São Paulo: LiberArs Press (2017)

Authors
Bruno Cunha
Federal University of São João Del Rei
Abstract
Kant‘s moral philosophy is one of the great cornerstones of the Western ethical reflection. The little that is known is that the basic conception on which Kantian ethics was built – videlicet, the concept of autonomy of the will – was developed from the attempt to solve a set of problems of metaphysical and theological character that could only have been overcome through the adoption of a new practical metaphysics. With this in mind, this research is an attempt at a reconstruction of the Kantian moral thought in its development, having as a higher aim the emphasis on the importance of the problem of theodicy in the genesis of Kant‘s original conceptions of freedom and the moral world, which emerged from the middle of the 1760s and only came to a bloom on the next decade. Such an attempt at a reconstruction will be guided by the chronological sequel of the pre-critical writings and Kant‘s reflections on the Manuscript Legacy, besides his Lectures on Ethics, sources that are temporally circumscribed from the late 1750s and the first half of the 1780 decade. In a first moment, the genesis of the moral problem will be analyzed from Kant‘s critical position – due to the objections that were raised precisely by the theodicy – in front of the intellectualistic comprehension of the concepts of perfection and will such as they were received by the German Scholastic. In a second moment, the beginning of a reformulation directly influenced by Crusius and the British moralists will be highlighted, and it will culminate in a repositioning of the ethical problem, having in mind the roles of reason and feeling. The third moment is marked by the Kantian assimilation of Rousseau‘s thought. Rousseau‘s influence will propel the emergency of a new understanding of the concept of perfection as an inner attribute of the will, enabling support for a new concept of practical philosophy. Indeed, a solution to the ethical problem regarding the conditions of possibility of free actions within the natural world will emerge and, besides that, a path to an adequate answer to the problem of theodicy will rise by means of the concept of a practical rational faith. Finally, the development of the Kantian doctrine of the categorical imperative will be highlighted – by means of the debate with Baumgarten‘s compendium – as the first attempts to lay down a systematic and unified view of morality that will try to establish a connection between the concepts of virtue and happiness – in this contexts, approach from the perspective of the highest Good.
Keywords Freedom  Theodicy  metaphysics of morals
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