Expressing a Good Will: Kant on the Motive of Duty


  • Robert N. Johnson

    1. University of Missouri-Columbia
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      G 4:390. I use H. J. Paton's translation of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (G), (New York: Harper & Row, 1964); L. W. Beck's translation of the Critique of Practical Reason (CPrR), (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956); M. Gregor's translation of the Metaphysics of Morals (MM), (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); and the T. M. Green and H. H. Hudson translation of Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone (R) (New York: Harper & Row, 1934). All page numbers refer to the volume and page numbers from the Prussian Academy edition, except the Religion, which refer to the translator's page numbers.

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    Robert N. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University o f Missouri at Columbia. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and has published articles on internalism and deontology.


If any action is to be morally good it is not enough that it should conform to the moral law-it must also be done for the sake of the moral law: where this is not so, the conformity is only too contingent and precarious, since the nonmoral ground at work will now and then produce actions which accord with the law, but very often actions which transgress it.