IMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804)

1) Kant's Criticism against the Continental Rationalism and the British Empiricism

Still living in the tradition of the Philosophy of Consciousness since Descartes, Immanuel Kant was quite unique in that he attempted to synthesize the Continental Rationalism of Descartes-Spinoza-Leibniz and the British Empiricism of Locke-Berkeley-Hume into one so called Critical Philosophy of his own by being inspired by both, eliminating the faults of both thoughts and critically unifying the strengths of these opposing philosophical thoughts.
Despite the claim that Kant renovated the philosophy by opening up the third way in the synthesis of the Continental Rationalism and the British Empiricism, Kant remained in the approach of or within Consciousness and by means of Self-reflection or Introspection. In other words, the approach Kant always took was, whether it was the dogmatic-pre-critical period or the critical period alike, the Approach of Consciousness which overwhelms the history of contemporary philosophy since Descartes even to the philosophers of modernity such as Husserl and Heidegger. That is why Hegel was called Descartes the Father of the Contemporary Philosophy as long as his philosophy made Consciousness as the principle of its philosophy. This making Consciousness the Principle of philosophy applies still Kant and his philosophy even in his critical period.
According to Kant's Prolegomena to the Future Metaphysics, his central theme of his philosophical pursuit was triggered by the question of Causality. Until Kant had read Hume, such concepts as "substance", "causality", "the universal validity of knowledge" were taken for granted as a priori, self-evident not only in the Continental Rationalism (Descartes Spinoza-Leibniz and Christian Wolff) and in the philosophy of Kant in the dogmatic period. Following the model of mathematical truth, those philosophers did not question the substances, which were not knowable to us immediately, but are known by means of their attributes, and e.g. once we accepted the definition of the material substance (for example by Descartes), then because extension is the attribute (=the necessary characteristic) of matter (=the material substance), "Matter extends" is necessary, analytic, thus a priori. Kant, without questioning it, accepts this. However, Kant also was well aware and had to take a critical stance against the philosophical spiritual crisis that, according to Hume, the substance, whether it is spiritual or material, is obsolete and explained by means of psychological laws, while causality was considered not as the objective, absolute relationship, but as a mere product of the psychological law of association. Thus, the cause and effect relationship is only highly probable, practical for our everyday life.
Being in the financial difficulty, Kant had to study and teach not only philosophy, but also mathematics and Newtonian physics at Königsberg University in East Prussia. Kant was well acquainted with the nature of Newtonian physics and was a firm believer of Newtonian physics and mathematics as the sciences necessary and universally valid to nature (in Kantian sense this is "experience").
The disputes between Rationalism and Empiricism are as follows:
i) whether or not the ideas derives from Experience alone or may be obtained from something else (as Kant thought that it was from Understanding (=Reason)
ii) Whether all the ideas derives from externally or may be gained internally?
In other words,
Is knowledge a product of senses or a product of pure thought?
Although Empiricism rejects the super-sensory knowledge (the knowledge from reason), if they were right, it is no longer possible for us to have empirical sciences of nature (with universality and necessary validity), because no knowledge derived from experience cannot be universally valid and necessary true. In other words, perception does not give any knowledge which is both universally and necessarily valid. As rationalism was right, knowledge cannot be deserve the true name of knowledge, unless it is apodeictic (=universally and necessary true). Empiricism, therefore, had to abandon the claim for the possibility of knowledge and ended up with Hume's skepticism and Probablism.
The European Rationalism turned into an eclectic, vulgar philosophy. According to Rationalism, the claim for the universal and necessary truth was the leading motive of their philosophical pursuit. And yet, when in reality, the criteria of "clear and distinct" for the truth is believed to have discovered while the model after mathematics was considered as the ideal of a system of sciences, they had in these two respects dogmatism.
Take for example, Spinoza and Leibniz developed two mutually inconsistent philosophical systems on the same criteria of clarity and distinctness of truth. Thus, Spinoza's pantheism and Leibniz' monadology are equally true, that is untenable.
To model a philosophical system after mathematics is wrong. For the indubitable and universal validity of mathematics does not, according to Kant, come from the clarity and distinctness of the mathematical concepts, but in reality, it depends upon special kinds of a priori intuition (=space for geometry and time for arithmetics) which the mathematical thinking can change their concepts into, in other words, the mathematical thinking can produces its objects or represents them in sensory experience.
Philosophical thinking cannot do it, i.e., to the philosophical thinking, its objects must be given. Only through the sensory intuition an object can be given the human spirit.
Metaphysics wants to be a science of reality, but being or existence (=reality) cannot be deducible from thinking, i.e., reality cannot be demonstrated from the concept. (Here we see the basic idea of Kant's criticism against St. Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God.)
Rationalism's error was to regard such supersensory objects as substance, the universe as the whole, or God, as the genuine objects of metaphysics, because our Understanding (Reason) is capable of producing those concepts. However, Understanding cannot provide the objects. Only by means of intuition (other than Understanding) the objects given are recognized. Here is the mistake of Rationalism which failed to see the difference between mathematics and metaphysics.
Rationalism's failure also lies in not being able to see that mathematics is intuitive, i.e., synthetic in its scienticity (However, today's philosophy of mathematics agrees with Hume's approach and is critical of Kant's contention).
Knowledge which is not empirical and yet would increase our knowledge of nature (reality) is synthetic, this is not analytic either and yet universally and necessarily valid, is the a priori. In other words,
We have to inquire How the synthetic a priori knowledge possible?
iii) The controversy between rationalism and empiricism about the question about how to evaluate Senses and Understanding (Reason). rationalists considered that everything active is superior, while something passive is inferior. So they considered that Understanding (Reason) which was able to grasp the nature of things beyond what is given by senses is superior to Senses which are basically able to provide us with various, confused multitude of idea. This resulted from the faulty belief that we are able to attain the (knowledge of) reality by analyzing concepts. Kant held that those rationalists forgot that Understanding provides the form of our knowledge, while Senses provide us with the material elements of knowledge, both of these elements are indispensable for knowledge.

Kant objected both the Empiricism and Rationalism in that they both were in their own ways one-sided, which is to be corrected by Kant's Critical approach.
i) The difference between the concept and intuition consisted in the difference of degree. In reality, according to Kant, the difference between the concept and intuition is the difference of kind.
ii) Kant criticized both Rationalists and Empiricists that both of them tried to deal with the question of knowledge without asking the question about the possibility of knowledge.
The Rationalists dogmatically believed in the possibility and the limit of knowledge, while the Empiricists skeptically denied the possibility and the limit of knowledge.
Kant urged to critically inquire the origin and the scope of knowledge, that is why Kant called his own standpoint of "Criticism."
In stead of asking, "Is knowledge possible?", Kant asked, "How, under what conditions is knowledge possible?" To question the latter, the former is presupposed as already possible.
Is thereby the possibility of knowledge of knowledge presupposed? Yes, of course. However, Kant stood on the viewpoint of the philosophy of consciousness as his predecessors and this knowledge of knowledge is reflection!

Life
Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg in the East Prussia in 1724. Kant's grandfather immigrated from Scotland to East Prussia and even his father spelled their family name, "Cant." Kant's father was the saddle-maker (craftsman) and Kant was no way able to go to study at the University. Both Kant's parents belonged to the so-called Pietism, a rigorous, pious Christian sect and Immanuel was strongly influenced by this thoughts. After graduating from the University in 1746, Immanuel Kant had to be an tutor to children of the wealthy families for nine years.

Works
(to be completed)

Philosophy

I. The problem of Kant's philosophy
The central problem of Kant's philosophy is the synthetic a priori knowledge or judgment.
The ideal of this new knowledge came from disputes between Continental Rationalism and British Empiricism. This ideal was brought about by Kant in combining the Cartesian ideal of the certainty of knowledge and Bacon's ideal of expansion of knowledge about nature.
There are two sets of distinction among knowledge (=judgments, Kant believed that all knowledge are reducible to the forms of judgment). Knowledge is obtained by judgments, there are
A) synthetic judgments = judgements which expand our knowledge of nature
e.g. Eiichi is 165 Lb.
analytic judgments = mere explications or explanations of what we already know.
e.g. A brother is a sibling.

B) a priori judgments = knowledge which are universally and necessarily valid.
in the Middle Ages, they were considered as the knowledge from the cause.
Later they are considered as the knowledge independent of our sense-experience (Leibniz, Lambert, Kant)
a posteriori judgements = judgements which are merely subjective and do not possess the apodeicticity
in the Middle Ages, they were considered as the knowledge from the effect
Later, they are considered as the knowledge obtained form our sense- experience (Leibniz, Lambert, Kant)

For a long time, it was taken for granted that synthetic = a posteriori, while analytic = a priori judgements. In stead,
Kant advocated that de facto there are synthetic a priori judgments in arithmetic, geometry, physics and metaphysics.
Further Kant firmly believed that these sciences are not only possible, but also actual as our universal and necessary knowledge.
Therefore,
Kant's questions were:
How synthetic a priori knowledge possible?
in its synthetic a priori form, according to Kant, all the laws and knowledge of those sciences are stated.
However, there are differences between the pure mathematics - pure natural sciences and metaphysics. In the case of the former,
we can ask only how they are possible at all. For we have evidence (intuition and categories)
while in the latter,
we must ask, in addition to how, therefore, if synthetic a priori knowledge possible at all. For we do not have evidence, but all those propositions in metaphysics have been disputed.

How is pure mathematics possible? ‹ the transcendental Aesthetics: The Critique of Senses
It is possible because there are Pure A Priori Intuition.

How is pure physics possible? ‹ the transcendental Analytic: The Critique of Understanding
It is possible because there are Categories (=Concepts of Understanding).

How is metaphysics as natural faculty possible? ‹ the transcendental Dialectics:
The Critique of Reason
It is possible because there are Concepts of Reason (God, Immortality and Freedom)
How is metaphysics as a science possible? ‹ the transcendental Methodology
i) It is possible as Metaphysics of Nature or Metaphysics of Knowledge
by teaching the proper uses of categories and delimiting the scope.
ii) it is possible as Practical Sciences
a) What ought I do ? ‹ Ethics
b) What may I hope ? ‹ Philosophy of Religion

Therefore, Kant's philosophy may be divided into three domains:
a) Theoretical Philosophy ‹ Critique of Pure Reason
b) Practical Philosophy (Ethics and Philosophy of Religion)
‹ Critique of Practical Reason
c) Aesthetics or Teleological Philosophy ‹ Critique of Judgment

II. The Presuppositions of Kant's Philosophy

i) Epistemological Presuppositions
the possibility of the synthetic a priori knowledge itself is presupposed
(i.e., the Pure Mathematics, Physics and Epistemology as Critique of Reason)
the possibility of reflection or introspection is also taken for granted.

ii) Logical Presuppositions
all knowledge may be reduced to the forms of categorical judgments
distinctions among the judgements and inferences
distinctions between analytic and synthetic knowledge, etc.

iii) Metaphysical Presuppositions
Despite the fact that Kant employed introspection as the method,
he presupposed the existence of Thing in Itself.

iv) Psychological Presuppositions
Wolff's distinction of the higher and the lower faculty of mind was combined with Tetens' distinctions of Knowledge, Feeling and Desire
the Scopes and Functions of Senses and Understanding were grave implications

III. The Method of Kant's Philosophy
Transcendental method
which is contrasted with

a) metaphysical method
which considers the object of experience is real

b) psychological method
which considers the object of experience is phenomenon
and describes the object psychologically

transcendental method deals with the explanations of the way of knowledge
by stipulating the conditions of its possibility

these conditions are to be a priori
for the knowledge is indeed the object of experience, but
the conditions of its possibility must not be come from experience, but
independent of experience = a priori

Thus
transcendental knowledge is the knowledge about a priori way of knowledge and its relationship to its object of experience

Ich nenne alle Erkenntnis transzendental, die sich nicht, sowohl mit Gegenständen, sondern mit unserer Erkenntnisart von Gegenständen, insofern diese a priori möglich sein soll, überhaupt beschäftigt. (I call all the knowledge transcendental, which is not concerned with objects, but with our way of knowledge of objects, as long as this knowledge is to be a priori possible.)‹ Critique of Pure Reason B.25

IV. Epistemology or Philosophy of Knowledge

1) Pure Intuitions (which is dealt with in § Transcendental Aesthetics of Critique of Pure Reason)
According to Kant's transcendental Aesthetics, Space and Time do not exist by themselves, i.e., they are not real things existing outside of our mind. In other words, even if they were not intuited, Space and Time are not qualities, nor relations belonging to the things in themselves.
Space and Time are the forms of our empirical intuition and are rooted in the subjective structure of our mind. Once from Space and Time those which are thought of by Understanding by concepts are stripped way and those which belong to the senses as well, we are left with two forms of empirical intuition and they themselves intuition at the same time.
These intuitions (Space and Time) are pure, since they are capable of becoming objects of our inquiry quite apart and independent from our empirical intuition.
They (Space and Time) are also a priori, because these intuitions as the forms of empirical intuitions precede from all empirical intuitions, as long as they are the subjective conditions in which something can be an object of our empirical intuition.
Space and Time, therefore, are not containers in which all the real things are encompassed, nor the dimension or order which belongs to the things in themselves.
They are the forms of our intuition.
Our ideas are in regards to their origin either pure or empirical.
Our ideas are in terms of kind either intuitions or concepts.
Kant tried to demonstrate that Space and Time are neither of experience, nor of concepts, but they are pure Intuition, by the 5 proofs in Prolegomena (4 in Kritik der reinen Vernunft). These Kant named the Metaphysical Demonstrations (Erörterungen) of Space and Time. These discussions reveal the a priori nature and intuitiveness of Space and Time.
In addition to these,
Kant wrote the Transcendental Discussions of Space and Time. Kant attempted that only by means of Space and Time being pure intuition, the possibility of the synthetic a priori knowledge is explained.

Metaphysical Demonstrations
i) "Space" is not an empirical concept obtained by abstraction. (against Locke [abstraction theory], Berkeley [representation theory] and Hume [association theory]: Take for example, a concept of plant is an empirical concept obtained by abstraction of different particular perceptions and memories of different plants.)
Any empirical concept obtained from the external senses such as even "next to each other" presupposes the notion of Space (when we conceive of "next to each other", the notion of Space has to be thought already, i.e., prior to (thus as the condition for) the notion of "next to each other.") In other words, this means that two things are located at two different spaces.
In terms of our idea of inner senses such as simultaneous or successive, Time is not obtained by abstraction or association from our empirical experience, but is prior to thus, the condition for) the notion of simultaneous or successive. They are possible "within" Time. [This is Eiichi's critical comment: According to Henri Bergson, the great French non- rationalistic philosophy who criticized Kant on the basis of our uncritically accepted notion that we connection with Space and Spaciality are so strong that we do Spacialize Time. For example, Time may be divisible, but isn't "divisibility" primarily a Space concept? So is our notion of "in". Isn't "before" and "after" also primarily Spacial concepts?)
Space enables us to have external experience, while Time enables us to have internal experience. Kant said, Space and Time are anticipations of perception and are not the products of our abstraction.

ii) The idea (representation) of Space is necessary. We are not able to think of Space without everything in it, but we are not able to disregard Space itself.
So is the time. I can think of Time without any phenomenon, but it is not possible to think of any phenomenon without Time.
Space and Time are a priori as the conditions for the possibility of phenomena.

iii) The idea of Space is not a universal concept. It is an individual idea or an intuition. There are only one Space. Each and every particular space is as limited to this one whole Space. in other words, a part is possible in relation to the whole.
So is Time. There is only one Time and various special times are parts of the whole Time. The Whole is prior to its parts.

iv) Space is infinite. Space contains in itself infinitely many partial spaces. This is not possible for a universal concept. Various articular trees, for instances, are subsumed ("subsume" is a logical relationship) under a general concept of tree, but the latter does not in itself contain the former as its parts.
So is Time.
v) The directions such as right, left, above, below, etc. are not logically explainable from the idea of Space.
Such time specifications as before or after cannot be conceptually explained from the idea of Time.
Space and Time can only felt and understood by intuition.
The above are the Metaphysical Demonstration.

Transcendental Demonstrations
The following 4 demonstrations are called Transcendental, because they are such that the possibility of synthetic a priori knowledge are proven only on the basis of Space and Time.

i) The synthetic nature of Geometric cognition is demonstrated from Space's being an intuition.
If Space is a mere concept (and not an intuition), a proposition which expands our knowledge about the characters of Space beyond the concept cannot be analyzed from that concept.
The possibility of synthesis and expansion of Geometric knowledge is thus based on Space's being intuited or on the fact that such a proposition may be known true only in tuition. The truth of a Geometric proposition (which asserts that the sum of any two lines of a given triangle are larger than the third) can be demonstrated only in intuition.
So is Time.
ii) The apodeicticity of Geometric knowledge is explained from the apriority of intuition of Space.
The apodeicticity of Arithmetics knowledge is explained from the apriority of intuition of Time.
Should Space and Time be empirical, they do not have necessity. However, both Geometric and Arithmetic propositions are universally valid and necessary true. Thus, Space and Time on which Geometric and Arithmetic knowledge are based on are a priori and therefore, apodeictic.
iii) It is explained by Space and Time's being the conditions for the possibility of sense perception that mathematical knowledge has the objective reality, i.e., that the mathematic principles are based on Space and Time by means of which our experiences are possible.
iv) particularly in regard to Time,
Change and motion are only possible on the basis of Time. E.g., change is understood in applying two contradictory attributes such as being and non-being to one and the same thing, which cannot be explained by a concept, but by an intuition of Time.

In Prolegomena, Kant pointed out that his philosophy is not an idealism, as long as he recognized the existence of "thing in itself."

The Empirical Reality and
the Transcendental Ideality of Space and Time, and
the Irrecognizability of Thing in itself.
By means of the above, it is now ascertained that the relations which are a priori recognizable in Space and Time are valid to all the possible objects of experience.
However,
They are valid only to the phenomena and not to the things in themselves.
Thus, it is said that
Space and Time have the Empirical Reality and the Transcendental Ideality at the same time.
This is to be explained.
Any thing as long as it is an external phenomenon necessarily appears as in Space and Spacial relationship. And
Any phenomenon necessarily is in Time and Temporal relationship.
Therefore, it is said that
Space and Time are objective to everything which is given in experience, therefore,
Space and Time are empirically real.
This we call the Empirical Reality of Space and Time.
However,
Space and Time do not have the absolute Reality, because they do not apply to things in themselves, whether as substances or as attributes.
For,
Once we remove Space and Time from actual sensory experience, they disappear (=have no reality.) In other words,
apart from the transcendental subjectivity,
Space and Time have no reality, but are ideal
.
This is called the Transcendental Ideality of Space and Time.

We are never able to recognize things in themselves. Any quality which is to belong to the thing in itself can never be known to us through senses.
At the same time, anything which is given in Time is not the thing in itself. In other words, what we intuitively recognize ourselves by reflection, is how we appear as a phenomenon, and not how we really are.

The empirical Reality of Space and Time, i.e., to limit the validity of Space and Time to the phenomenal world, does not destroy the certainty of our cognition of experience. The certainty of our cognition is the same, whether Space and Time as the forms of our empirical intuition belong to the thing in itself or to the transcendental subjectivity.

According to Kant, there is no doubt that
something corresponds to a phenomenon and affects our senses. The concept of phenomenon refers to something other than the phenomenon itself, i.e., indicates the existence of something which is independent of senses. However, this thing in itself is unknowable.

In clear distinction from Berkeley and Hume, Kant held that
anything that appears as a phenomenon is not individual's, but a phenomenon which is of super-individual consciousness. The phenomenon is independent of any empirical individual subject, but depends upon the subject in general, the Transcendental Subject.
Therefore,
any phenomenon is objective and the phenomenal world constitutes the objective world.
In this sense,
Kant held objectivity to be synonymous with universal validity.

II) The Concepts of Understanding (Categories) and
The Principles of Pure Understanding

i) The Analysis of Concepts

What is given to senses needs Space and Time in order to a perception (=intuition) or a phenomenon.
Now
the Intuition needs the synthesis by concepts in order to be a Experience, i.e., a unified cognition of an object.
A variety of intuitions are ordered by Space and Time as the a priori forms of intuition.
In order for this variety of intuitions to become an objective cognition, they need to be synthesized in the unity of concepts.
While Senses give variety, while Understanding (=concepts) give unity.
While Intuition consists in "affection," Concept, in "function."

a) The Discovery of the Concepts of Understanding

Among the Pure Concepts, Kant distinguished
The Concepts of Understanding, which Kant named "Categories"
and
The Concepts of Reason = Freedom, Immortality of Soul and God.
They are basis for the Speculative Metaphysics.

These Pure Concepts of Understanding are Fundamental Concepts that unifies intuitions to an objective cognition.
Following Aristotle, according to whom there are ten categories (=predicables)
quantity
quality
relation
place
time
situation
habit
action
passion
This enumeration of Aristotelian categories Kant considered unsystematic.

Kant called the Pure Concepts of Understanding "Categories" and
derived them from the forms (=kinds) of judgment, where the subject and the Predicate are variously unified.
Therefore, Kant called Categories the Concepts of Conjecture.

Kinds of Judgment Categories
Quantity
Universal Unity
Particular Plurality
Individual ` Totality

Quality
Affirmative Reality
Negative Negation
Infinite Limitation

Relation
Categorical Inherence and Substance
Hypothetical Causality and Dependence
Disjunctive Community

Modality
Problematic Possibility and Impossibility
Assertorical Existence and Non-Existence
Apodeictic Necessity and Accidence

In each of these four groups, the third one is resulted from the synthesis of the preceding two. This observation Kant called "cute." This will gain an important effect as the Dialectic development in the German Idealism.

The first six Categories of Quantity and Quality are sometimes called Mathematical Categories, while the second six are called Dynamic Categories.
The mathematical categories
are related to the objects of pure or empirical intuition, while
the dynamic categories
are applied to the beings of the objects.

The most important one for developing Kant's transcendental philosophy was the category of Causality.
Hume denied the objective validity of Causality because it originated from experience and was considered as developed by our psychological law of association.
Kant agreed with Hume that anything derived from experience does not have objective validity. However,
Kant held that Causality does not derive from experience, but pure, a priori form of Understanding. Thus Causality is necessary and universally valid.

Kant named the demonstration the Transcendental Deduction which the demand of the right is just. Kant wanted to demonstrate the justness (=correctness and appropriateness) the right of the objective validity of Categories.
There is the other kind of Deduction which is called Empirical. It is to demonstrate how Categories are obtained factually from experience and its reflection.
To derive Categories from the kinds of judgment called Kant the Metaphysical Deduction.

(TO BE COMPLETED)


Moral Philosophy

1) The Law of Morality (Das Sittengesetz)
the law of nature that expresses "must" (Müssen)
the moral law that expresses "ought"(Sollen)
the moral law does not force some one to act, but order to act (=imperative).
However,
if we were pure rational beings, and not sensory beings at the same time, the moral law will, like the law of nature, determine our will. But we are both rational and sensory beings at the same time.
We possess by nature the possibility to sensory drives to be taken away from the moral law.
Morality is attained first by overcoming our sensory drives.
Therefore, the moral law takes the form of "Imperative."
While the law of nature has necessity and universal validity,
Some of the moral laws possess absolute necessity and universality, i.e., a priori.
Just like Understanding imposes the law of nature upon the phenomenal world,
Practical Reason imposes upon Itself Its own Law.
Just as the a priori law of nature applies to the forms of objects of our empirical experience,
the moral law determines not the content, but the form of our will alone.

Imperatives
The law that will (practical reason) imposes upon itself (will itself) is the practical law.

the practical laws
i) Maxims = subjectively applicable
The maxim is one's private rule of action.
ii) Imperatives = objectively applicable.
a) Hypothetical Imperatives
= the imperatives which are applicable under a certain condition.
e.g. "If you want to be successful, you ought to be industrious."
It is always under a certain condition, or for a certain purpose.
b) Categorical Imperatives
= the imperatives which are unconditionally applicable.
e.g., "Thou shall not tell a lie!"
Without any purpose or condition, it is demanded of anyone and under any circumstance.

Good Will

The hypothetical Imperative commends us to do the means to attain a certain purpose. It is our choice if we pursue this purpose or not. What is commended to us in the hypothetical Imperative is "goods." These goods are "good" relative to something else. The value of these goods are "instrumental," i.e., "useful" to a certain purpose.
Against this,
What the Categorical Imperative orders is the purpose itself and absolutely "good" and "intrinsically valuable" in itself.
What is this good, the absolute good or the good for its own sake is the Good Will.

"There is nothing else but the good will that is good for its own sake ....." (The Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals)

"No doubt that in various aspects, there are many goods, many desirable. However, when the Will which will employ them might be not good, they become evils and harmful things..."

Under what conditions are we able to apply the predicate "good" to Will?
There are three stages in what is to be morally approved
i) the action is praised for the most parts
in the case where the motive is selfish and yet does not defy the moral obligation
e.g., a merchant does not cheat, from the motive that to do business honestly is profitable for himself.

ii) the action is highly praised,
in case that the action originated from the inclination is in accord with the moral duties.
e.g., in case that the desire for honor promotes industry or
that sympathy made it possible to rescue someone in trouble.

iii) the action is admired,
in case that the action is done purely and solely from the motive of fulfilling moral duty.

According to Kant,
when Will is good for its own sake, or absolutely good, it is only the case iii), i.e., to act solely and purely from the motive of fulfilling moral duty.
Kant called this stage of morally good Morality in the true sense.
This point of view is often called Moral Rigorism.

The only motive for morality is consciousness of duty.
i.e., it is the respect for the law of morality (which is to be distinguished from moral laws).

There are two things which fill my mind with ever newer and greater wonder and esteem, every time when I reflect more often and ever longer. They are the starred heaven above me and the law of morality in me." (Critique of Practical REason)

Autonomy of Practical Reason
As previously said, since the law of morality is a priori, i.e., possesses absolute necessity and universality, Practical Reason imposes the Law of Morality on Itself.
This absolute necessity and universality demonstrates, according to Kant, that the Law of Morality comes from Reason alone.
In comparison to this Autonomy of Practical Reason, these following moral theories is Heteronomous:
a) Theological Morality: those who derive the moral laws from Divine Will subordinate them under one condition, i.e., the unchangeability of Divine Will.
b) Egoistic Morality: those who see the origin of the moral laws in the selfish happiness subordinate Practical Reason to the sensory natural laws.
c)Altruism: the altruistic moral theory such that of "social inclination" or "moral sentiment" fails, because they make the morality dependent upon such mutable qualities as "moral sentiment"(altruistic feeling).
d) The Morality of Perfection: It is not sufficient to make perfection as the principle of morality, for such a theory demands to limit the individual to oneself and ultimately ends up with the refined selfishness.

Practical Reason brings about the Law of Morality from the depth of It own, imposes the Law of Morality upon Itself. that is what we call Autonomy.

Formalism of Kant's Moral Philosophy
Because the Law of Morality derives from Practical Reason Itself, the Law of Morality does not determine the pure forms. For ,according to kant, to be precise, it is not possible to order a definite purpose as well as an object to will. When we exclude all the content from the law, there is left the universal law-giving itself. That Kant called Categorical Imperatives.

Handle so, daß die Maxim Deines Willens jederzeit zugleich als Prinzip einer allgemeinen Gesetzgebung gelten könne. (Act so that the Maxim of your own will apply all the time as the principle of universal law giving at the same time.) ‹ Critique of Practical Reason 5.


Supplements of the content:
the content of moral duty is to be supplemented.
i) The Worth of a Person (die Würde der Person) and the Price (usefulness) of a Thing (der Preis der Sache) are useful to make the Law of Morality concrete. Die Sache (a thing) is a means and its usefulness is relative in that it depends upon how much it fulfills its need. A thing may be replaced by another as the means to the same end. In that sense, each of these means possesses the price and are equivalent in that regard and replaceable. Against this,
What transcends all the prices and does not allow the equivalence has the inner value or the worth (of a person). this is the object of admiration or esteem. The thing possesses the price, while
the Person possesses the Worth.
The Person as a rational being is a purpose in itself. Thus, the Categorical Imperative may be also phrased as follows:

Handle so, daß Du die Menschheit, sowohl in Deiner Person, als in der Person eines jeden andern, jederzeilt zugleich als Zweck, niemals bloß als Mittel brachest. (Act so that you uses humanity all the time in your person as well as in any other person as the end at the same time, and never as a mere means. ‹ Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals

Such a purpose is the purpose with absolute universality. This purpose is a moral duty at the same time.