The Kingdom of Ends

Dissertation, Temple University (1993)

This dissertation presents the argument that the concept of the kingdom of ends is a necessary part of Kant's ethics in that it is not a determinant of the will but rather the primary object of reason's interest and a transcendental ideal; it is the systematization of the ends of all moral reasoning and action, and it is important as the pivotal point in providing systematic unity for Kant's theories of nature, law and morality. The two major sources of inspiration for this topic were the discussion of objective ends in Atwell's Ends and Principles in Kant's Moral Thought, and two articles in Hill's Dignity and Practical Reason in Kant's Moral Theory, i.e., "The Kingdom of Ends," and "Kant's Utopianism." I argue that the kingdom of ends is a purely theoretical, transcendental, moral ideal, with all social and empirical connections abstracted from the concept. This is in accordance with Kant's statements that the kingdom of ends is an ideal , is conceived in analogy with the kingdom of nature , and is abstracted from all personal differences and private or subjective ends of its members . I argue that the kingdom of ends is not a social or political utopia; it is not a depiction of future "perfect political constitution" or a state of perpetual peace in the world. I conclude that it is, however, a synthetic a priori rational, moral system strongly analogous to mathematical systems. The kingdom of ends is a fruitful concept for moral life and action in the same way that abstract geometry is useful for engineering and surveying. Moreover, I hold the kingdom of ends to be the transcendental ideal for all rational endeavor, both theoretical and moral , in the same way that the cosmological ideal is the concept of complete systematic unity of all natural philosophy and science
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