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As far as I know, the building blocks of Kant's moral philosophy include:

  • Kant's epistemology, thinkability(what?) of the free will.

  • Categorical imperative (universality, treat things as ends not means)

The Categorical Imperative only gives us the criteria to check whether an act has moral worth (whether X is the right thing). However, I fail to find where Kant addresses the motivation or reason to obey the categorical imperative (Why we ought to do the right thing).

Or we can simply put the argument in the following way: If you have the will to be a free person, you are acting according to a law autonomously, and this law includes the categorical imperative, then as a result, your motivation to act morally is simply that you want to be a free person.

  • The answer is yes. He goes to great lengths to answer this in the Critique; I haven't read Groundwork since freshman year of college I honestly don't remember if he explained it in there. – stoicfury Nov 14 '13 at 7:36
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Yes it has. The answer is simple: Because it is logical.

Assume we don't act morally. According to Kant, that would create contradiction with who we are. With who we are, I mean people and Kant's practical imperative says "So act as to treat humanity, both in your own person, and in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never simply as a means." We can simplify Kant's idea as humans are valuable because they are humans, then acting immorally would contradict this value as immoral behaviours insult the people. Then, acting morally is logical where acting immorally is contradictory.

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    Could you expand on this a bit? Your answer is simple but Kant's solution is far more complex. True, he would say his position is indeed quite logical, but there's much more to it than that... – stoicfury Nov 14 '13 at 7:38
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    Of course. Assume we don't act morally. According to Kant, that would create contradiction with who we are. With who we are, I mean people and Kant's practical imperative says "So act as to treat humanity, both in your own person, and in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end, never simply as a means." We can simplify Kant's idea as humans are valuable because they are humans, then acting immorally would contradict this value as immoral behaviours insult the people. Then, acting morally is logical where acting immorally is contradictory. – Zafer Sernikli Nov 14 '13 at 8:04

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