One of the characteristics that jumps to the eye when one reads the Critique of Practical Reason is the insistence of Kant that pure reason is to establish a practical rule of conduct, without any relationship with considerations merely empirical. It’s a refrain constant in the text. Now, that is strange yes it is considered that in the Critique of Pure Reason , we argue that pure reason is not sufficient: it Is only the combination between reason and intuition empirical, which produces knowledge. Why, then, it is required that the practical reason does not have empirical consideration any?
Kant, in fact, is aware of the above and emphasizes that difference.
If we compare with this the split analytic of the critique of the speculative reason, it highlights a curious contrast between the two. There the first datum that made it possible for a knowledge a priori restricted to objects of the senses was given by a pure intuition sensitive (space and time) and not by principle. Were impossible the synthetic principles from mere concepts without intuition and such concepts could only take place in connection with an intuition sensitive about objects that fall under a possible experience because the concepts of the understanding linked with this intuition formed that only knowledge possible which we call experience (Critique of Practical Reason, 73, AkV 42, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1)
In contrast, in the pure reason practice:
The moral law, in contrast, although neither provides any perspective, yes brings up a factum absolutely inexplicable from all the data in the sensitive world and the outline of the theoretical use of reason, a factum that provides indications relating to a world that is purely intellectual, and even determines it positively when we let ourselves perceive something of it, namely: a law (Critique of Practical Reason, 74, AkV 43, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1)
This factum of reason, a fact rational, that allows then to establish the practical rules without the need of empirical considerations. At least in the lattice argumentative the factum is crucial to the chain of reasons of the Critical work. It is only through him that Kant can substantiate that pure capacity of reason to give the law of the conduct. The fact of the moral law -Kant will insist on repeated occasions there is even for those who try to not behave according to him – is the foundation of all the approximation (around the attempt of an ethics based purely on reason universalizante and oblivious to all empiricism). So:
The factum relied on a moment ago is undeniable. Suffice it to analyze the valid judgment for the human beings around at the adjustment with the law of his actions, always we will find that, at the margin of what I like to say the inclination, its reason remains incorruptible despite all of this, and autoconstriñe to match the maximum adopted by the will in any action, that is, with itself, in that it considers practice a priori. (Critique of Practical Reason, To 56, AkV 32, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1, § 7)
The need of the factum, and of the particular form that Kant conceives it -as consciousness of the moral law – can be show in the following. Nothing prevents in principle a statement that has universal form -and therefore has the form of a law a priori as is the thought in the Critique of Pure Reason– but contains empirical foundations and materials to be able to be applied-and is equivalent to the role of intuition in the same text. So a maximum of ‘do the action that will allow the greater fullness and expansion of your capabilities without affecting the fullness of others’ is a perfect maxim that could be applied universally and comply with the categorical imperative: “act so that the maxim of thy will can always assert at the same time as the principle of a law universal” (Critique of Practical Reason, 54, AkV 31, the Critique of Practical Reason, To 56, AkV 32, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1, § 7). However this maximum does not imply, nor is it running or directly orders any action, only through the union of the maximal rational along with empirical evidence as well set the action, and therefore requires empirical evidence. Now, the only reason to prohibit this type of maximum as valid cases, rational -that is what Kant in fact prohibits – is that it prevents the conclusion.
The factum operates as the equivalent to the intuition, and is what allows it to operate the pure reason. For that to work, then, the factum has to operate in strong. In principle, the factum refers to the recognition of a moral law. But the factum only reason that human beings-as rational beings – limited live with moral laws that generate in them a sense of dignity /indignity of them and their actions, the case is that a formal principle that will operate with empirical evidence it could do so: The moral sense what that does is establish the willingness of people to obey the law, but in fact do not necessarily have to impose the law. For the factum to function as Kant wants it not only as the factum of recognizing that there are moral laws, but that those same moral laws do not have to come from principles of empirical. Only in this way can then be to comply with the need of the autonomy of the will that Kant wants to:
The autonomy of the will is the sole principle of all moral laws, as well as of the duties which conform to them; on the other hand is heteronomy of the will, far from substantiating any obligation, is opposed to the principle of this obligation and to the morality of the will (Critique of Practical Reason, 58, AkV 33, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1, § 8)
For that to work the factum has to operate as a pure reason. What we will attempt to show is that Kant cannot base what you want to defend: that puridad of the reason for establishing the practical law of conduct. The factum of reason requires, in your own argument kantian, an element empirically, and even more based on consequences. This point as such was defended by Stuart Mill in his essay on Utilitarianism, but here we want to focus more on an internal critique -given that utilitarianism has its own aporías. The most obvious case is when Kant attempts to illustrate his idea that a rational being has to think of its maxims as principles that contain your basis in the form and not in matter (Critique of Practical Reason, 48, AkV 27, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1, § 4), that is where you are going to deduce the Categorical Imperative, tells us:
Suppose that I have adopted the maxim to increase my net worth by any means safe. And imagine then in my hands a deposit whose owner dies, leaving no record of the same. Naturally such is the case of my maximum. Now pretend to know whether that maxim can assert also as a law that is universal practice. I apply this maximum to both the present case and wonder if, by adopting the form of a law, I may file simultaneously my maxim as a law of this tenor: “whoever is enabled to deny that it has entrusted to a tank when no one can prove otherwise”. I immediately realize that such a principle is autodestruiría in terms of law, to give rise to that do not make any deposit (Critique of Practical Reason, To 49, AkV 287, Part I, Book I, Chapter 1, § 4)
The argument depends on the consequences empirical, and only works if they are of that tenor. Given that other consequences are fully possible -for example, that a maximum of this type bring more good to demand always witnesses or proofs – reasoning does not work. In fact, the alternative suggested is not mere possibility, does not cease to be a description not so wrong of the evolution of the deposits, and the increase of witnesses and formalities to the validity of the contract. Now, if the result of empirical is not given, and therefore it is false empirically that such a principle beings destroy themselves, then we can conclude that pure reason by itself -without having contact with the empirical considerations – just can’t found the selection of maxims. And if this happens, then the factum of Kant ceases to perform its functions.
Even more, it is reduced to an empirical, and not rational: the circumstance In which the human beings have a moral sense and acknowledge the existence of laws. What you can’t do is what Kant called for in his argument, that that pure autonomy of reason was sufficient to establish maxims of conduct. The general principle of the practical reason, to seek maximum that can be applied as universal laws, it requires a matter of empirical to work. This does not necessarily imply that the pure reason has no role in these matters, only that its role is analogous to that of the speculative, and therefore like those, is required for both the concept and the intuition to form a moral judgment -in the same that both are required to form the judgment of experience.
This is fully consistent with the general approach Kantian. But what that does not comply with the specific objectives that had Kant-the founding of the idea of freedom (and of immortality and of God). But these objectives are not required by the argument in the last instance, are added to the stresses and that leads to the aporetics that we have seen
(NOTE: The pagination of a corresponds To the 1st German edition and AkV refers to the pagination of the academic edition of the complete works of Kant, according to the use of the translation I’m using, which is that of Roberto R. Aramayo in Alliance Editorial)
(NOTE II. I would have to do another entry on the theme of the search for that foundation of freedom, immortality and God, and their relationship with the issue of happiness -that disappears as the foundation of morality in the Analytic of Practical Reason but reappears as the highest good in the Dialectic of Practical Reason)