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power of judgment requires a special and at the same time transcenden-
tal principle for its reflection . . . All comparison of empirical representa-
tions in order to cognize empirical laws . . . presupposes that even with
regard to its empirical laws nature has observed a certain economy
suitable to our power of judgment and a uniformity [Gleichformigkeit]¨
that we can grasp, and this presupposition, as an a priori principle of the
power of judgment, must precede all comparison.23

A lot should be said, which I cannot say here, about the role of schema-
tism in the ˜˜instruction for reflection.™™ I at least want to note this:
the relation between schematism and reflection was already present in
the first Critique, if one takes seriously what was said there about ˜˜logical
reflection™™ as guided by concepts of comparison, or concepts of reflection,
corresponding to each of the logical functions of judgments. Given that
these logical functions are also the origin of the categories, I suggest that the
picture that emerged from the first Critique was the following: understand-
ing, or the power of judgment, guides the syntheses in imagination of
what is given in space and time to make it analyzable according to
logical forms of judgment. This is how it produces schemata, or universal
forms of synthesis, by means of which appearances will ultimately be
recognized as subsumable under the categories. Categories, or pure con-
cepts of the understanding, are the ˜˜universal representations™™ of the
syntheses implemented by the understanding in order to make the sensible
given ˜˜reflectable™™ under empirical concepts combined in judgments.
Forms of judgment are forms of reflection, guided by ˜˜concepts of reflec-
tion™™ as described in the Amphiboly chapter. These forms culminate in the
form of systematicity, announced as early as the metaphysical deduction of
the categories in the joint forms of infinite and disjunctive judgment which
remain the constant horizon of the ˜˜distributive use of the understanding™™
as described in the critical reduction of the ens realissimum at the end of
section two of the Transcendental Ideal.

AAxx, pp. 212“13.

It may be objected that such an account of systematicity gives
short shrift to the regulative role of the ideas of pure reason, and
in particular the Ideal, expounded most notably in the appendix
to the Transcendental Dialectic. Well, actually, I do think that the
Transcendental Analytic, together with its appendix, was sufficient to
offer an account of systematicity which does away with the ontological
illusion carried by the Ideal of pure reason. And the conclusion of
section two of the Transcendental Ideal seems to endorse precisely
such an account. In the reading I have suggested, Kant criticizes the
hypostatization of the idea of a totum realitatis as an ens realissimum. And he
endorses the necessary supposition of a totum realitatis as the necessary
condition of the unity of experience and of the distributive use of the
understanding in generating empirical concepts of specific realities or
positive determinations of things.
Why then does Kant nevertheless affirm the necessity of the illusion,
and argue for a regulative use, not merely of the idea of a totum realitatis,
but even of the corresponding Ideal (the ens realissimum)? The answer to
this question, I believe, lies in the relation Kant establishes between the
theoretical and the practical use of reason. In this regard, there is an
interesting symmetry between the appendices to the two parts of the
Transcendental Logic. The appendix to the Transcendental Analytic, on
the Amphiboly of Concepts of Reflection, attributes the erroneous,
intellectualist conception of a whole of reality to a kind of inertia of the
understanding pursuing its course beyond its legitimate use, in which it
should be bound by the senses; overcoming this inertia and waking up
the understanding to the bounds of the senses leads to rejecting the idea
of the primacy of the matter of thought over its form (i.e. the primacy of
the unbounded whole of reality over its limitations) in favor of the
primacy of form over matter in experience. But the appendix to the
Transcendental Dialectic, on the regulative use of the ideas of pure
reason, explains the necessity of the idea and of the corresponding
Ideal not by the inertia of the understanding, but rather, by the dynamics
of reason,24 which demands both the idea (the totum realitatis) and the
supposition of its object (the ens realissimum), for its own practical
purposes. Therefore the idea and its object are also called upon to
play a role, but merely regulative, in cognition, and the appendix
to the Transcendental Dialectic balances out the appendix to the

I borrow this expression from Gerd Buchdahl: cf. Kant and the Dynamics of Reason: Essays on
the Structure of Kant™s Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992).

Transcendental Analytic. The latter sends us backwards, to the whole
development of the Analytic, for an account of the form of systematicity
in the theoretical use of the understanding. The former sends us for-
ward, to practical reason and its postulates, meanwhile restricting all of
the ideas to a regulative role in the theoretical realm.25 In this way, it also
points to a unity between the realm of nature and the realm of freedom
which the third Critique will further elaborate as the articulation of two
legislations, that of understanding and that of reason.
What exactly, then, does the third Critique add to this picture? First of
all, it is no small achievement of its Introduction, in both editions, that it
makes explicit the cooperation between determination and reflection in
judgment. But this, if I am right, is not so much an innovation as just this:
a clarification. The true novelty of the third Critique consists in adding to
the picture I just drew, and relating to the cognitive use of judgment,
those merely reflective judgments, judgments where reflection is with-
out determination: aesthetic and teleological judgments. And finally, the
novelty of the third Critique consists in making the ˜˜merely reflective™™
judgments the locus of the articulation between the legislation of reason
through the concept of freedom, and the legislation of the understand-
ing through concepts of nature. So I am not trying to say that nothing
new could be added after the first Critique. What I am claiming is that, so
far as the problem of complete determination is concerned, the terms of
the problem, and the manner of its solution, present a fundamental
continuity when we move from the first to the third Critique. I think
that this continuity, if properly understood, gives added strength to both
Critiques, and makes both of them more interesting and convincing than
they would otherwise be. It allows for a better understanding of the
relation between the cognitive and the non-cognitive use of judgment,
and of the relation of both kinds of judgment to practical reason.
In sum: I have argued that the ˜˜principle of complete determination™™
formulated at the beginning of the Transcendental Ideal is not only a
principle that pure reason, when abstracted from all relation to the
senses, holds to be true of things in general. It is also a principle Kant
holds to be true of things as appearances. I have attempted to show what
meaning the principle has in relation to things as appearances, in light of

It would be desirable to specify in the case of each idea (the soul, the world, God, or the ens
realissimum) what its specific regulative role is, and how it relates to the form of systematicity
expounded in the first section of the appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic (A642“68/
B670“96). Within the limits of this chapter, my goal was only to clarify the role of the idea
of a totum realitatis and the related ideal (hypostatized singular object, ens realissimum).

the teachings of the Transcendental Analytic. I have argued that clarify-
ing the meaning of the principle in this context also gives us a better
understanding of what remains of the purely rational principle once
confronted with the severe restrictions the Critique of Pure Reason places
on any attempt to claim determinate cognition of things independently
of the conditions of sensibility. In comparing the criticism of the
Transcendental Ideal in section two of the Transcendental Ideal to
what was said of the rationalist notion of ens realissimum in the
Amphiboly of Concepts of Reflection, I have concluded that from the
standpoint of the Transcendental Analytic, the rationalist (and Kant™s
own pre-critical) notion of an ens realissimum became a mere form of
thought, or a component in the form of systematicity that determines its
own matter (inferences, judgments, concepts, ultimately the matter of
appearances). And finally, I have argued that relating this last form to
the notions of matter and form at work in Kant™s account of reflective
judgment in the First Introduction to the third Critique goes yet one
more step toward depriving the idea of the ens realissimum of any kind of
ontological status.
There remained the question: why is Kant so intent on asserting,
again and again, the necessity of the idea, the unavoidable illusion it
carries, and even the positive, regulative role it plays in cognition? My
suggestion is that none of this would be necessary unless Kant was intent
on maintaining its role for practical reason. The unity of theoretical and
practical reason is what drives the admissions of theoretical reason itself.
Whether the practical grounds for endorsing the idea of ens realissimum
are any stronger than the theoretical grounds, is a question I had no
ambition to answer in this chapter.


Kant says relatively little about moral judgment. He spends much more
time and care explaining and justifying the content of the moral law,
expounded in the different formulations of the categorical imperative:
˜˜Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the
same time will that it become a universal law™™; ˜˜So act that you use
humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other,
always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means™™; ˜˜Act only so
that the will could regard itself as at the same time giving universal law
through its maxim.™™1
To be sure, these formulations of the categorical imperative are sup-
posed to function as principles or premises for inferences determining a
system of duties. In other words, they must serve as principles for two
kinds of moral judgments: (1) those by which we determine what we are
supposed to do or refrain from doing in virtue of a specifically moral
commitment, that is, a commitment independent of any consideration of
utility or of personal happiness; (2) those by which we subject to a moral
evaluation the actions already performed by ourselves or by others, and

Cf. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1998), AAiv, pp. 421, 429, 434. As I did for all other works of Kant (except
for the Critique of Pure Reason), I give page references to Groundwork in the volumes of the
German Akademie Ausgabe (AA). Henceforth I will give those references directly in the
main text, citing volume and page numbers, e.g. (iv, 429).


the characters of those who performed them. So there is of course a
relation between moral law and moral judgment, the originality of
Kant™s position being precisely that he makes the former the uncon-
ditioned principle of the latter.
Nevertheless, it remains true that Kant is more informative about the
first than he is about the second. For instance, ch. 1 of the Critique of
Practical Reason is entirely devoted to the moral law and its formulation
in the categorical imperative. But ˜˜pure practical judgment,™™ that is,
moral judgment, is granted only two or three pages relegated to the
end of ch. 2, whose main topic is the ˜˜Concept of an Object of Pure
Practical Reason.™™2 And even there, Kant is mostly concerned with
explaining the fundamental difficulty we encounter in attempting to
think the relation between the moral law (which depends on the faculty
of reason alone, and thus on our belonging to a purely intelligible world)
and actions that unfold in the sensible world and are thus causally
necessitated. This metaphysical difficulty is according to Kant the root
of the difficulty of moral judgment, evaluating an action or the will of the
subject that performs that action (is it a good will or not?). For an
external event, given in space and time, does not by itself give us any
access to the internal motivation of the agent (did she act from respect
for the moral law, or on the contrary from egoistic interest?).
If this is so, should we not say that the question of moral judgment is,
by Kant™s own admission, the weak link in his moral philosophy? In
other words, even supposing Kant succeeded in his ambition to formu-
late ˜˜the supreme principle of morality™™ (iv, 392), did he not remain helpless
when it came to grounding on this principle the indisputable validity of
any moral judgment at all, whether determining (answering the ques-
tion: what should I do?) or reflecting (answering the question: ˜˜is this
action, and the will of this agent, morally good or evil?™™).3

Cf. Critique of Practical Reason, ch. 1, AAv, pp. 19“57; ch. 2, section ˜˜Of the Typic of Practical
Judgment,™™ AAv, pp. 67“71.
Here I am applying to moral judgment the distinction made by Kant in the Critique of the
Power of Judgment, between determining use of the power of judgment (where ˜˜the uni-
versal (the rule, the principle, the law) is given,™™ and ˜˜the power of judgment subsumes the
particular under it™™) and reflecting use (where ˜˜only the particular is given, for which the
universal is to be found™™): cf. AAv, p. 179. Kant does not make use of this distinction when
he speaks of moral judgment, but it seems illuminating to me in respectively characterizing
the (determining) application of the moral law in deciding to act, and the (reflecting)
evaluation of a given action, that is, the search for the rule under which it was performed.
Of course, ˜˜determining™™ and ˜˜reflecting™™ have a distinctively practical meaning here. For
˜˜determining™™ an action under the moral law is literally making it come about, not (as in the

Now to the suggestion that evaluating moral worth is, according to
Kant, a task that remains fundamentally opaque for us, one might
oppose Kant™s adamant insistence on the fact that moral judgment, in
contrast with theoretical judgment (which requires complex training
and is susceptible to error), is accessible to all. Its verdict is infallible, at
least for anyone who remains attentive to the voice of her conscience,
that is to say (as we shall see shortly) to the demands of pure practical
reason. Indeed Kant goes as far as to maintain that the verdicts of
common moral conscience are more worthy of trust than the subtle
distinctions and specious ratiocinations of academic moralists (iv, 404).
This being so, the sole merit of elucidating the fundamental principle of
morality (the categorical imperative in its various formulations) is to
reinforce common conscience in the moral judgments it was perfectly
capable of passing by itself, before their principle was made explicit. But
that merit itself, modest as it may be, shows that it is possible to elucidate
the nature and foundation of those judgments by which we determine,
without any possible ambiguity, what we are morally obliged to do.
However, this only partly takes care of the worry that moral evaluation
remains opaque for Kant. For the infallibility of common moral con-
science (as long as it does not let itself be distracted from the voice of
practical reason) concerns only the first of the two aspects of moral
judgment described above: the determination of what we ought to do.
In other words, the infallibility Kant proclaims is that of the agent™s point
of view on the action she is to perform. To the question ˜˜What should I
do?™™ everyone, in any circumstance, is capable of finding the right
answer, and the task Kant assigns himself is only to elucidate the founda-
tions of that answer. In contrast, the second aspect of moral judgment
(evaluating a given action, or the character of the person who performs
it) depends on the spectator™s point of view, and judgment becomes
plagued with insuperable uncertainty.
This primacy, in moral judgment, of the point of view of the agent on
the action he ought to perform, over that of that same agent, as a
spectator of the actions he or another has performed, will perform, or
is performing, is the first originality of Kant™s conception of moral judg-

theoretical use of judgment) applying a concept for the cognition of a given natural event.
And ˜˜reflecting™™ upon an action to find out whether it should be judged good or evil is
looking for the practical rule under which it has been performed, not (as in the theoretical
use of judgment) looking for the concept that would adequately capture its place in a
unified pattern of natural concepts and laws. On ˜˜determining™™ and ˜˜reflecting™™ uses of
the power of judgment according to the third Critique, cf. above, ch. 8, p. 231.

ment. There is no difficulty, Kant maintains, in answering the question:
˜˜What should I do?™™ There is, on the other hand, an insuperable difficulty
in any attempt to answer the question: ˜˜Is this performed action, and the
will that made the decision, morally good?™™ This does not mean that we
should abandon this second question. But if in this case a negative answer
is often clearly decidable, the same is not true of a positive answer. For a
seemingly moral motivation can always be the mask donned by egoistical
interest or the search for other people™s approval.
We can gather from the remarks above, then, that Kant™s project is not
only to establish ˜˜the supreme principle of morality,™™ but also to elucidate
and thus to reinforce our capacity to judge according to this principle.
The first project (to establish the supreme principle of morality) is accom-
plished when Kant, in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and
Critique of Practical Reason, expounds and justifies his various formulations
of the categorical imperative.4 The second project (to explain how we
judge/ought to judge according to this principle) is present throughout
the moral philosophy of the critical period, from the Groundwork of the
Metaphysics of Morals to the Metaphysics of Morals itself, through the second
Critique and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Thus, even if the
question of judgment occupies only a few pages in the Critique of Practical
Reason, during his critical period Kant subjects to systematic investigation
the (determining) application of the principles of morality as well as the
(reflecting) moral evaluation of actions and agents.
It should thus come as no surprise if for each of the two projects
mentioned above (grounding the supreme principle of morality, eluci-
dating the judgments that we pass under this principle) Kant insistently
appeals to the logical forms of judgment whose table he had established
in the first Critique.5 His having in mind those logical forms is manifest
when he expounds the different kinds of rules that practical reason gives
to itself. Appealing to the first two forms of relation expounded in the
table of the first Critique, Kant calls categorical the ˜˜commands (laws) of
morality,™™ and hypothetical the ˜˜rules of skill™™ and the ˜˜counsels of

Kant insists on the fact that the three main formulations of the categorical imperative
quoted above ˜˜are at bottom only so many formulae of the very same law™™, cf. iv, 436.
Cf. Critique of Pure Reason, A70/B95. As we shall see in a moment, Kant makes explicit use of
the first two titles of relation and the three titles of modality in his characterization of the
imperatives of practical reason. But he also makes systematic use of the table in its entirety
when he formulates, in the Critique of Practical Reason, the ˜˜table of the categories of freedom
with respect to the concepts of the good and evil,™™ which is in fact a table of the different
logical characterizations of the maxims under which a good will acts: cf. AAv, 68. Subjecting
this table to the systematic examination it deserves is beyond the scope of the present work.

prudence™™ (iv, 415“16). Appealing to the three divisions of modality, he
calls the categorical imperative apodictic, the counsels of prudence
assertoric, and the rules of skill problematic (ibid.). I intend to show
that this reference to the logical forms of judgment helps elucidate the
fundamental structures of moral reasoning according to Kant. For it
helps us understand how the categorical imperative functions as a
principle for testing the rules (initially instrumental and prudential,
not moral) under which we determine our actions.
The relevance, in this context, of the logical functions elucidated in the
first Critique is due to the fact that the implicit inferences that ground
common moral conscience are rooted in the elementary forms of judg-
ment brought to light in the first Critique. But here those elementary forms
do not serve to order the information we receive through our sensations
(as was the case in their theoretical use). Rather, they serve to order the
desires and inclinations that drive us to act. In what follows, I will analyze a
few aspects of this new role Kant assigns to the forms of discursive think-
ing. First, I will consider the use Kant makes of those forms in analyzing
the rules of practical reason in its instrumental and prudential use
(hypothetical imperatives). Second, I will consider the use Kant makes
of them in founding the supreme principle of morality (categorical
imperative). I will then show how this distinction between the two kinds
of imperatives sheds light on the role of the categorical imperative in our
deliberations and evaluations, that is, in our moral judgments.
The two aspects of Kant™s examination of moral judgment (first, his
attempt to formulate the ˜˜supreme principle of morality™™ and second,
his attempt to analyze the application of the principle in moral decisions
and evaluations) do not exhaust what is specific to moral judgment.
Passing moral judgment is also holding someone responsible for her
actions, which thus call for praise or blame, deserving reward or punish-
ment. In the final part of this chapter, I will ask how this third aspect of
moral judgment is related to the first two, according to Kant. I will
suggest that in Kant™s analysis, this third aspect is linked (perhaps
more essentially than Kant himself would admit) to the context of
juridical laws Kant considers in the first part of the Metaphysics of
Morals (the Doctrine of Right).6 I will suggest that Kant™s hesitations
about the relation between right (juridical law) and morality is perhaps

Cf. The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1996), AAvi, pp. 205“372 (henceforth cited in the main text by volume and page number in
AA, e.g. vi, 205“372).

one of the main keys to his view of moral judgment, and an important
element for evaluating its place in the history of moral philosophy.

Hypothetical imperatives
As mentioned above, Kant distinguishes between two main kinds of
imperatives or principles of action prescribed to itself by a rational will.
The first are the hypothetical imperatives, whose universal principle
might be formulated thus: ˜˜If I will an end X, then I ought to will all
the means Y available to me and necessary for achieving this end.™™7 The
second is the categorical imperative, whose initial formulation is the
following: ˜˜I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also
will that my maxim should become a universal law™™ (iv, 402).8 Only the
˜˜I ought™™ of the categorical imperative expresses a moral obligation. By
contrast, the ˜˜I ought™™ expressed in the consequent of the hypothetical
imperative (˜˜then I ought to will the means Y™™) expresses a mere norm of
practical consistency: if I will a certain end, I ought to will the means

To my knowledge, Kant nowhere proposes this formulation for the universal principle of
hypothetical imperatives. He does offer the following principle: ˜˜Whoever wills the end also
wills (insofar as reason has decisive influence on his actions) the indispensably necessary
means to it that are within his power™™ (iv, 417). This formulation is not satisfactory because
it dispenses with the idea of practical commitment (if I will a certain end, I thereby commit
myself [insofar as I am rational] to employ all the means available to me that are necessary to
achieve this end; if it turns out I cannot endorse, or cannot obtain, the necessary means,
then I must renounce the corresponding end). Kant comes closer to the formulation I
propose when he says that the hypothetical imperatives ˜˜command the means to what it is
presupposed one wills as an end™™ (iv, 419) and he talks of the hypothetical imperative
(namely, what I have called the principle of all hypothetical imperatives) as the imperative
that ˜˜commands willing the means for him who wills the end™™ (ibid.). On the relation
between the principle of hypothetical imperatives (itself formulated as a hypothetical
imperative) and the various kinds of hypothetical imperatives, see Thomas E. Hill, ˜˜The
hypothetical imperative,™™ ch. 2 of Dignity and Practical Reason in Kant™s Moral Theory (Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press, 1992), pp. 17“37.
˜˜Ich soll niemals anders verfahren als so, daß ich auch wollen konne, meine Maxime solle
ein allgemeines Gesetz werden.™™ This formulation is given at the end of section one of
Groundwork. The formulations in the grammatical imperative quoted at the beginning of
this essay (˜˜Act . . . ™™) are given in section two. The formulation in the first person (˜˜I ought

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