Excerpts from H.J. Paton’s analysis of Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

‘The theological principle hat to be moral is to obey the perfect will of God must be utterly rejected. If we suppose that God is good, this can only be because we already know what moral goodness is, and our theory is a vicious circle. If, on the other hand, we exclude goodness from our concept of God’s will and conceive Him merely as all-powerful, we base morality on fear of an arbitrary, but irresistible  will. A moral system of this kind in in direct opposition to morality. Although morality on Kant’s view must lead to religion, it cannot be derived from religion.’

‘[ . . . ] it is absurd to ask wy we should do our duty (or obey the categorical imperative) and to expect as an answer that we should do so because of something else – some interest or satisfaction of our own in this world or the next. If such an answer could be given, it would mean that no imperatives were categorical and that duty is a mere illusion.’

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