So far as morality is based upon the conception of man as a free 
agent who, just because he is free, binds himself through his reason to 
unconditioned laws, it stands in need neither of the idea of another Being 
over him, for him to apprehend his duty, nor of an incentive other than the 
law itself, for him to do his duty. At least it is man's own fault if he is 
subject to such a need; and if he is, this need can be relieved through 
nothing outside himself: for whatever does not originate in himself and his 
own freedom in no way compensates for the deficiency of his morality. 
Hence for its own sake morality does not need religion at all (whether 
objectively, as regards willing, or subjectively, as regards ability [to act]); 
by virtue of pure practical reason it is self-sufficient. For since its laws are 
binding, as the highest condition (itself unconditioned) of all ends, through 
the bare form of universal legality of the maxims, which must be chosen 
accordingly, morality requires absolutely no material determining ground of 
free choicew,* that is, no end, in order either to know what duty is or to 
impel the performance of duty. On the contrary, when it is a question of 
duty, morality is perfectly able to ignore all ends, and
it ought to do so. Thus, for example, in order to know whether I should (or 
indeed can) be truthful in my testimony before a court, or whether I should 
be faithful in accounting for another man's property entrusted to me, it is 
not at all necessary for me to search for an end which I might perhaps 
propose to achieve with my declaration, since it matters not at all what sort 
of end this is; indeed, the man who finds it needful, when his avowal is 
lawfully demanded, to look about him for some kind of [ulterior] end, is, 
by this very fact, already contemptible.
	But although for its own sake morality needs no representation of an 
end which must precede the determining of the will, it is quite possible that 
it is necessarily related to such an end, taken not as the ground but as the 
[sum of] inevitable consequences of maxims adopted as conformable to that 
end. For in the absence of all reference to an end no determination of the 
will can take place in man, since such determination cannot be followed by 
no effect whatever; and the representation of the effect must be capable of 
being accepted, not, indeed, as the basis for the determination of the willw 
and as an end antecedently aimed at, but yet as an end conceived of as the 
result ensuing from the will'sw determination through the law (finis in 
consequentiam veniens). Without an end of this sort a willw, envisaging to 
itself no definite goal1 for a contemplated act, either objective or subjective 
(which it has, or ought to have, in view), is indeed informed as to how it 
ought to act, but not whither, and so can achieve no satisfaction. It is true, 
therefore, that morality requires no end for right conduct; the law, which 
contains the formal condition of the use of freedom in general, suffices. Yet 
an end does arise out of morality; for how the question, What is to result 
from this right conduct of ours? is to be answered, and towards what, as an 
end--even granted it may not be wholly subject to our control--we might 
direct our actions and abstentions so as at least to be in harmony with that 
end: these cannot possibly be matters of indifference to reason. Hence the 
end is no more than an idea of an object which takes the formal condition of 
all such ends as we ought to have (duty) and combines it with whatever is 
conditioned, and in harmony with duty, in all the ends which we do have 
(happiness proportioned to obedience to duty)--that is to say, the idea of a 
highest good in the world for whose possibility we must postulate a higher, 
most holy, and omnipotent Being which alone can unite the two elements of 
this highest good. Yet (viewed practically) this idea is not an empty one, for 
it does meet our natural need to conceive of some sort of final end for all our 
actions and abstentions, taken as a whole, an end which can be justified by 
reason and the absence of which would be a hindrance to moral decision. 
Most important of all, however, this idea arises out of morality and is not its 
basis; it is an end the adoption of which as one's own presupposes basic 
ethical principles. Therefore it cannot be a matter of unconcern to morality 
as to whether or not it forms for itself the concept of a final end of all things 
(harmony with which, while not multiplying men's duties, yet provides 
them with a special point of focus for the unification of all ends); for only 
thereby can objective, practical reality be given to the union of the 
purposiveness arising from freedom with the purposiveness of nature, a 
union with which we cannot possibly dispense. Take a man who, honoring 
the moral law, allows the thought to occur to him (he can scarcely avoid 
doing so) of what sort of world he would create, under the guidance of 
practical reason, were such a thing in his power, a world into which, 
moreover, he would place himself as a member. He would not merely make 
the very choice which is determined by that moral idea of the highest good, 
were he vouchsafed solely the right to choose; he would also will that 
[such] a world should by all means come into existence (because the moral 
law demands that the highest good possible through our agency should be 
realized) and he would so will even though, in accordance with this idea, he 
saw himself in danger of paying in his own person a heavy price in 
happiness--it being possible that he might not be adequate to the [moral] 
demands of the idea, demands which reason lays down as conditioning 
happiness. Accordingly he would feel compelled by reason to avow this 
judgment with complete impartiality, as though it were rendered by another 
and yet, at the same time, as his own; whereby man gives evidence of the 
need, morally effected in him, of also conceiving a final end for his duties, 
as their consequence.
	Morality thus leads ineluctably to religion, through which it extends 
itself* to the idea of a powerful moral Lawgiver, outside 
of mankind, for Whose will that is the final end (of creation) which at the 
same time can and ought to be man's final end.
	If morality finds in the holiness of its law an object of the greatest 
respect, then at the level of religion it presents the ultimate cause, which 
consummates those laws, as an object of adoration and thus appears in its 
majesty. But anything, even the most sublime, dwindles under the hands of 
men when they turn the idea of it to their own use. What can truly be 
venerated only so far as respect for it is free must adapt itself to those forms 
which can be rendered authoritative only by means of coercive laws; and 
what of its own accord exposes itself to the public criticism of everyone 
must submit itself to a criticism which has power, i.e., a censorship.
	Meanwhile, since the command, Obey the authorities! is also moral, 
and since obedience to it, as to all injunctions of duty, can be drawn into 
religion, it is fitting that a treatise which is dedicated to the definite concept 
of religion should itself present an example of this obedience, which, 
however, can be evinced not through attention merely to law in the form of 
a single state regulation and blindness with respect to every other, but only 
through combined respect for all [regulations] taken together.
	Now the theologian who passes on books can be appointed either as 
one who is to care for the soul's welfare alone or as one who is also to care 
for the welfare of the sciences; the first judge is 
appointed merely as a divine; the second, as a scholar also. It rests with the 
second, as a member of a public institution to which (under the name of a 
university) all the sciences are entrusted for cultivation and defense against 
interference, to limit the usurpations of the first by the stipulation that his 
censorship shall create no disturbance in the field of the sciences. And when 
both judges are Biblical theologians, the superior censorship will pertain to 
the second as a member of the university and as belonging to the faculty 
which has been charged with the treatment of this theology: for, as regards 
the first concern (the welfare of souls), both have a mandate alike; but, as 
regards the second (the welfare of the sciences), the theologian in his 
capacity as university scholar has, in addition, a special function to perform. 
If we depart from this rule things must finally come to the pass to which 
they came of yore (for example, at the time of Galileo), where the Biblical 
theologian, in order to humble the pride of the sciences and to spare himself 
labor in connection with them, might actually venture an invasion into 
astronomy, or some other science, as for example the ancient history of the 
earth, and -- like those tribes who, finding that they do not have either the 
means or the resolution sufficient to defend themselves against threatened 
attacks, transform all about them into a wilderness -- might arrest all the 
endeavors of human reason.
	Among the sciences, however, there is, over and against Biblical 
theology, a philosophical theology, which is an estate entrusted to another 
faculty. So long as this philosophical theology remains within the limits of 
reason alone, and for the confirmation and exposition of its propositions 
makes use of history, sayings, books of all peoples, even the Bible, but 
only for itself, without wishing to carry these propositions into Biblical 
theology or to change the latter's public doctrines -- a privilege of divines -- 
it must have complete freedom to expand as far as its science reaches. And 
although the right of censorship of the theologian (regarded merely as a 
divine)1 cannot be impugned when it has been shown that the philosopher 
has really overstepped his limits and committed trespass upon theology, yet, 
the instant this is in doubt and a question arises whether, in writing or in 
some other public utterance of the philosopher, this trespass has indeed 
occurred, the superior censorship can belong only to the Biblical theologian, 
and to him as a member of his faculty; for he has been assigned to care 
for the second interest of the commonwealth, namely, the prosperity of the 
sciences, and has been appointed just as legally as has the other [the 
theologian regarded as a divine].
	And under such circumstances it is indeed to this faculty and not to 
the philosophical that the ultimate censorship belongs; for the former alone 
is privileged in respect of certain doctrines, while the latter investigates its 
doctrines freely and openly; hence only the former can enter a complaint that 
its exclusive rights have been violated. But despite the approximation of the 
two bodies of doctrine to one another and the anxiety lest the philosophical 
faculty overstep its limits, doubt relating to such trespass is easily prevented 
if it is borne in mind that the mischief occurs not through the philosopher's 
borrowing something from Biblical theology, in order to use it for his 
purpose -- even granting that the philosopher uses what he borrows from it 
in a meaning suited to naked reason but perhaps not pleasing to his theology 
-- but only so far as he imports something into it and thereby seeks to direct 
it to ends other than those which its own economy sanctions. For Biblical 
theology will itself not want to deny that it contains a great deal in common 
with the teachings of unassisted reason and, in addition, much that belongs 
to historical and philological lore, and that it is subject to the censorship of 
these [disciplines].
	Thus, for example, we cannot say that the teacher of natural rights, 
who borrows many a classical expression and formula for his philosophical 
doctrine of rights from the codex of the Romans, thereby trespasses -- even 
if, as often happens, he does not employ them in exactly the same sense in 
which, according to the expositors of Roman Law, they were to be taken -- 
so long as he does not wish jurists proper, and even the courts of law, also 
to use them thus. For were that not within his competence, we could, 
conversely, accuse the Biblical theologian or the statutory jurist of 
trespassing countless times on the province of philosophy, because both 
must borrow from philosophy very often, though only to mutual advantage, 
since neither can dispense with reason, nor, where science is concerned, 
with philosophy. Were Biblical theology to determine, wherever possible, 
to have nothing to do with reason in things religious, we can easily foresee 
on which side would be the loss; for a religion which rashly declares war on 
reason will not be able to hold out in the long run against it.
	I will even venture to ask whether it would not be beneficial,
upon completion of the academic instruction in Biblical theology, always to 
add, by way of conclusion, as necessary to the complete equipment of the 
candidate, a special course of lectures on the purely philosophical theory of 
religion (which avails itself of everything, including the Bible), with such a 
book as this, perhaps, as the text (or any other, if a better one of the same 
kind can be found). For the sciences derive pure benefit from separation, so 
far as each first constitutes a whole by itself; and not until they are so 
constituted should the attempt be made to survey them in combination. Let 
the Biblical theologian, then, be at one with the philosopher, or let him 
believe himself obliged to refute him, if only he hears him. Only thus can he 
be forearmed against all the difficulties which the philosopher might make 
for him. To conceal these, or indeed to decry them as ungodly, is a paltry 
device which does not stand the test; while to mix the two -- the Biblical 
theologian, for his part, casting but an occasional fleeting glance at 
philosophy -- is to lack thoroughness, with the result that in the end no one 
really knows how he stands towards the theory of religion as a whole.
	In order to make apparent the relation of religion to human nature 
(endowed in part with good, in part with evil predispositions), I represent, 
in the four following essays, the relationship of the good and evil principles 
as that of two self-subsistent active causes influencing men. The first essay 
has already been printed in the Berlinische Monatsschrift of April, 1792, but 
could not be omitted here, because of the close coherence of the subject-
matter in this work, which contains, in the three essays now added, the 
complete development of the first.
	The reader is asked to forgive the orthography of the first sheets 
(which differs from mine) in view of the variety of hands which have 
worked on the copy and the shortness of time left me for revision.



	For this Edition nothing has been altered except misprints and a few 
expressions which have been improved. New supplementary material, 
indicated by a dagger (+), is placed at the foot of the text.
	Regarding the title of this work (for doubts have been expressed 
about the intention concealed thereunder) I note: that since, after all, 
revelation can certainly embrace the pure religion of reason, while, 
conversely, the second cannot include what is historical in the first, I shall 
be able [experimentally] to regard the first as the wider sphere of faith, 
which includes within itself the second, as a narrower one (not like two 
circles external to one another, but like concentric circles). The philosopher, 
as a teacher of pure reason (from unassisted principles a priori), must 
confine himself within the narrower circle, and, in so doing, must waive 
consideration of all experience. From this standpoint I can also make a 
second experiment, namely, to start from some alleged revelation or other 
and, leaving out of consideration the pure religion of reason (so far as it 
constitutes a self-sufficient system), to examine in a fragmentary manner 
this revelation, as an historical system, in the light of moral concepts; and 
then to see whether it does not lead back to the very same pure rational 
system of religion. The latter, though not from the theoretical point of view 
(and the technico-practical point of view of pedagogical method, as a 
technology, must also be reckoned under this head) may yet, from the 
morally practical standpoint, be self-sufficient and adequate for genuine 
religion, which, indeed, as a rational concept a priori (remaining over after 
everything empirical has been taken away), obtains only in this [morally 
practical] relation. If this experiment is successful we shall be able to say 
that reason can be found to be not only compatible with Scripture but also at 
one with it, so that he who follows one (under guidance of moral concepts) 
will not fail to conform to the other. Were this not so, we should have either 
two religions in one individual, which is absurd, or else one religion and 
one cult,1 in which case, since the second is not (like religion) an end in 
itself but only possesses value as a means, they would often have to be 
shaken up together [12]
that they might, for a short while, be united; though directly, like oil and 
water, they must needs separate from one another, and the purely moral (the 
religion of reason) be allowed to float on top.
	I noted in the first Preface that this unification, or the attempt at it, is 
a task to which the philosophical investigator of religion has every right, 
and is not a trespass upon the exclusive rights of the Biblical theologian. 
Since then I have found this assertion made in the Moral (Part I, pp. 5-11) 
of the late Michaelis,1 a man well versed in both departments, and applied 
throughout his entire work; and the higher faculty did not find therein 
anything prejudicial to their rights.
	In this Second Edition I have not been able, as I should have liked, 
to take cognizance of the judgments passed upon this book by worthy men, 
named and unnamed, since (as with all foreign literary intelligence) these 
arrive in our parts very late. This is particularly true of the Annotationes 
quaedam theologicae, etc. of the renowned Hr. D. Storr2 in TŸbingen, who 
has examined my book with his accustomed sagacity and with an industry 
and fairness deserving the greatest thanks. I have it in mind to answer him, 
but cannot venture to promise to do so because of the peculiar difficulties 
which age sets in the way of working with abstract ideas. But there is a 
review in Number 29 of the Neueste Kritische Nachrichten, of 
Greifswald,3 which I can despatch as briefly as the reviewer did the book 
itself. For the book, in his judgment, is nothing but an answer to the 
question which I myself posed: "How is the ecclesiastical system of 
dogmatics, in its concepts and doctrines, possible according to pure 
(theoretical and practical) reason?" This essay [he claims] does not concern 
those4 who have no knowledge and understanding of his (Kant's) system 
and have no desire to be able to understand it -- by them it may be looked 
upon as non-existent. I answer thus: To understand this book in its essential 
content, only common morality is needed, without meddling with the 
Critique of Practical Reason, still less with the theoretical Critique. When, 
for example, virtue as skill in actions 
conforming to duty (according to their legality) is called virtus 
phÏnomenon, and the same virtue as an enduring disposition towards such 
actions from duty (because of their morality) is called virtus noumenon, 
these expressions are used only because of the schools; while the matter 
itself is contained, though in other words, in the most popular children's 
instruction and sermons, and is easily understood. Would that as much 
could be said for the mysteries concerning the divine nature which are 
numbered among religious teachings, mysteries introduced into the 
catechism as though they were wholly popular, but which, ultimately, must 
first be transformed into moral concepts if they are to become 
comprehensible to everyone!

Kšnigsberg, 26 January, 1794.


	w [3] For an explanation of the "w" see the "Preface to the Second 
Edition of this Translation," page cxxxix.
	* [3] Those who, in the conception of duty, are not satisfied with the 
merely formal determining ground as such (conformity to law) as the basis 
of determination, do indeed admit that such a basis cannot be discovered in 
self-love directed to one's own comfort. Hence there remain but two 
determining grounds: one, which is rational, namely, one's own perfection, 
and another, which is empirical, the happiness of others.1 Now if they do 
not conceive of the first of these as the moral determining ground (a will, 
namely, unconditionally obedient to the law) which is necessarily unique--
and if they so interpreted it they would be expounding in a circle -- they 
would have to have in mind man's natural perfection, so far as it is capable 
of enhancement, and this can be of many kinds, such as skill in the arts and 
sciences, taste, bodily adroitness, etc. But these are always good only on 
the condition that their use does not conflict with the moral law (which alone 
commands unconditionally); set up as an end, therefore, perfection cannot 
be the principle of concepts of duty. The same holds for the end which aims 
at the happiness of other men. For an act must, first of all, itself be weighed 
according to the moral law before it is directed to the happiness of others. 
The requirement laid down by this end, therefore, is a duty only 
conditionally and cannot serve as the supreme principle of moral maxims.
	1 [3] [fremde GlŸckseligkeit. We have almost always translated 
GlŸckseligkeit as happiness.]
	1 [4] [Gegenstand]
	* [5] If the proposition, There is a God, hence there is a highest 
good in the world, is to arise (as a dogma) from morality alone, it is a 
synthetic a priori proposition: for even thought accepted only for practical 
reference, it does yet
pass beyond the concept of duty which morality contains (and which 
presupposes merely the formal laws, and not the matter, of choicew), and 
hence cannot analytically be evolved out of morality. But how is such a 
proposition a priori possible? Agreement with the bare idea of a moral 
Lawgiver for all men is, indeed, identical with the general moral concept of 
duty, and so far the proposition commanding this agreement would be 
analytic. But the acknowledgment of His existence asserts more than the 
bare possibility of such a thing. The key to the solution of this problem, so 
far as I believe myself to understand it, I can only indicate here and not 
	An end is always the object of an inclination, that is, of an immediate 
craving for possession of a thing through one's action, just as the law 
(which commands practically) is an object of respect. An objective end (i.e., 
the end which we ought to have) is that which is proposed to us as such by 
reason alone. The end which embraces the unavoidable and at the same time 
sufficient condition of all other ends is the final end. The subjective final 
end of rational worldly beings is their own happiness (each of them has this 
end by virtue of having a nature dependent upon sensuous objects, and 
hence it would be absurd to say that anyone ought to have it) and all 
practical propositions which are based on this final end are synthetic, and at 
the same time empirical. But that everyone ought to make the highest good 
possible in the world a final end is a synthetic practical proposition a priori 
(and indeed objectively practical) given by pure reason; for it is a 
proposition which goes beyond the concept of duties in this world and adds 
a consequence (an effect) thereof which is not contained in the moral laws 
and therefore cannot be evolved out of them analytically. For these laws 
command absolutely, be the consequence what it will; indeed, they even 
require that the consideration of such consequence be completely waived 
when a particular act is concerned; and thereby they make duty an object of 
highest respect without offering or proposing to us an end (or a final end) 
such as would have to constitute duty's recommendation and the incentive 
to the fulfilment of our duty. All men could have sufficient incentive if (as 
they should) they adhered solely to the dictation of pure reason in the law. 
What need have they to know the outcome of their moral actions and 
abstentions, an outcome which the world's course will bring about? It 
suffices for them that they do their duty; even though all things end with 
earthly life and though, in this life, happiness and desert may never meet. 
And yet it is one of the inescapable limitations of man and of his faculty of 
practical reason (a limitation, perhaps, of all other worldly beings as well) to 
have regard, in every action, to the consequence thereof, in order to 
discover therein what could serve him as an end and also prove the purity of 
his intention--which consequence, though last in practice (nexu effectivo) is 
yet first in representation and intention (nexu finali). In this end, if directly 
presented to him by reason alone, man seeks something that he can love; 
therefore the law, which merely arouses his respect, even 
though it does not acknowledge this object of love as a necessity does yet 
extend itself on its behalf by including the moral goal of reason among its 
determining grounds. That is, the proposition: Make the highest good 
possible in the world your own final end! is a synthetic proposition a priori, 
which is introduced by the moral law itself; although practical reason does, 
indeed, extend itself therein beyond the law. This extension is possible 
because of the moral law's being taken in relation to the natural 
characteristic of man, that for all his actions he must conceive of an end over 
and above the law (a characteristic which makes man an object of 
experience). And further, this extension (as with theoretical propositions a 
priori which are synthetic) is possible only because this end embraces the a 
priori principle of the knowledge of the determining grounds in experience 
of a free willw, so far as this experience, by exhibiting the effects of 
morality in its ends, gives objective though merely practical reality to the 
concept of morality as causal in the world. But if, now, the strictest 
obedience to moral laws is to be considered the cause of the ushering in of 
the highest good (as end), then, since human capacity does not suffice for 
bringing about happiness in the world proportionate to worthiness to be 
happy, an omnipotent moral Being must be postulated as ruler of the world, 
under whose care this [balance] occurs. That is, morality leads inevitably to 
	1 [8] [Italics not in the text.]
	1 [11] [Cultus, ceremonial worship]
	1 [12] [Johann David Michaelis, 1717-1791; celebrated Orientalist 
and Biblical scholar; the book referred to was published posthumously in 
	2 [12] Gottlob Christian Storr, 1746-1805, Professor of Theology 
in TŸbingen, and later court-preacher in Stuttgart. His Annotationes, 
directed against Kant, appeared in 1793, with a German translation in 
	3 [12] [For 1793; pp. 225-229]
	4 [12] [Reading diejenigen for diejenige, as in Kehrbach's Leipzig