be applied to the actions of rational beings to whom we cannot attribute impulses conflicting with reason. We may, however, say of such beings that their actions are reasonable, or (in an absolute sense) right.(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 8)

I am aware that some persons will be disposed to answer all the preceding argument by a simple denial that they can find in their consciousness any such unconditional or categorical imperative as I have been trying to exhibit. If this is really the final result of self-examination in any case, there is no more to be said. I, at least, do not know how to impart the notion of moral obligation to any one who is entirely devoid of it. I think, however, that many of those who give this denial only mean to deny that they have any consciousness of moral obligation to actions without reference to their consequences; and would not really deny that they recognise some universal end or ends--whether it be the general happiness, or well-being otherwise understood--as that at which it is ultimately reasonable to aim.... But in this view, as I have before said, the unconditional imperative plainly comes in as regards the end, which is--explicitly or implicitly--recognised as an end at which all men ought to aim; and it can hardly be denied that the recognition of an end as ultimately reasonable involves the recognition of an obligation to do such acts as most conduce to the end[77].(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 9)

The two positions (1) that the rightness of actions is perceived immediately by the Reason, (2) that this rightness ought to be and is capable of becoming a motive to the Will, are embodied by Kant in the two famous phrases, the categorical imperative and the autonomy of the will. Duty is a categorical imperative because when a thing is seen to be right, we feel commanded to do it categorically, absolutely, as a means to no end beyond itself. If duty meant merely Do this if you want to be happy, or to be perfect, or to go to heaven, it would be merely a hypothetical imperative: its obligation would depend on our happening to desire the end to which we saw the action in question to be a means. As it is, we feel that the rightness of doing what we see to be our duty is in no way dependent on the presence or absence of any desire or inclination towards what is commanded. It is true that the action cannot be done unless there is an impulse to do what is right or reasonable on our part, but such a desire may be created by the Reason which recognizes the rightness: we desire to do the act commanded (in so far as we do desire it) because it is commanded; we do not judge that we are commanded to do the act simply because we chance to desire it[78]. When then we do a thing because it is right, the will is autonomous: it is a law to itself. Though the man feels commanded to do the act whether he likes it or not, it is nevertheless the man himself--his own Reason, the highest part of his nature--which issues the command or makes the law. Hence in the highest sense he is most free when most completely the slave of duty[79].(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 10)

The two positions in which we have taken Sidgwick as a peculiarly lucid exponent of Kant are in the Philosopher's own writings associated with a third in which his utilitarian disciple does not follow him. To Kant the performance of duty is not merely right; it is the highest good of the agent. Here we have already found reason to believe that Kant is right, and can only refer the sceptic to the testimony of his own consciousness. If he denies that he finds in his own consciousness the judgement goodness of conduct possesses a higher worth than anything else in the world, the only way to argue with him would be to try to show that his own actions, or at least his judgements of himself and other men, really imply that he thinks so; that his approval of himself when he does right and disapproval when he does wrong are quite inexplicable upon the assumption that bad conduct is merely conduct which is irrational from the point of view of Society though wholly rational from his own private point of view. For the man who believes it, the judgement Morality is good and the greatest of goods or the good will is the most important element in the good is as much a simple and ultimate deliverance of the moral consciousness as the judgement It is right to promote the general good.(Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 ¶ 11)

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 1. In the sentences omitted the writer explains that he does not exclude the possibility that this notion has been gradually developed.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 2. As a representation of the present writer's views this statement of the unanalysable character of right must be taken to be qualified by what follows (below, pp. 137, 138) as to the relation between this notion and the wider concept of good.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 3. Methods of Ethics, 6th ed., pp. 31–34.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 4. Methods of Ethics, 6th ed., pp. 34–5.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 5. It was partly to avoid this implication that Kant refused to speak of a desire to do one's duty, and partly because, as pointed out below, he erroneously assumed that every desire was a desire for pleasure. He therefore spoke of the interest of Reason in the Moral Law or respect for the Moral Law as the subjective motive of right conduct. But in his eagerness to assert that Reason immediately moves the will, he has at times the appearance of forgetting (what Aristotle urges against Plato) that bare thought does not initiate action (διάνοια αὐτὴ οὐδὲν κινεῖ): that moral choice (προαίρεσις) involves a desire (ὄρεξις) for the end as well as the intellectual perception that an act will promote the end. As von Hartmann puts it, Das Pflichtgefühl ist selbst eine Neigung (Das sittl. Bewusstsein, p. 254). Moreover, this habit of speaking as if Reason stepped in (so to speak) and worked the human body without the intervention of any subjective motive, involved him in much unnecessarily mysterious language about the Autonomy of the Will. When Kant said that the will is a law to itself he meant that in right action Reason is a law to the will; in fact, according to Kant, the will is Reason, at least when the will is rightly directed. Wrong acts, it would appear, can only be said to be willed, and so said to be free, according to Kant, in so far as Reason might have intervened to stop them and did not. But the Psychology of wrong action is one on which Kant is as vague as he is unsatisfactory.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 1 n. 6. No doubt in Kant's own view this use of the term free (in which it can only be applied to right acts) implies also the opposite of determined or necessitated (see below, Book III, ch. iii, § i). The double sense in which Kant used the term free is very clearly pointed out by Prof. Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics, Book I, ch. v and Appendix.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 1. Kant was no doubt wrong in supposing that all other systems but his own were based upon heteronomy of the Will. This is not true of Plato and Aristotle (to say nothing of other ancient writers) whom Kant's education had not qualified him to understand, nor of the Cambridge Platonists and other English Rationalists of whom he appears to have known little or nothing. It was not true of them unless the doctrine of the categorical imperative is distorted into the precept Do your duty without considering whether what you are doing is good for any one or not, and in that sense the idea of Autonomy is, as contended below, indefensible and absurd.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 2. This is a very inadequate and popular statement, nor do I mean to assent to Kant's idea of a form derived from the mind and a matter derived from some source outside the mind. I have merely endeavoured to explain for the benefit of any one to whom it is unfamiliar Kant's use of the terms form and matter so far as is necessary for the comprehension of his ethical position.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 3. Kant nowhere explains the relation in which the three rules are supposed to stand towards one another, nor does he ever bring them into close contact with one another; but in different parts of his ethical writings each one of them is treated as the fundamental principle of Morality. In practice he uses one or the other of them just as may be most convenient for the purpose of proving the particular duty with which he is dealing.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 4. This principle seems to me to require some qualification (see below, p. 116 note); and it is obvious that we have not really got this rule out of the form, for without knowing what sort of being the other is, and what good he is capable of, we cannot say what that good is worth--unless, indeed, we make it mean simply an individual's good must be of as much value as the like good of any other individual.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 5. This interpretation of Kant is will insisted on by Sigwart (Logic, E.T., ii. p. 543 seq.). Sigwart would call the principle in question a postulate: I should venture to regard it as both a postulate and an axiom. It ought not to be denied by any one who is not prepared to question the validity of all thinking. Mr. Bradley is so far consistent that he accuses thought as well as Morality of internal inconsistency. Some of his followers (in Ethics) have been less logical. Mr. Bradley is only following out his own principle to its logical conclusion when, in his frequent polemics against Casuistry, he denies apparently the possibility of any inference whatever in the ethical sphere (see below, Bk. III, ch. vi). It is enough for our present purpose to insist that the self-evident axioms of Ethics and the inferences based upon them have as much validity as any other parts of our thinking.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 6. It will be observed that I am speaking of elements in the supreme ethical rule, not elements of the end. The end itself must not contain intrinsically incompatible elements, but in particular circumstances elements of the end are often incompatible: but the ethical rule says in that case promote the good which is of most intrinsic value. Even the good may, and obviously does, contain elements which cannot all be enjoyed by the same persons.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 7. All the elements which belong to the notion of happiness are altogether empirical, i.e. they must be borrowed from experience (Grundlegung zur Met. d. Sitten, § 2, translated by Abbot in Kant's Theory of Ethics, 4th ed., 1889, p. 35).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 8. Metaph. Anfangsgründe d. Tungendlehre, Einleitung, § iv seq. (Abbot, p. 296). But this is qualified (hardly consistently) by the admission of a negative duty towards the moral well-being of others, i.e. not to create temptations (Abbot, p. 304).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 9. A third [the first two cases are suicide and breach of promise] finds in himself a talent which with the help of some culture might make him a useful man in many respects. But he finds himself in comfortable circumstances, and prefers to indulge in pleasure rather than to take pains in enlarging and improving his happy natural capacities. He asks, however, whether his maxim of neglect of his natural gifts, besides agreeing with his inclination to indulgence, agrees also with what is called duty. He sees then that a system of nature could indeed subsist with such a universal law although men (like the South Sea islanders) should let their talents rust, and resolve to devote their lives merely to idleness, amusement, and propagation of their species--in a word, to enjoyment; but he cannot possibly will that this should be a universal law of nature, or be implanted in us as such by a natural instinct. For, as a rational being, he necessarily wills that his faculties be developed, since they serve him, and have been given him, for all sorts of possible purposes (Grundlegung, § 4: Abbot, p. 40). I pass over the objections (1) that elsewhere the development of faculties is not regarded by Kant as an ultimate good, the only ultimate goods being Virtue and Happiness; (2) that Kant relies upon teleological assumptions to which he was not entitled: he had no right (from his point of view) to assume that our faculties were given us for any reason whatever.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 10. It is true that even in the selected cases the contradiction is not really internal. It is the actual structure of human society which makes the suggested rule unworkable.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 11. That we can only hold this principle by including in the circumstances the man's own character and disposition (other than an indisposition to perform what has once been proved to be his duty), I have contended below in the chapter on Vocation (vol. ii, ch. iv).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 12. The Moral Law, we may say, has to be expressed in the form, Be this, not in the form, Do this. The possibility of expressing any rule in this form may be regarded as deciding whether it can or cannot have a distinctively moral character. Christianity gives prominence to the doctrine that the true moral law says hate not, instead of kill not (Leslie Stephen, Science of Ethics, 1882, p. 155).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 13. Dr. Lipps (Die ethischen Grundfragen, 1899, p. 158 seq.) has attempted to clear Kant of the imputation that his categorical imperative has no content by suggesting that the content is supplied by all our natural desires and inclinations: the moral law simply prescribes the way and extent to which they should be indulged. I believe that this is very largely the explanation of Kant's own view of the matter, but it is open to the objection that it allows all actual tendencies of human nature (aller möglichen menschlichen Zwecke) to be indulged in proportion to their actual strength, except in so far as their indulgence interferes with the indulgence of other such tendencies in ourselves and in other individuals. It is obvious that we should have to appeal to experience to know what is the relative strength of these tendencies; and, after all, it supplies us with a very unsatisfactory test of their relative value. If only the tendency to opium-smoking were sufficiently strong in a whole community, the Kantian principle (as interpreted by Dr. Lipps) would make universal opium-smoking a categorical imperative.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 2 n. 14. Lotze, the last man in the world to sanction vulgar Hedonism, has said: There is nothing at all in the world, which would have any value until it has produced some pleasure in some being or other capable of enjoyment. Everything antecedent to this is naught but an indifferent kind of fact, to which a value of its own can be ascribed only in an anticipatory way, and with reference to some pleasure that is to originate from it (Practical Philosophy, Eng. Trans. by Ladd, p. 19). I believe this statement might be defended, since (a) pleasure is an element in all ultimate good. (b) Lotze has not said that the value lies exclusively in the pleasure abstracted from the other elements of consciousness, or that it is to be measured by the amount of that pleasure. But his statement seems to me liable to misunderstanding. On the other hand, it is surprising to find Lotze admitting that the effort to hold fast pleasure, or to regain it, and to avoid pain, are the only springs of all practical activity (Microcosmus, E.T., i. p. 688), but here again the taint of Hedonism is removed by a recognition of differences in the quality of the pleasure.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 1. I speak popularly: to Kant there could be no such thing as an unselfish love of anything except duty, and even that could only be respected, not loved. To Kant (in his stricter moments), as to Bentham, Benevolence not inspired by pure sense of duty was merely a love of benevolent pleasure.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 2. Ueber die Grundlage der Moral, § 6 (The Basis of Morality, trans. by A. B. Bullock, 1903, p. 49). He goes on to call it a piece of stupid moral pedantry (taktlosen moralischen Pedantismus).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 3. From Die Philosophen.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 4. Grundlegung, § 2 (Abbot, p. 46).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 5. Including the desire of pleasure.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 6. I do not mean to accept this as a fully adequate account of the matter, unless the idea of Benevolence and that of self-love have been understood in a non-hedonistic sense.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 7. Cf. below, p. 153 sq.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 8. Dr. Martineau's Ethics have the merit of developing this idea: but he exaggerates when he denies that the love of duty or desire to do what is right and reasonable as such, can ever be a spring of action at all (Types of Ethical Theory, 3rd ed., ii. p. 279 sq.).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 9. Cf. James, Psychology, i. 258 sq., 471 sq., &c.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 3 n. 10. It would perhaps be consistent with Kantian principles to say that the act possesses some moral value because there is some respect for the moral law; but this explanation does not really express the facts. The man is possibly not thinking of the Moral Law as such at all (I have explained below that he may nevertheless recognize that there is something intrinsically good in his love for wife and children), and yet we do recognize that the disinterested affection by itself gives the act moral value.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 4 n. 1. There is considerable ethical importance in the modern Psychologist's recognition that we do not think of one thing or idea at a time, but that while the centre of consciousness may be occupied by some idea, there is a fringe of other ideas present with various degrees of clearness and distinctness (like the object lying on the outside of the fringe of vision, e.g. persons of whose presence we are conscious without actually looking at them sufficiently to know who they are). An idea present in the fringe of consciousness can always become the central object of the mental vision when occasion arises for it. The good man will always have the sense of duty somewhere in the fringe of his consciousness. This view is not inconsistent with the doctrine strongly insisted on by many Psychologists that we can only attend to one object at a time; but at all events such an object may include many ideas (in James's sense) which may be the object of different degrees and kinds of attention.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 4 n. 2. Une conscience morale n'aboutit pas à la formule: je dois faire ceci, mais à la formule: ceci est à faire (Rauh, L'Expérience morale, p. 32).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 4 n. 3. Grundlage der Moral, § 6 (E. T., p. 50).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 5 n. 1. No doubt Kant often repudiates this deduction from his principles.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 6 n. 1. Kant has specially in mind the case of certain other kinds of sexual vice, and there his contention would be still more hopeless, if we assume that happiness (= pleasure) is the only end except duty considered simply as the promotion of pleasure for others (Tugendlehre, Th. I. § 7, Semple's Translation, 3rd ed., 1871, p. 240).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 6 n. 2. Tugendlehre, Th. I. § 6 (Semple, p. 239 sq.).

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 7 n. 1. The realization of the summum bonum in the world is the necessary object of a will determinable by the Moral Law (Kritik d. praktischen Vernunft, Pt. II, § 4, p. 262, and Abbot, p. 218). Now inasmuch as virtue and happiness together constitute the possession of the summum bonum in a person, and the distribution of happiness in exact proportion to morality … constitutes the summum bonum of a possible world; hence this summum bonum expresses the whole, the perfect good (Dialektik, Pt. II, Abbot, p. 206). Of course, in so far as Kant did not recognize that the good will means the will that wills the promotion and just distribution of happiness, he was still liable to the criticism that he has provided no means of determining what will is moral: but on the whole it would seem that in such passages as the above he meant to define virtue as the willing of acts tending to promote happiness and the just distribution of it.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 8 n. 1. Such a statement is in no way inconsistent with the doctrine which I fully accept, that the word good is indefinable: we can only bring out the real meaning of the idea by the use of words which equally imply the notion. Good, Ought (when applied to ends), Value, the End I regard as synonymous terms. Mr. Moore, in his recent Principia Ethica, has done well to emphasize in a very striking manner that good is indefinable; but when he goes on to say (p. 17) that and yet, so far as I know, there is only one ethical writer, Prof. Henry Sidgwick, who has clearly recognized and stated this fact, I cannot admit the historical accuracy of his statement. To say nothing of writers who (like Mr. Moore and myself) learned the doctrine largely from Sidgwick, I should contend that it was taught with sufficient distinctness by Plato (whatever may be thought of his further attempt to show that only the good has real existence), Aristotle, and a host of modern writers who have studied in their school--by no one more emphatically than by Cudworth. The only criticism which I should make upon Mr. Moore's exposition of it is that he ignores the other ways in which the same notion may be expressed, and in particular the correlative notion of right or ought. He is so possessed with this idea that the good is indefinable that he will not even trouble to expound and illustrate it in such ways as are possible in the case of ultimate ideas.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 8 n. 2. The non-recognition of this principle (so fully admitted, as we have seen, by Lotze) is to my mind the leading defect in the Bishop of Clogher's in many respects admirable Short Study of Ethics (2nd ed., 1901). Bishop d'Arcy fully appreciates the defects of Kant's formalism, and of the attempt to pronounce acts right or wrong without regard to consequences known to us from experience: yet we find him asserting the end, or good, of man is man doing, the concretion of man and the world. This concrete activity is the only thing which can be called good in itself (pp. 168-9), and the only true good is to be good in the sense of performing the good act (p. 277). Such statements seem to me to imply a reversion to Kant's attempt to say that to cause toothache is wrong without having first decided whether toothache (however caused) is or is not a bad thing. And it goes beyond Kant in pronouncing that nothing but a moral act is good at all. Wundt seems to me equally open to criticism, when he talks about happiness as being not an end in itself, but a by-product of moral effort (Ethics, Eng. Trans., iii. p. 90), or about an objectively worthless sum of individual happinesses (ib., p. 83). It is curious that so modern and scientific a Moralist as Wundt should be almost the only living thinker of high eminence who out-kants Kant in his view of the exclusive value of a moral end, which, however, is to him not so much the perfection of individual wills as a vague and impersonal progress of humanity.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 8 n. 3. Strictly no doubt there must be some feature in the act known to us to account for our choosing it, but the motive might be the simple desire to act without further reflection--the pure cussedness from which, indeed, it is so hard to distinguish the motive of the ideal Kantian, when Kantism is understood on its irrational side.

Bk. 1 Ch. 5 § 8 n. 4. I have in this chapter for the most part avoided all criticism of sides of the Kantian Ethics which could not be discussed without reference to the defects of the metaphysical system with which they are so closely connected. Even Kant's purely ethical position I have only examined so far as seemed desirable as a means of helping forward my own argument.