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Immanuel Kant – The Second Critque, 1788

Critik der practischen Vernunft. Riga: Johann Friedrich Hartknoch, 1788.

8vo, 292 pp., contemporary speckled boards with paper spine label, lightly rubbed and with slight wear at corners and spine ends, edges red, early ownership signature on front free endpaper, no other inscriptions, no library stamps, uniform browning and occasional spots, a very good clean copy.

First edition of the Critique of Practical Reason, the second of Kant’s three Critiques and his second work in moral theory after the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). The Second Critique is modelled in structure on the Critique of Pure Reason, having an Analytic, a Dialectic, a Deduction and an Antimony. Kant here tries to show that the essential demands of morality are built into the very concept of rationality itself, and must therefore be accepted by any rational creature as binding. The book had a huge influence on all subsequent moral philosophy from Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre onwards, eventually becoming the main reference point for deontological (or duty-based) ethics in the twentieth century. Warda 112: Adickes 67.

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