Absoluter Wert in Kants Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der SittenAbstract
In the second section of the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant introduces the concept of an end in itself and defines it as something whose existence has an absolute value. He continues with the assertion that the ground of a possible categorical imperative lies solely in this end in itself. Now Kant, in his remarks on the realm of ends, also operates with the notions of an end in itself and absolute value — seemingly in a different way, however. Thus, in the remarks on the realm of ends, the rational being becomes an end in itself through its real moral willing and acting, both of which presuppose the validity of the categorical imperative. Basically, the difference in the ways of using the concepts of absolute value and an end in itself consists in the fact that in the first case both serve as precondition for the categorical imperative’s validity, whereas in the passages concerning the realm of ends both are a consequence of its validity. At first glance we therefore must register an inconsistent use of both terms. In what follows, I aim to show that the assumption of such a putative inconsistency expresses a misleading understanding of the internal structure of the end in itself rather than a real problem in Kant’s way of arguing. The present study tries to solve this supposed problem of inconsistency by sketching a more appropriate understanding of the internal structure of the end in itself.