The Meaning of the "Critique of Practical Reason" for Moral Beings: The Doctrine of Method of Pure Practical Reason
In Andrews Reath & Jens Timmermann (eds.), Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 197-215 (2010)
The chapter begins by discussing the general meaning of a 'doctrine of method' in Kant’s work, as well as the specific goals of the Doctrine of Method of the second Critique. The central section, then, focuses on the notion of 'receptivity to morality', which here has a central role and a quite distinct meaning. I argue that Kant’s main point in his account of how to 'make objective practical reason subjectively practical' (5:151) is that one ought to lead the individual agent to become aware of his own dignity as a moral being. In Kant’s view, recognition of this point is relevant to the overall aim of the second Critique – to show that pure reason is practical – and of moral theory itself. The task of the Doctrine of Method is to show how it is possible to make agents aware of their basic moral capacities, and through that awareness to instil genuine moral dispositions. Accordingly, the Doctrine of Method is the completion of the Critique, confirming the conclusions of the Analytic through the common use of pure practical reason and connecting them with the experience of every moral agent.
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