That "the world lieth in evil".1 is a plaint as old as history, old even 
as the older art, poetry; indeed, as old as that oldest of all fictions, the 
religion of priest-craft. All agree that the world began in a good estate, 
whether in a Golden Age, a life in Eden, or a yet more happy community 
with celestial beings. But they represent that this happiness vanished like a 
dream and that a Fall into evil (moral evil, with which physical evil ever 
went hand in hand) presently hurried mankind from bad to worse with 
accelerated descent;* so that now (this "now" is also as old as history) we 
live in the final age, with the Last Day and the destruction of the world at 
hand. In some parts of India the Judge and Destroyer of the world, Rudra 
(sometimes called Siwa or Siva), already is worshipped as the reigning 
God--Vishnu, the Sustainer of the world, having some centuries ago grown 
weary and renounced the supreme authority which he inherited from 
Brahma, the Creator. More modern, though far less prevalent, is the 
contrasted optimistic belief, which indeed has gained a following solely 
among philosophers and, of late, especially among those interested in 
education--the belief that the world steadily (though almost imperceptibly) 
forges in the other direction, to wit, from bad to better; at least that the 
predisposition to such a movement is discoverable in human nature. If this 
belief, however, is meant to apply to moral goodness and badness (not 
simply to the process of civilization), it has certainly not been deduced from 
experience; the history of all times cries too loudly against it. The belief, we 
may presume, is a well-intentioned assumption of the moralist, from Seneca 
to Rousseau, designed to encourage the sedulous cultivation of that seed of 
goodness which perhaps lies in us--if, indeed, we can count on any such 
natural basis of goodness in man. We may note that since we take for 
granted that man is by nature sound of body (as at birth he usually is), no 
reason appears why, by nature, his soul should not be deemed similarly 
healthy and free from evil. Is not nature herself, then, inclined to lend her 
aid to developing in us this moral predisposition to goodness? In the words 
of Seneca: Sanabilibus grotamus malis, nosque in rectum genitos natura, si 
sanari velimus, adiuvat.1 
	But since it well may be that both sides have erred in their reading of 
experience, the question arises whether a middle ground may not at least be 
possible, namely, that man as a species is neither good nor bad, or at all 
events that he is as much the one as the other, partly good, partly bad. We 
call a man evil, however, not because he performs actions that are evil 
(contrary to law) but because these actions are of such a nature that we may 
infer from them the presence in him of evil maxims. In and through 
experience we can observe actions contrary to law, and we can observe (at 
least in ourselves) that they are performed in the consciousness that they are 
unlawful; but a man's maxims, sometimes2 even his own, are not thus 
observable; consequently the judgment that the agent is an evil man cannot 
be made with certainty if grounded on experience. In order, then, to call a 
man evil, it would have to be possible a priori to infer from several evil acts 
done with consciousness of their evil, or from one such act, an underlying 
evil maxim; and further, from this maxim to infer the presence in the agent 
of an underlying common ground, itself a maxim, of all particular morally-
evil maxims.
	Lest difficulty at once be encountered in the expression nature, 
which, if it meant (as it usually does) the opposite of freedom as a basis of 
action, would flatly contradict the predicates morally good or evil, let it be 
noted that by "nature of man" we here intend only the subjective ground of 
the exercise (under objective moral laws) of man's freedom in general; this 
ground--whatever is its character--is the necessary antecedent of every act 
apparent to the senses. But this subjective ground, again, must itself always 
an expression1 of freedom (for otherwise the use or abuse of man's power 
of choicew in respect of the moral law could not be imputed to him nor 
could the good or bad in him be called moral). Hence the source of evil 
cannot lie in an object determining the willw through inclination, nor yet in a 
natural impulse; it can lie only in a rule made by the willw for the use of its 
freedom, that is, in a maxim. But now it must not be considered permissible 
to inquire into the subjective ground in man of the adoption of this maxim 
rather than of its opposite. If this ground itself were not ultimately a maxim, 
but a mere natural impulse, it would be possible to trace the use of our 
freedom wholly to determination by natural causes; this, however, is 
contradictory to the very notion of freedom. When we say, then, Man is by 
nature good, or, Man is by nature evil, this means only that there is in him 
an ultimate ground (inscrutable to us)* of the adoption of good maxims or 
of evil maxims (i.e., those contrary to law), and this he has, being a man; 
and hence he thereby expresses the character of his species.
	We shall say, therefore, of the character (good or evil) 
distinguishing man from other possible rational beings, that it is innate in 
him. Yet in doing so we shall ever take the position that nature is not to bear 
the blame (if it is evil) or take the credit (if it is good), but that man himself 
is its author. But since the ultimate ground of the adoption of our maxims, 
which must itself lie in free choicew, cannot be a fact revealed in 
experience, it follows that the good or evil in man (as the ultimate subjective 
ground of the adoption of this or that maxim with reference to the moral 
law) is termed innate only in this sense, that it is posited as the ground 
antecedent to every use of freedom in experience (in earliest youth as far 
back as birth) and is thus conceived of as present in man at birth--though 
birth need not be the cause of it.

	The conflict between the two hypotheses presented above is based 
on a disjunctive proposition: Man is (by nature) either morally good or 
morally evil. It might easily occur to any one, 
however, to ask whether this disjunction is valid, and whether some might 
not assert that man is by nature neither of the two, others, that man is at 
once both, in some respects good, in other respects evil. Experience actually 
seems to substantiate the middle ground between the two extremes.
	It is, however, of great consequence to ethics in general to avoid 
admitting, so long as it is possible, of anything morally intermediate, 
whether in actions (adiophora) or in human characters; for with such 
ambiguity all maxims are in danger of forfeiting their precision and stability. 
Those who are partial to this strict mode of thinking are usually called 
rigorists (a name which is intended to carry reproach, but which actually 
praises); their opposites may be called latitudinarians. These latter, again, 
are either latitudinarians of neutrality, whom we may call indifferentists, or 
else latitudinarians of coalition, whom we may call syncretists.* 
	According to the rigoristic diagnosis,** the answer to the question
at issue rests upon the observation, of great importance to morality, that 
freedom of the willw is of a wholly unique nature in that an incentive can 
determine the willw to an action only so far as the individual has 
incorporated it into his maxim (has made it the general rule in accordance 
with which he will conduct himself); only thus can an incentive, whatever it 
may be, co-exist with the absolute spontaneity of the willw (i.e., freedom). 
But the moral law, in the judgment of reason, is in itself an incentive, and 
whoever makes it his maxim is morally good. If, now, this law does not 
determine a person's willw in the case of an action which has reference to 
the law, an incentive contrary to it must influence his choicew; and since, by 
hypothesis, this can only happen when a man adopts this incentive (and 
thereby the deviation from the moral law) into his maxim (in which case he 
is an evil man) it follows that his disposition in respect to the moral law is 
never indifferent, never neither good nor evil.
	Neither can a man be morally good in some ways and at the same 
time morally evil in others. His being good in one way means that he has 
incorporated the moral law into his maxim; were he, therefore, at the same 
time evil in another way, while his maxim would be universal as based on 
the moral law of obedience to duty, which is essentially single and 
universal, it would at the same time be only particular; but this is a 
	To have a good or an evil disposition as an inborn natural 
constitution does not here mean that it has not been acquired by the to man 
who harbors it, that he is not author of it, but rather, that it has not been 
acquired in time (that he has always been good, or evil, from his youth up). 
The disposition, i.e., the ultimate subjective ground of the adoption of 
maxims, can be one only and applies universally to the whole use of 
freedom. Yet this disposition itself must have been adopted by free 
choicew, for otherwise it could not be imputed. But the subjective ground 
or cause of this adoption cannot further be known (though it is inevitable 
that we should inquire into it),1 since otherwise still another maxim would 
have to be adduced in which this disposition must have been
incorporated, a maxim which itself in turn must have its ground. Since, 
therefore, we are unable to derive this disposition, or rather its ultimate 
ground, from any original act of the willw in time, we call it a property of 
the willw which belongs to it by nature (although actually the disposition is 
grounded in freedom). Further, the man of whom we say, "He is by nature 
good or evil," is to be understood not as the single individual (for then one 
man could be considered as good, by nature, another as evil), but as the 
entire race; that we are entitled so to do can only be proved when 
anthropological research shows that the evidence, which justifies us in 
attributing to a man one of these characters as innate, is such as to give no 
ground for excepting anyone, and that the attribution therefore holds for the 

	I. Concerning the Original Predisposition to Good in Human Nature
	We may conveniently divide this predisposition, with respect to 
function, into three divisions, to be considered as elements in the fixed 
character and destiny1 of man:
 	(1) The predisposition to animality in man, taken as a living being;
 	(2) The predisposition to humanity in man, taken as a living and at 
the same time a rational being;
 	(3) The predisposition to personality in man, taken as a rational and 
at the same time an accountable being.* 
	1. The predisposition to animality in mankind may be brought under 
the general title of physical and purely mechanical self-love, wherein no 
reason is demanded. It is threefold: first, for self-preservation; second, for 
the propagation of the species, through the sexual impulse, and for the care 
of offspring so begotten; and third, for community with other men, i.e., the 
social impulse. On these three stems can be grafted all kinds of vices 
(which, however, do not spring from this predisposition itself as a root). 
They may be termed vices of the coarseness1 of nature, and in their greatest 
deviation from natural purposes are called the beastly vices of gluttony and 
drunkenness,2 lasciviousness and wild lawlessness (in relation to other 
	2. The predisposition3 to humanity can be brought under the general 
title of a self-love which is physical and yet compares (for which reason is 
required); that is to say, we judge ourselves happy or unhappy only by 
making comparison with others. Out of this self-love springs the inclination 
to acquire worth in the opinion of others. This is originally a desire merely 
for equality, to allow no one superiority above oneself, bound up with a 
constant care lest others strive to attain such superiority; but from this arises 
gradually the unjustifiable craving to win it for oneself over others. Upon 
this twin stem of jealousy and rivalry may be grafted the very great vices of 
secret and open animosity against all whom we look upon as not belonging 
to us--vices, however, which really do not sprout of themselves from nature 
as their root; rather are they inclinations, aroused in us by the anxious 
endeavors of others to attain a hated superiority over us, to attain for 
ourselves as a measure of precaution and for the sake of safety such a 
position over others. For nature, indeed, wanted to use the idea of such 
rivalry (which in itself does not exclude mutual love) only as a spur to 
culture.4 Hence the vices which are grafted upon this inclination might be 
their termed vices of culture;4 in highest degree of malignancy, as, for 
example, in envy, ingratitude, spitefulness, etc. (where they are simply the 
idea of a maximum of evil going beyond what is human), they can be called 
the diabolical vices.
	3. The predisposition to personality is the capacity for respect
for the moral law as in itself a sufficient incentive of the will.w This 
capacity for simple respect for the moral law within us would thus be moral 
feeling, which in and through itself does not constitute an end of the natural 
predisposition except so far as it is the motivating force of the will.w Since 
this is possible only when the free willw incorporates such moral feeling 
into its maxim, the property of such a willw is good character. The latter, 
like every character of the free willw, is something which can only be 
acquired; its possibility, however, demands the presence in our nature of a 
predisposition on which it is absolutely impossible to graft anything evil. 
We cannot rightly call the idea of the moral law, with the respect which is 
inseparable from it, a predisposition to personality; it is personality itself 
(the idea of humanity considered quite intellectually). But the subjective 
ground for the adoption into our maxims of this respect as a motivating 
force seems to be an adjunct to our personality, and thus to deserve the 
name of a predisposition to its furtherance.
	If we consider the three predispositions named, in terms of the 
conditions of their possibility, we find that the first requires no reason, the 
second is based on practical reason, but a reason thereby subservient to 
other incentives, while the third alone is rooted in reason which is practical 
of itself, that is, reason which dictates laws unconditionally. All of these 
predispositions are not only good in negative fashion (in that they do not 
contradict the moral law); they are also predispositions toward good (they 
enjoin the observance of the law). They are original, for they are bound up 
with the possibility of human nature. Man can indeed use the first two 
contrary to their ends, but he can extirpate none of them. By the 
predispositions of a being we understand not only its constituent elements 
which are necessary to it, but also the forms of their combination, by which 
the being is what it is. They are original if they are involved necessarily in 
the possibility of such a being, but contingent if it is possible for the being 
to exist of itself without them. Finally, let it be noted that here we treat only 
those predispositions which have immediate reference to the faculty of 
desire and the exercise of the willw.

II. Concerning the Propensity to Evil in Human Nature
	By propensity (propensio) I understand the subjective ground of the 
possibility of an inclination (habitual craving,
concupiscentia)1 so far as mankind in general is liable to it.  A propensity is 
distinguished from a predisposition by the fact that although it can indeed be 
innate, it ought not to be represented merely thus; for it can also be regarded 
as having been acquired (if it is good), or brought by man upon himself (if 
it is evil). Here, however, we are speaking only of the propensity to 
genuine, that is, moral evil; for since such evil is possible only as a 
determination of the free willw, and since the willw can be appraised as 
good or evil only by means of its maxims, this propensity to evil must 
consist in the subjective ground of the possibility of the deviation of the 
maxims from the moral law. If, then, this propensity can be considered as 
belonging universally to mankind (and hence as part of the character of the 
race), it may be called a natural propensity in man to evil. We may add 
further that the will'sw capacity or incapacity, arising from this natural 
propensity, to adopt or not to adopt the moral law into its maxim, may be 
called a good or an evil heart.
	In this capacity for evil there can be distinguished three distinct 
degrees. First, there is the weakness of the human heart in the general 
observance of adopted maxims, or in other words, the frailty of human 
nature; second, the propensity for mixing unmoral with moral motivating 
causes (even when it is done with good intent and under maxims of the 
good), that is, impurity;3 third, the propensity to adopt evil maxims, that is, 
the wickedness of human nature or of the human heart.
	First: the frailty (fragilitas) of human nature is expressed even
in the complaint of an Apostle, "What I would, that I do not!"1 In other 
words, I adopt the good (the law) into the maxim of my willw, but this 
good, which objectively, in its ideal conception2 (in thesi), is an irresistible 
incentive, is subjectively (in hypothesi), when the maxim is to be followed, 
the weaker (in comparison with inclination).
	Second: the impurity (impuritas, improbitas) of the human heart 
consists in this, that although the maxim is indeed good in respect of its 
object (the intended observance of the law) and perhaps even strong enough 
for practice, it is yet not purely moral; that is, it has not, as it should have, 
adopted the law alone as its all-sufficient incentive: instead, it usually 
(perhaps, every time) stands in need of other incentives beyond this, in 
determining the willw to do what duty demands; in other words, actions 
called for by duty are done not purely for duty's sake.
	Third: the wickedness (vitiositas, pravitas) or, if you like, the 
corruption (corruptio) of the human heart is the propensity of the willw to 
maxims which neglect the incentives springing from the moral law in favor 
of others which are not moral. It may also be called the perversity 
(perversitas) of the human heart, for it reverses the ethical order [of priority] 
among the incentives of a free willw; and although conduct which is 
lawfully good (i.e., legal) may be found with it, yet the cast of mind is 
thereby corrupted at its root (so far as the moral disposition is concerned), 
and the man is hence designated as evil.
 	It will be remarked that this propensity to evil is here ascribed (as 
regards conduct) to men in general, even to the best of them; this must be 
the case if it is to be proved that the propensity to evil in mankind is 
universal, or, what here comes to the same thing, that it is woven into 
human nature.
	 There is no difference, however, as regards conformity of conduct 
to the moral law, between a man of good morals (bene moratus) and a 
morally good man (moraliter bonus)--at least there ought to be no 
difference, save that the conduct of the one has not always, perhaps has 
never, the law as its sole and supreme incentive while the conduct of the 
other has it always. Of the former it can be said: He obeys the law according 
to the letter (that is, his conduct conforms to what the law commands); but 
of the second: He
obeys the law according to the spirit (the spirit of the moral law consisting 
in this, that the law is sufficient in itself as an incentive). Whatever is not of 
this faith is sin1 as regards cast of mind). For when incentives other than 
the law itself (such as ambition, self-love in general, yes, even a kindly 
instinct such as sympathy) are necessary to determine the willw to conduct 
conformable to the law, it is merely accidental that these causes coincide 
with the law, for they could equally well incite its violation. The maxim, 
then, in terms of whose goodness all moral worth of the individual must be 
appraised, is thus contrary to the law, and the man, despite all his good 
deeds, is nevertheless evil.
	The following explanation is also necessary in order to define the 
concept of this propensity. Every propensity is either physical, i.e., 
pertaining to the willw of man as a natural being, or moral, i.e., pertaining 
to his willw as a moral being. In the first sense there is no propensity to 
moral evil, for such a propensity must spring from freedom; and a physical 
propensity (grounded in sensuous2 impulses) towards any use of freedom 
whatsoever--whether for good or bad--is a contradiction. Hence a 
propensity to evil can inhere only in the moral capacity of the willw. But 
nothing is morally evil (i.e., capable of being imputed) but that which is our 
own act. On the other hand, by the concept of a propensity we understand a 
subjective determining ground of the willw which precedes all acts and 
which, therefore, is itself not an act. Hence in the concept of a simple 
propensity to evil there would be a contradiction were it not possible to take 
the word "act" in two meanings, both of which are reconcilable with the 
concept of freedom. The term "act" can apply in general to that exercise of 
freedom whereby the supreme maxim (in harmony with the law or contrary 
to it) it is adopted by the willw, but also to the exercise of freedom whereby 
the actions themselves (considered materially, i.e., with reference to the 
objects of volitionw) are performed in accordance with that maxim. The 
propensity to evil, then, is an act in the first sense (peccatum originarium), 
and at the same time the formal ground of all unlawful conduct in the second 
sense, which latter, considered materially, violates the law and is termed 
vice (peccatum derivatum); and the first offense remains, even though the 
second (from incentives which do not subsist in the law itself) may be 
repeatedly avoided. The former is intelligible1 
action, cognizable by means of pure reason alone, apart from every 
temporal condition; the latter is sensible1 action, empirical, given in time 
(factum phÏnomenon). The former, particularly when compared with the 
latter, is entitled a simple propensity and innate, [first] because it cannot be 
eradicated (since for such eradication the highest maxim would have to be 
that of the good--whereas in this propensity it already has been postulated as 
evil), but chiefly because we can no more assign a further cause for the 
corruption in us by evil of just this highest maxim, although this is our own 
action, than we can assign a cause for any fundamental attribute belonging 
to our nature. Now it can be understood, from what has just been said, why 
it was that in this section we sought, at the very first, the three sources of 
the morally evil solely in what, according to laws of freedom, touches the 
ultimate ground of the adoption or the observance of our maxims, and not in 
what touches sensibility2 (regarded as receptivity).

 	III. Man is Evil by Nature
Vitiis nemo sine nascitur.--Horace3 
	In view of what has been said above, the proposition, Man is evil, 
can mean only, He is conscious of the moral law but has nevertheless 
adopted into his maxim the (occasional) deviation therefrom. He is evil by 
nature, means but this, that evil can be predicated of man as a species; not 
that such a quality can be inferred from the concept of his species (that is, of 
man in general)--for then it would be necessary; but rather that from what 
we know of man through experience we cannot judge otherwise of him, or, 
that we may presuppose evil to be subjectively necessary to every man, 
even to the best. Now this propensity must itself be considered as morally 
evil, yet not as a natural predisposition but rather as something that can be 
imputed to man, and consequently it must consist in maxims of the willw 
which are contrary to the law. Further, for the sake of freedom, these 
maxims must in themselves be considered contingent, a circumstance 
which, on the other hand, will not tally with the universality of this evil 
unless the ultimate subjective ground of all maxims somehow or
other is entwined with and, as it were, rooted in humanity itself. Hence we 
can call this a natural propensity to evil, and as we must, after all, ever hold 
man himself responsible for it, we can further call it a radical innate evil in 
human nature (yet none the less brought upon us by ourselves).
	That such a corrupt1 propensity must indeed be rooted in man need 
not be formally proved in view of the multitude of crying examples which 
experience of the actions of men puts before our eyes. If we wish to draw 
our examples from that state in which various philosophers hoped 
preeminently to discover the natural goodliness of human nature, namely, 
from the so-called state of nature, we need but compare with this hypothesis 
the scenes of unprovoked cruelty in the murder-dramas enacted in Tofoa, 
New Zealand, and in the Navigator Islands, and the unending cruelty (of 
which Captain Hearne2 tells) in the wide wastes of northwestern America, 
cruelty from which, indeed, not a soul reaps the smallest benefit;* and we 
have vices of barbarity3 more than sufficient to draw us from such an 
opinion. If, however, we incline to the opinion that human nature can better 
be known in the civilized state (in which its predispositions can more 
completely develop), we must listen to a long melancholy litany of 
indictments against humanity: of secret falsity even in the closest friendship, 
so that a limit upon trust in the mutual confidences of even the best friends 
is reckoned a universal maxim of prudence in intercourse; of a propensity to 
hate him to whom one is indebted, for which
a benefactor must always be prepared; of a hearty well-wishing which yet 
allows of the remark that "in the misfortunes of our best friends there is 
something which is not altogether displeasing to us" ;1 and of many other 
vices still concealed under the appearance of virtue, to say nothing of the 
vices of those who do not conceal them, for we are content to call him good 
who is a man bad in a way common to all; and we shall have enough of the 
vices of culture and civilization (which are the most offensive of all) to make 
us rather turn away our eyes from the conduct of men lest we ourselves 
contract another vice, misanthropy. But if we are not yet content, we need 
but contemplate a state which is compounded in strange fashion of both the 
others, that is, the international situation,2 where civilized nations stand 
towards each other in the relation obtaining in the barbarous state of nature 
(a state of continuous readiness for war), a state, moreover, from which 
they have taken fixedly into their heads never to depart. We then become 
aware of the fundamental principles of the great societies called states --
principles which flatly contradict their public pronouncements but can never 
be laid aside, and which no philosopher has yet been able to bring into 
agreement with morality. Nor (sad to say) has any philosopher been able to 
better principles which at the same time can be brought into harmony with 
human nature. The result is that the philosophical millenium, which hopes 
for a state of perpetual peace based on a league of peoples, a world-
republic, even as the theological millenium, which tarries for the completed 
moral improvement of the entire human race, is universally ridiculed as a 
wild fantasy.
	Now the ground of this evil (1) cannot be placed, as is so commonly 
done, in man's sensuous nature 1 and the natural inclinations arising 
therefrom. For not only are these not directly related to evil (rather do they 
afford the occasion for what the moral disposition in its power can manifest, 
namely, virtue); we must not even be considered responsible for their 
existence (we cannot be, for since they are implanted in us we are not their 
authors). We are accountable, however, for the propensity to evil, which, 
as it affects the morality of the subject, is to be found in him as a free-acting 
being and for which it must be possible to hold him accountable as the 
offender--this, too, despite the fact that this propensity is so deeply rooted 
in the willw that we are forced to say that it is to be found in man by nature. 
Neither can the ground of this evil (2) be placed in a corruption of the 
morally legislative reason--as if reason could destroy the authority of the 
very law which is its own, or deny the obligation arising therefrom; this is 
absolutely impossible. To conceive of oneself as a freely acting being and 
yet as exempt from the law which is appropriate to such a being (the moral 
law) would be tantamount to conceiving a cause operating without any laws 
whatsoever (for determination according to natural laws is excluded by the 
fact of freedom); this is a self-contradiction. In seeking, therefore, a ground 
of the morally-evil in man, [we find that] sensuous nature comprises too 
little, for when the incentives which can spring from freedom are taken 
away, man is reduced to a merely animal being. On the other hand, a reason 
exempt from the moral law, a malignant reason as it were (a thoroughly evil 
will2), comprises too much, for thereby opposition to the law would itself 
be set up as an incentive (since in the absence of all incentives the willw 
cannot be determined), and thus the subject would be made a devilish being. 
Neither of these designations is applicable to man.
	But even if the existence of this propensity to evil in human nature 
can be demonstrated by experiential proofs of the real
opposition, in time, of man's willw to the law, such proofs do not teach us 
the essential character of that propensity or the ground of this opposition. 
Rather, because this character concerns a relation of the willw, which is free 
(and the concept of which is therefore not empirical), to the moral law as an 
incentive (the concept of which, likewise, is purely intellectual), it must be 
apprehended a priori through the concept of evil, so far as evil is possible 
under the laws of freedom (of obligation and accountability). This concept 
may be developed in the following manner.
	Man (even the most wicked) does not, under any maxim 
whatsoever, repudiate the moral law in the manner of a rebel (renouncing 
obedience to it). The law, rather, forces itself upon him irresistibly by virtue 
of his moral predisposition; and were no other incentive working in 
opposition, he would adopt the law into his supreme maxim as the sufficient 
determining ground of his willw; that is, he would be morally good. But by 
virtue of an equally innocent natural predisposition he depends upon the 
incentives of his sensuous nature and adopts them also (in accordance with 
the subjective principle of self-love) into his maxim. If he took the latter into 
his maxim as in themselves wholly adequate to the determination of the 
willw, without troubling himself about the moral law (which, after all, he 
does have in him), he would be morally evil. Now, since he naturally 
adopts both into his maxim, and since, further, he would find either, if it 
were alone, adequate in itself for the determining of the will,1 it follows that 
if the difference between the maxims amounted merely to the difference 
between the two incentives (the content of the maxims), that is, if it were 
merely a question as to whether the law or the sensuous impulse were to 
furnish the incentive, man would be at once good and evil: this, however, 
(as we saw in the Introduction) is a contradiction. Hence the distinction 
between a good man and one who is evil cannot lie in the difference 
between the incentives which they adopt into their maxim (not in the content 
of the maxim), but rather must depend upon subordination (the form of the 
maxim), i.e., which of the two incentives he makes the condition of the 
other. Consequently man (even the best) is evil only in that he reverses the 
moral order of the incentives when he adopts them into his maxim. He 
adopts, indeed, the moral law along with the law of self-love; yet when he 
becomes aware that they cannot remain on a par with each other but that one 
must be subordinated
to the other as its supreme condition, he makes the incentive of self-love and 
its inclinations the condition of obedience to the moral law; whereas, on the 
contrary, the latter, as the supreme condition of the satisfaction of the 
former, ought to have been adopted into the universal maxim of the willw as 
the sole incentive.
	Yet, even with this reversal of the ethical order of the incentives in 
and through his maxim, a man's actions still may prove to be as much in 
conformity to the law as if they sprang from true basic principles. This 
happens when reason employs the unity of the maxims in general, a unity 
which is inherent in the moral law, merely to bestow upon the incentives of 
inclination, under the name of happiness, a unity of maxims which 
otherwise they cannot have. (For example, truthfulness, if adopted as a 
basic principle, delivers us from the anxiety of making our lies agree with 
one another and of not being entangled by their serpent coils.) The empirical 
character is then good, but the intelligible character is still evil.
	Now if a propensity to this1 does lie in human nature, there is in 
man a natural propensity to evil; and since this very propensity must in the 
end be sought in a willw which is free, and can therefore be imputed, it is 
morally evil. This evil is radical, because it corrupts the ground of all 
maxims; it is, moreover, as a natural propensity, inextirpable by human 
powers, since extirpation could occur only through good maxims, and 
cannot take place when the ultimate subjective ground of all maxims is 
postulated as corrupt; yet at the same time it must be possible to overcome 
it, since it is found in man, a being whose actions are free.
	We are not, then, to call the depravity of human nature wickedness 2 
taking the word in its strict sense as a disposition (the subjective principle of 
the maxims) to adopt evil3 as evil into our maxim as our incentives (for that 
is diabolical); we should rather term it the perversity of the heart, which, 
then, because of what follows from it, is also called an evil heart. Such a 
heart may coexist with a will which in general4 is good: it arises from the 
frailty of human nature, the lack of sufficient strength to follow out the 
principles it has chosen for itself, joined with its impurity, the failure to 
distinguish the incentives (even of well-intentioned 
actions) from each other by the gauge of morality; and so at last, if the 
extreme is reached, [it results] from looking only to the squaring of these 
actions with the law and not to the derivation of them from the law as the 
sole motivating spring. Now even though there does not always follow 
therefrom an unlawful act and a propensity thereto, namely, vice, yet the 
mode of thought which sets down the absence of such vice as being 
conformity of the disposition to the law of duty (as being virtue)--since in 
this case no attention whatever is paid to the motivating forces in the maxim 
but only to the observance of the letter of the law--itself deserves to be 
called a radical perversity in the human heart.
	This innate guilt (reatus), which is so denominated because it may be 
discerned in man as early as the first manifestations of the exercise of 
freedom, but which, none the less, must have originated in freedom and 
hence can be imputed,--this guilt may be judged in its first two stages (those 
of frailty and impurity) to be unintentional guilt (culpa), but in the third to be 
deliberate guilt (dolus) and to display in its character a certain 
insidiousness1 of the human heart (dolus malus), which deceives itself in 
regard to its own good and evil dispositions, and, if only its conduct has not 
evil consequences--which it might well have, with such maxims--does not 
trouble itself about its disposition but rather considers itself justified before 
the law. Thence arises the peace of conscience of so many men 
(conscientious in their own esteem) when, in the course of conduct 
concerning which they did not take the law into their counsel, or at least in 
which the law was not the supreme consideration, they merely elude evil 
consequences by good fortune. They may even picture themselves as 
meritorious, feeling themselves guilty of no such offenses as they see others 
burdened with; nor do they ever inquire whether good luck should not have 
the credit, or whether by reason of the cast of mind which they could 
discover, if they only would, in their own inmost nature, they would not 
have practised similar vices, had not inability, temperament, training, and 
circumstances of time and place which serve to tempt one (matters which are 
not imputable), kept them out of the way of those vices. This dishonesty, 
by which we humbug ourselves and which thwarts the establishing of a true 
moral disposition in us, extends itself outwardly also to falsehood and 
deception of others. If this is not to be termed wickedness, it at least 
deserves the name of worthlessness, and is an element in the radical 
evil of human nature, which (inasmuch as it puts out of tune the moral 
capacity to judge what a man is to be taken for, and renders wholly 
uncertain both internal and external attribution of responsibility) constitutes 
the foul taint in our race. So long as we do not eradicate it, it prevents the 
seed of goodness from developing as it otherwise would.
	A member of the British Parliament1 once exclaimed, in the heat of 
debate, "Every man has his price, for which he sells himself." If this is true 
(a question to which each must make his own answer), if there is no virtue 
for which some temptation cannot be found capable of overthrowing it, and 
if whether the good or evil spirit wins us over to his party depends merely 
on which bids the most and pays us most promptly, then certainly it holds 
true of men universally,2 as the apostle said:3 "They are all under sin,--
there is none righteous (in the spirit of the law), no, not one."* 

	IV. Concerning the Origin of Evil in Human Nature
	An origin (a first origin) is the derivation of an effect from its first 
cause, that is, from that cause which is not in turn the effect of another 
cause of the same kind. It can be considered either as an origin in reason or 
as an origin in time. In the former sense, regard is had only to the existence 
of the effect; in the latter, to its
occurrence, and hence it is related as an event to its first cause in time. If an 
effect is referred to a cause to which it is bound under the laws of freedom, 
as is true in the case of moral evil, then the determination of the willw to the 
production of this effect is conceived of as bound up with its determining 
ground not in time but merely in rational representation; such an effect 
cannot be derived from any preceding state whatsoever. Yet derivation of 
this sort is always necessary when an evil action, as an event in the world, 
is referred to its natural cause. To seek the temporal origin of free acts as 
such (as though they were natural effects) is thus a contradiction. Hence it is 
also a contradiction to seek the temporal origin of man's moral character,1 
so far as it is considered as contingent, since this character signifies the 
ground of the exercise of freedom; this ground (like the determining ground 
of the free willw generally) must be sought in purely rational 
	However the origin of moral evil in man is constituted, surely of all 
the explanations of the spread and propagation of this evil through all 
members and generations of our race, the most inept is that which describes 
it as descending to us as an inheritance from our first parents; for one can 
say of moral evil precisely what the poet said of good:2 genus et proavos, et 
quae non fecimus ipsi, vix ea nostra puto.* Yet we should note that, in our 
search for the origin of this evil, we do not deal first of all with the 
propensity thereto (as peccatum in potentia); rather do we direct our 
attention to the actual evil of given actions with respect to its inner 
possibility--to what must take place within the willw if evil is to be 
	In the search for the rational origin of evil actions, every such action 
must be regarded as though the individual had fallen into it directly from a 
state of innocence. For whatever his previous deportment may have been, 
whatever natural causes may have been influencing him, and whether these 
causes were to be found within him or outside him, his action is yet free and 
determined by none of these causes; hence it can and must always be judged 
as an original use of his willw. He should have refrained from that action, 
whatever his temporal circumstances and entanglements; for through no 
cause in the world can he cease to be a freely acting being. Rightly is it said 
that to a man's account are set down the consequences arising from his 
former free acts which were contrary to the law; but this merely amounts to 
saying that man need not involve himself in the evasion of seeking to 
establish whether or not these consequences are free, since there exists in 
the admittedly free action, which was their cause, ground sufficient for 
holding him accountable. However evil a man has been up to the very 
moment of an impending free act (so that evil has actually become custom or 
second nature) it was not only his duty to have been better [in the past], it is 
now still his duty to better himself. To do so must be within his power, and 
if he does not do so, he is susceptible of, and subjected to, imputability in 
the very moment of that action, just as much as though, endowed with a 
predisposition to good (which is inseparable from freedom), he had stepped 
out of a state of innocence into evil. Hence we cannot inquire into the 
temporal origin of this deed, but solely into its rational origin, if we are 
thereby to determine and, wherever possible, to elucidate the propensity, if 
it exists, i.e., the general subjective ground of the adoption of transgression 
into our maxim.
	The foregoing agrees well with that manner of presentation which 
the Scriptures use, whereby the origin of evil in the human
race is depicted as having a [temporal] beginning, this beginning being 
presented in a narrative, wherein what in its essence must be considered as 
primary (without regard to the element of time) appears as coming first in 
time. According to this account, evil does not start from a propensity thereto 
as its underlying basis, for otherwise the beginning of evil would not have 
its source in freedom; rather does it start from sin (by which is meant the 
transgressing of the moral law as a divine command). The state of man prior 
to all propensity to evil is called the state of innocence. The moral law 
became known to mankind, as it must to any being not pure but tempted by 
desires, in the form of a prohibition (Genesis II, 16-17). Now instead of 
straightway following this law as an adequate incentive (the only incentive 
which is unconditionally good and regarding which there is no further 
doubt), man looked about for other incentives (Genesis III, 6) such as can 
be good only conditionally (namely, so far as they involve no infringement 
of the law). He then made it his maxim--if one thinks of his action as 
consciously springing from freedom--to follow the law of duty, not as duty, 
but, if need be, with regard to other aims. Thereupon he began to call in 
question the severity of the commandment which excludes the influence of 
all other incentives; then by sophistry he reduced* obedience to the law to 
the merely conditional character of a means (subject to the principle of self-
love); and finally he adopted into his maxim of conduct the ascendancy of 
the sensuous impulse over the incentive which springs from the law--and 
thus occurred sin (Genesis III, 6). Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.1 
From all this it is clear that we daily act in the same way, and that therefore 
"in Adam all have sinned"2 and still sin; except that in us there is 
presupposed an innate propensity to transgression, whereas in the first man, 
from the point
of view of time, there is presupposed no such propensity but rather 
innocence; hence transgression on his part is called a fall into sin; but with 
us sin is represented as resulting from an already innate wickedness in our 
nature. This propensity, however, signifies no more than this, that if we 
wish to address ourselves to the explanation of evil in terms of its beginning 
in time, we must search for the causes of each deliberate transgression in a 
previous period of our lives, far back to that period wherein the use of 
reason had not yet developed, and thus back to a propensity to evil (as a 
natural ground) which is therefore called innate--the source of evil. But to 
trace the causes of evil in the instance of the first man, who is depicted as 
already in full command of the use of his reason, is neither necessary nor 
feasible, since otherwise this basis (the evil propensity) would have had to 
be created in him; therefore his sin is set forth as engendered directly from 
innocence. We must not, however, look for an origin in time of a moral 
character1 for which we are to be held responsible; though to do so is 
inevitable if we wish to explain the contingent existence of this character 
(and perhaps it is for this reason that Scripture, in conformity with this 
weakness of ours, has thus pictured the temporal origin of evil).
	But the rational origin of this perversion of our willw whereby it 
makes lower incentives supreme among its maxims, that is, of the 
propensity to evil, remains inscrutable to us, because this propensity itself 
must be set down to our account and because, as a result, that ultimate 
ground of all maxims would in turn involve the adoption of an evil maxim 
[as its basis]. Evil could have sprung only from the morally-evil (not from 
mere limitations in our nature); and yet the original predisposition (which no 
one other than man himself could have corrupted, if he is to be held 
responsible for this corruption) is a predisposition to good; there is then for 
us no conceivable ground from which the moral evil in us could originally 
have come. This inconceivability, together with a more accurate 
specification2 of the wickedness of our race, the Bible
expresses in the historical narrative as follows.* It finds a place for evil at 
the creation of the world, yet not in man, but in a spirit of an originally 
loftier destiny.1 Thus is the first beginning of all evil represented as 
inconceivable by us (for whence came evil to that spirit?); but man is 
represented as having fallen into evil only through seduction, and hence as 
being not basically corrupt (even as regards his original predisposition to 
good) but rather as still capable of an improvement, in contrast to a seducing 
spirit, that is, a being for whom temptation of the flesh cannot be accounted 
as an alleviation of guilt. For man, therefore, who despite a corrupted heart 
yet possesses a good will,2 there remains hope of a return to the good from 
which he has strayed.


	Concerning the Restoration to its Power of the Original 
Predisposition to Good

	Man himself must make or have made himself into whatever, in a 
moral sense, whether good or evil, he is or is to become. Either condition 
must be an effect of his free choicew; for otherwise he could not be held 
responsible for it and could therefore be morally neither good nor evil. 
When it is said, Man is created good, this can mean nothing more than: He 
is created for good and the original predisposition in man is good; not that, 
thereby, he is already actually good, but rather that he brings it about that he 
becomes good or evil, according to whether he adopts or does not adopt 
into his maxim the incentives which this predisposition carries with it ([an 
act] which must be left wholly to his own free choice). Granted that some 
supernatural cooperation may be necessary to his becoming good, or to his 
becoming better, yet, whether this cooperation consists merely in the 
abatement of hindrances or indeed in positive assistance, man must first 
make himself worthy to receive it, and must lay hold of this aid (which is no 
small matter)--that is, he must adopt this positive increase of power into his 
maxim, for only thus can good be imputed to him and he be known as a 
good man.
	How it is possible for a naturally evil man to make himself a good 
man wholly surpasses our comprehension; for how can a bad tree bring 
forth good fruit? But since, by our previous acknowledgment, an originally 
good tree (good in predisposition) did bring forth evil fruit,* and since the 
lapse from good into evil (when one remembers that this originates in 
freedom) is no more comprehensible than the re-ascent from evil to good, 
the possibility of this last cannot be impugned. For despite the fall, the 
injunction that we ought to become better men resounds unabatedly in our 
souls; hence this must be within our power, even though what we are able 
to do is in itself inadequate and though we thereby only 
render ourselves susceptible of higher, and for us inscrutable, assistance. It 
must indeed be presupposed throughout that a seed of goodness still 
remains in its entire purity, incapable of being extirpated or corrupted; and 
this seed certainly cannot be self-love* which, when taken as the principle 
of all our maxims, is the very source of evil.
	The restoration of the original predisposition to good in us is 
therefore not the acquiring of a lost incentive for good, for the incentive 
which consists in respect for the moral law we have never been able to lose, 
and were such a thing possible, we could never get it again. Hence the 
restoration is but the establishment of the purity of this law as the supreme 
ground of all our maxims, whereby it is not merely associated with other 
incentives, and certainly is not subordinated to any such (to inclinations) as 
its conditions, but instead must be adopted, in its entire purity, as an 
incentive adequate in itself for the determination of the willw. Original 
goodness is the holiness of maxims in doing one's duty, merely for duty's 
sake. The man who adopts this purity into his maxim is indeed not yet holy 
by reason of this act (for there is a great gap between the maxim and the 
deed). Still he is upon the road of endless progress towards holiness. When 
the firm resolve to do one's duty has become habitual, it is also called the 
virtue of conformity to law; such conformity is virtue's empirical character 
(virtus phÏnomenon). Virtue here has as its steadfast maxim conduct 
conforming to law; and it matters not whence come the incentives required 
by the willw for such conduct. Virtue in this sense is won little by little and, 
for some men, requires long practice (in observance of the law) during 
which the individual passes from a tendency to vice, through gradual 
reformation of his conduct and strengthening of his maxims, to an opposite 
tendency. For this to come to pass a change of heart is not necessary, but 
only a change of practices.1 A man accounts himself virtuous if he feels that 
he is confirmed in maxims of obedience to his duty, though these do not 
spring from the highest ground of all maxims, namely, from duty itself. The 
immoderate person, for instance, turns to temperance for the sake of health, 
the liar to honesty for the sake of reputation, the unjust man to civic 
righteousness for the sake of peace or profit, and so on--all in conformity 
with the precious principle of happiness. But if a man is to become not 
merely legally, but morally, a good man (pleasing to God), that is, a man 
endowed with
virtue in its intelligible character (virtus noumenon) and one who, knowing 
something to be his duty, requires no incentive other than this representation 
of duty itself, this cannot be brought about through gradual reformation so 
long as the basis of the maxims remains impure, but must be effected 
through a revolution in the man's disposition (a going over to the maxim of 
holiness of the disposition). He can become a new man only by a kind of 
rebirth, as it were a new creation (John III, 5; compare also Genesis I, 2), 
and a change of heart.
	But if a man is corrupt in the very ground of his maxims, how can 
he possibly bring about this revolution by his own powers and of himself 
become a good man? Yet duty bids us do this, and duty demands nothing of 
us which we cannot do. There is no reconciliation possible here except by 
saying that man is under the necessity of, and is therefore capable of, a 
revolution in his cast of mind, but only of a gradual reform in his sensuous 
nature1 (which places obstacles in the way of the former). That is, if a man 
reverses, by a single unchangeable decision, that highest ground of his 
maxims whereby he was an evil man (and thus puts on the new man), he is, 
so far as his principle and cast of mind are concerned, a subject susceptible 
of goodness, but only in continuous labor and growth is he a good man. 
That is, he can hope in the light of that purity of the principle which he has 
adopted as the supreme maxim of his willw, and of its stability, to find 
himself upon the good (though strait) path of continual progress from bad to 
better. For Him who penetrates to the intelligible ground of the heart (the 
ground of all maxims of the willw) and for whom this unending progress is 
a unity, i.e., for God, this amounts to his being actually a good man 
(pleasing to Him); and, thus viewed, this change can be regarded as a 
revolution. But in the judgment of men, who can appraise themselves and 
the strength of their maxims only by the ascendancy which they win over 
their sensuous nature2 in time, this change must be regarded as nothing but 
an ever-during struggle toward the better, hence as a gradual reformation of 
the propensity to evil, the perverted cast of mind.
	From this it follows that man's moral growth of necessity begins not 
in the improvement of his practices but rather in the transforming of his cast 
of mind and in the grounding of a character; though customarily man goes 
about the matter otherwise
and fights against vices one by one, leaving undisturbed their common root. 
And yet even the man of greatest limitations is capable of being impressed 
by respect for an action conforming to duty--a respect which is the greater 
the more he isolates it, in thought, from other incentives which, through 
self-love, might influence the maxim of conduct. Even children are capable 
of detecting the smallest trace of admixture of improper incentives; for an 
action thus motivated at once loses, in their eyes, all moral worth. This 
predisposition to goodness is cultivated in no better way than by adducing 
the actual example of good men (of that which concerns their conformity to 
law) and by allowing young students of morals to judge the impurity of 
various maxims on the basis of the actual incentives motivating the conduct 
of these good men. The predisposition is thus gradually transformed into a 
cast of mind, and duty, for its own sake, begins to have a noticeable 
importance in their hearts. But to teach a pupil to admire virtuous actions, 
however great the sacrifice these may have entailed, is not in harmony with1 
preserving his feeling for moral goodness. For be a man never so virtuous, 
all the goodness he can ever perform is still his simple duty; and to do his 
duty is nothing more than to do what is in the common moral order and 
hence in no way deserving of wonder. Such wonder is rather a lowering of 
our feeling for duty, as if to act in obedience to it were something 
extraordinary and meritorious.
	Yet there is one thing in our soul which we cannot cease from 
regarding with the highest wonder, when we view it properly, and for 
which admiration is not only legitimate but even exalting, and that is the 
original moral predisposition itself2 in us. What is it in us (we can ask 
ourselves) whereby we, beings ever dependent upon nature through so 
many needs, are at the same time raised so far above these needs by the idea 
of an original predisposition (in us) that we count them all as nothing, and 
ourselves as unworthy of existence, if we cater to their satisfaction (though 
this alone can make life worth desiring) in opposition to the law--a law by 
virtue of which our reason commands us potently, yet without making 
either promises or threats? The force of this question every man, even one 
of the meanest capacity, must feel most deeply--every man, that is, who 
previously has been taught the holiness which inheres in the idea of duty but 
who has not yet advanced to an
inquiry into the concept of freedom, which first and foremost emerges from 
this law:* and the very incomprehensibility of this predisposition, which 
announces a divine origin, acts perforce upon the spirit even to the point of 
exaltation, and strengthens it for whatever sacrifice a man's respect for his 
duty may demand of him. More frequently to excite in man this feeling of 
the sublimity of his moral destiny is especially commendable as a method of 
awakening moral sentiments. For to do so works directly against the innate 
propensity to invert the incentives in the maxims of our willw and toward 
the re-establishment in the human heart, in the form of an unconditioned 
respect for the law as the ultimate condition upon which maxims are to be 
adopted, of the original
moral order among the incentives, and so of the predisposition to good in all 
its purity.
	But does not this restoration through one's own exertions directly 
contradict the postulate1 of the innate corruption of man which unfits him 
for all good? Yes, to be sure, as far as the conceivability, i.e., our insight 
into the possibility, of such a restoration is concerned. This is true of 
everything which is to be regarded as an event in time (as change), and to 
that extent as necessary under the laws of nature, while at the same time its 
opposite is to be represented as possible through freedom under moral laws. 
Yet the postulate in question is not opposed to the possibility of this 
restoration itself. For when the moral law commands that we ought now to 
be better men, it follows inevitably that we must be able to be better men. 
The postulate of innate evil is of no use whatever in moral dogmatics,2 for 
the precepts of the latter carry with them the same duties and continue in 
identical force whether or not there is in us an innate tendency toward 
transgression. But in moral discipline3 this postulate has more to say, 
though no more than this: that in the moral development of the 
predisposition to good implanted in us, we cannot start from an innocence 
natural to us but must begin with the assumption of a wickedness of the 
willw in adopting its maxims contrary to the original moral predisposition; 
and, since this propensity [to evil] is inextirpable, we must begin with the 
incessant counteraction against it. Since this leads only to a progress, 
endlessly continuing, from bad to better, it follows that the conversion of 
the disposition of a bad man into that of a good one is to be found in the 
change of the highest inward ground of the adoption of all his maxims, 
conformable to the moral law, so far as this new ground (the new heart) is 
now itself unchangeable. Man cannot attain naturally to assurance 
concerning such a revolution, however, either by immediate consciousness 
or through the evidence furnished by the life which he has hitherto led; for 
the deeps of the heart (the subjective first ground of his maxims) are 
inscrutable to him. Yet he must be able to hope through his own efforts to 
reach the road which leads thither, and which is pointed out to him by a 
fundamentally improved disposition, because he ought to become a good 
man and is to be adjudged morally good only by virtue of that which can be 
imputed to him as performed by himself.
	Against this expectation of self-improvement, reason, which is by 
nature averse to the labor of moral reconstruction, now summons, under the 
pretext of natural incapacity, all sorts of ignoble religious ideas (among 
which belongs the false ascription to God Himself of the principle of 
happiness as the chief condition of His commandments). All religions, 
however, can be divided into those which are endeavors to win favor (mere 
worship) and moral religions, i.e., religions of good life-conduct. In the 
first, man flatters himself by believing either that God can make him 
eternally happy (through remission of his sins) without his having to 
become a better man, or else, if this seems to him impossible, that God can 
certainly make him a better man without his having to do anything more 
than to ask for it. Yet since, in the eyes of a Being who sees all, to ask is no 
more than to wish, this would really involve doing nothing at all; for were 
improvement to be achieved simply by a wish, every man would be good. 
But in the moral religion (and of all the public religions which have ever 
existed, the Christian alone is moral) it is a basic principle that each must do 
as much as lies in his power to become a better man, and that only when he 
has not buried his inborn talent (Luke XIX, 12-16) but has made use of his 
original predisposition to good in order to become a better man, can he hope 
that what is not within his power will be supplied through cooperation from 
above. Nor is it absolutely necessary for a man to know wherein this 
cooperation consists; indeed, it is perhaps inevitable that, were the way it 
occurs revealed at a given time, different people would at some other time 
form different conceptions of it, and that with entire sincerity. Even here the 
principle is valid: "It is not essential, and hence not necessary, for every one 
to know what God does or has done for his salvation;" but it is essential to 
know what man himself must do in order to become worthy of this 
	This1 General Observation is the first of four which are appended, 
one to each Book of this work, and which might bear the titles, (l) Works of 
Grace, (2) Miracles, (3) Mysteries, and (4) Means of Grace. These matters 
are, as it were, parerga to religion within the limits of pure reason; they do 
not belong within it but border upon it. Reason, conscious of her inability to 
satisfy her moral need, extends herself to high-flown2 ideas capable of 
this lack, without, however, appropriating these ideas as an extension of her 
domain. Reason does not dispute the possibility or the reality of the objects 
of these ideas; she simply cannot adopt them into her maxims of thought 
and action. She even holds that, if in the inscrutable realm of the 
supernatural there is something more than she can explain to herself, which 
may yet be necessary as a complement to her moral insufficiency, this will 
be, even though unknown, available to her good will. Reason believes this 
with a faith which (with respect to the possibility of this supernatural 
complement) might be called reflective; for dogmatic faith, which proclaims 
itself as a form of knowledge, appears to her dishonest or presumptuous. 
To remove the difficulties, then, in the way of that which (for moral 
practice) stands firm in and for itself, is merely a by-work (parergon), when 
these difficulties have reference to transcendent questions. As regards the 
damage resulting from these morally-transcendent ideas, when we seek to 
introduce them into religion, the consequences, listed in the order of the 
four classes named above, are: (1) [corresponding] to imagined inward 
experience (works of grace), [the consequence is] fanaticism; (2) to alleged 
external experience (miracles), superstition; (3) to a supposed enlightening 
of the understanding with regard to the supernatural (mysteries), 
illumination, the illusion of the "adepts"; (4) to hazardous attempts to 
operate upon the supernatural (means of grace), thaumaturgy--sheer 
aberrations of a reason going beyond its proper limits and that too for a 
purpose fancied to be moral (pleasing to God).
	But touching that which especially concerns this General 
Observation to Book One of the present treatise, the calling to our assistance 
of works of grace is one of these aberrations and cannot be adopted into the 
maxims of reason, if she is to remain within her limits; as indeed can 
nothing of the supernatural, simply because in this realm all use of reason 
ceases. For it is impossible to find a way to define these things theoretically 
([showing] that they are works of grace and not inner natural effects) 
because our use of the concept of cause and effect cannot be extended 
beyond matters of experience, and hence beyond nature. Moreover, even 
the hypothesis of a practical application of this idea is wholly self-
contradictory. For the employment of this idea would presuppose a rule 
concerning the good which (for a particular end) we ourselves must do in 
order to accomplish something, whereas to await
a work of grace means exactly the opposite, namely, that the good (the 
morally good) is not our deed but the deed of another being, and that we 
therefore can achieve it only by doing nothing, which contradicts itself. 
Hence we can admit a work of grace as something incomprehensible, but 
we cannot adopt it into our maxims either for theoretical or for practical use.


	1 [15] [Cf. I John V, 19]
	* [15] 	Aetas parentum peior avis tulit
	 	Nos nequiores, mox daturos
		Progeniem vitiosiorem.
			Horace [Odes, III, 6.
		  ...Our father's race
	  	More deeply versed in ill
		Than were their sires, hath borne us yet
		More wicked, duly to beget
	  	  A race more vicious still.
	1 [16] De ira, II, 13, 1: "We are sick with curable diseases, and if 
we wish to be cured, nature comes to our aid, for we were born to health."]
	2 [16] [nicht allemal]
	1 [17] [Aktus]
	* [17] That the ultimate subjective ground of the adoption of moral 
maxims is inscrutable is indeed already evident from this, that since this 
adoption is free, its ground (why, for example, I have chosen an evil and 
not a good maxim) must not be sought in any natural impulse, but always 
again in a
maxim. Now since this maxim also must have its ground, and since apart 
from maxims no determining ground of free choicew can or ought to be 
adduced, we are referred back endlessly in the series of subjective 
determining grounds, without ever being able to reach the ultimate ground.
	* [18] If the good = a, then its diametric opposite is the not-good. 
This latter is the result either of a mere absence of a basis of goodness, = 0, 
or of a positive ground of the opposite of good, = -a. In the second case the 
not-good may also be called positive evil. (As regards pleasure and pain 
there is a similar middle term, whereby pleasure = a, pain = -a, and the state 
in which neither is to be found, indifference, = 0.) Now if the moral law in 
us were not a motivating force of the willw, the morally good (the 
agreement of the willw with the law) would = a, and the not-good would = 
0; the latter, as merely the result of the absence of a moral motivating force, 
would = a ´ 0. In us, however, the law is a motivating force, = a; hence the 
absence of agreement of the willw with this law (= 0) is possible only as a 
consequence of a real and contrary determination of the willw, i.e., of an 
opposition to the law, = -a, i.e., of an evil willw. Between a good and an 
evil disposition (inner principle of maxims), according to which the morality 
of an action must be judged, there is therefore no middle ground.
	A1 morally indifferent action (adiaphoron morale) would be one 
resulting merely from natural laws, and hence standing in no relation 
whatsoever to the moral law, which is the law of freedom; for such action is 
not a morally significant fact at all and regarding it neither command, nor 
prohibition, nor permission (legal privilege) occurs or is necessary.
	1 [18] [Added in the Second Edition.]
	** [18] Professor Schiller, in his masterly treatise (Thalia, 1793, 
Part III) on grace and dignity in morality, objects to this way of representing 
as carrying with it a monastic cast of mind. Since, however, we are at one 
upon the most important principles, I cannot admit that there is disagreement 
here, if only we can make ourselves clear to one another. I freely grant that 
by very reason of the dignity of the idea of duty I am unable to associate 
grace with it. For the idea of duty involves absolute necessity, to which 
grace stands in direct contradiction. The majesty of the moral law (as of the 
law on Sinai) instils awe (not dread, which repels, nor yet charm, which 
invites familiarity); and in this instance, since the ruler resides within us, 
this respect, as of a subject toward his ruler, awakens a sense of the 
sublimity of our own destiny which enraptures us more than any beauty. 
Virtue, also, i.e., the firmly grounded disposition strictly to fulfil our duty, 
is also beneficent in its results, beyond all that nature and art can accomplish 
in the world; and the august picture of humanity, as portrayed in this 
character, does indeed allow the attendance of the graces. But when duty 
alone is the theme, they keep a respectful distance. If we consider, further, 
the happy results which virtue, should she gain admittance everywhere, 
would spread throughout the world, [we see] morally-directed reason (by 
means of the imagination) calling the sensibilities1 into play. Only after 
vanquishing monsters did Hercules become Musagetes, leader of the 
Muses,--after labors from which those worthy sisters, trembling, draw 
back. The attendants of Venus Urania become wantons in the train of Venus 
Dione as soon as they meddle in the business of determining duty and try to 
provide springs of action therefor.
	Now if one asks, What is the aesthetic character,2 the temperament, 
so to speak, of virtue, whether courageous and hence joyous or fear-ridden 
and dejected, an answer is hardly necessary. This latter slavish frame of 
mind can never occur without a hidden hatred of the law. And a heart which 
is happy in the performance of its duty (not merely complacent in the 
recognition thereof) is a mark of genuineness in the virtuous disposition--of 
genuineness even in piety, which does not consist in the self-inflicted 
torment of a repentant sinner (a very ambiguous state of mind, which 
ordinarily is nothing but inward regret at having infringed upon the rules of 
prudence), but rather in the firm resolve to do better in the future. This 
resolve, then, encouraged by good progress, must needs beget a joyous 
frame of mind, without which man is never certain of having really attained 
a love for the good, i.e., of having incorporated it into his maxim.
	1 [19] [Sinnlichkeit]
	2 [19] [Beschaffenheit]
	* [20] The ancient moral philosophers, who pretty well exhausted all 
that can be said upon virtue, have not left untouched the two questions 
mentioned above. The first they expressed thus: Must virtue be learned? (Is 
man by nature indifferent as regards virtue and vice?) The second they put 
thus: Is there more than one virtue (so that man might be virtuous in some 
respects, in others vicious)? Both questions were answered by them, with 
rigoristic precision, in the negative, and rightly so; for they were 
considering virtue as such, as it is in the idea of reason (that which man 
ought to be). If, however, we wish to pass moral judgment on this moral 
being, man as he appears, i.e., as experience reveals him to us, we can 
answer both questions in the affirmative; for in this case we judge him not 
according to the standard of pure reason (at a divine tribunal) but by an 
empirical standard (before a human judge). This subject will be treated 
further in what follows.
	1 [20] [Kant closes this parenthesis at the end of the sentence; our 
alteration seems necessitated by the meaning.] 
	1 [21] [Our phrase "fixed character and destiny" translates 
	* [21] We cannot regard this as included in the concept of the 
preceding, but necessarily must treat it as a special predisposition. For from 
the fact that a being has reason it by no means follows that this reason, by 
the mere representing of the fitness of its maxims to be laid down as 
universal laws, is thereby rendered capable of determining the willw 
unconditionally, so as to be "practical" of itself; at least, not so far as we can 
see. The most rational mortal being in the world might still stand in need of 
certain incentives, originating in objects of desire, to determine his choicew. 
He might. indeed, bestow the most rational reflection on all that concerns 
not only the greatest sum of these incentives in him but also the means of 
attaining the end thereby determined, without ever suspecting the possibility 
of such a thing as the absolutely imperative moral law which proclaims that 
it is itself an incentive, and, indeed, the highest. Were it not given us from 
within, we should never by any ratiocination subtilize it into existence or 
win over our willw to it; yet this law is the only law which informs us of the 
independence of our willw from determination by all other incentives (of 
our freedom) and at the same time of the accountability of all our actions.
	1 [22] [Rohigkeit]
	2 [22] [The two English words translate Všllerei.]
	3 [22] [Reading Anlage for Anlagen.]
	4 [22] [Kultur. Cf. below, p. 29, where these vices are referred to 
as vices of culture and civilization (Kultur und Zivilisierung).]
	1 [24] [Concupiscentia added in the Second Edition.]
	  [24] A propensity (Hang) is really only the predisposition2 to 
crave a delight which, when once experienced, arouses in the subject an 
inclination to it. Thus all savage peoples have a propensity for intoxicants; 
for though many of them are wholly ignorant of intoxication and in 
consequence have absolutely no craving for an intoxicant, let them but once 
sample it and there is aroused in them an almost inextinguishable craving for 
	Between inclination, which presupposes acquaintance with the 
object of desire, and propensity there still is instinct, which is a felt want to 
do or to enjoy something of which one has as yet no conception (such as the 
constructive impulse in animals, or the sexual impulse) . Beyond inclination 
there is finally a further stage in the faculty of desire, passion (not emotion, 
for this has to do with the feeling of pleasure and pain), which is an 
inclination that excludes the mastery over oneself.
	2 [24] [Predisposition; not the usual German word Anlage, which 
heretofore we have translated as predisposition.]
	3 [24] [Unlauterkeit, i.e., lack of single-mindedness, integrity.]
	1 [25] [Cf. Romans, VIl, 15]
	2 [25] [in der Idee]
	1 [26] [Cf. Romans XIV, 23]
	2 [26] [sinnliche, i.e., pertaining to sense]
	1 [27] [intelligible and sensible]
	2 [27] [Sinnlichkeit]
	3 [27] [Satires, I, iii, 68: "No one is born free from vices."]
	1 [28] [verderbter; misprinted verdorbener in the First Edition.]
	2 [28] [Samuel Hearne (1745-1792), an English traveller, in the 
service of the Hudson Bay Company. His Account of a Journey from 
Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northwest was published in 
1795. Kant evidently had read the brief account of Hearne's travels in 
Douglas's Introduction to Cook's Third Voyage, London, 1784.]
	* [28] Thus the war ceaselessly waged between the Arathapescaw 
Indians and the Dog Rib Indians has no other object than mere slaughter. 
Bravery in war is, in the opinion of savages, the highest virtue. Even in a 
civilized state it is an object of admiration and a basis for the special regard 
commanded by that profession in which bravery is the sole merit; and this is 
not without rational cause. For that man should be able to possess a thing 
(i.e., honor) and make it an end to be valued more than life itself, and 
because of it renounce all self-interest, surely bespeaks a certain nobility in 
his natural disposition. Yet we recognize in the complacency with which 
victors boast their mighty deeds (massacres, butchery without quarter, and 
the like) that it is merely their own superiority and the destruction they can 
wreak, without any other objective, in which they really take satisfaction.
	3 [28] [Rohigkeit]
	1 [29] [La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, No. 583: "Dans l'adversitŽ de 
nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous 
deplait pas."]
	2 [29] [den aŸszern Všlkerzustand]
	  [29] When we survey the history of these, merely as the 
phenomenon of the inner predispositions of mankind which are for the most 
part concealed from us, we become aware of a certain machine-like 
movement of nature toward ends which are nature's own rather than those 
of the nations. Each separate state, so long as it has a neighboring state 
which it dares hope to conquer, strives to aggrandize itself through such a 
conquest, and thus to attain a world-monarchy, a polity wherein all 
freedom, and with it (as a consequence) virtue, taste, and learning, would 
necessarily expire. Yet this monster (in which laws gradually lose their 
force), after it has swallowed all its neighbors, finally dissolves of itself, 
and through rebellion and disunion breaks up into many smaller states. 
These, instead of striving toward a league of nations (a republic of federated 
free nations), begin the same game over again, each for itself, so that war 
(that scourge of humankind) may not be allowed to cease. Although indeed 
war is not so incurably evil as that tomb, a universal autocracy (or even as a 
confederacy which exists to hasten the weakening of a despotism in any 
single state), yet, as one of the ancients put it, war creates more evil men 
than it destroys.3
	3 ["This is also cited by Kant in the first Appendix to Section II of 
Zum ewigen Frieden. There the quotation is termed 'a saying of that Greek'; 
unfortunately, its source has not been found." (Note in Berlin Edition.)]
	1 [30] [Sinnlichkeit]
	2 [30] [Wille]
	1 [31] [Our phrase "determining of the will" translates 
	1 [32] [i.e., to the inversion of the ethical order of the incentives.]
	2 [32] [Bosheit]
	3 [32] [Bšse]
	4 [32] [im Allegemeinen]
	1 [33] [TŸcke]
	1 [34] [Sir Robert Walpole. What he said, however, was not so 
universal: "All those men" (referring to certain "patriots") "have their 
	2 [34] [allgemein]
	3 [34] [Cf. Romans III, 9-10]
	* [34] The special proof of this sentence of condemnation by 
morally judging reason is to be found in the preceding section rather than in 
this one, which contains only the confirmation of it by experience. 
Experience, however, never can reveal the root of evil in the supreme 
maxim of the free willw relating to the law, a maxim which, as intelligible 
act, precedes all experience. Hence from the singleness of the supreme 
maxim, together with the singleness of the law to which it relates itself, we 
can also understand why, for the pure intellectual judgment of mankind, the 
rule of excluding a mean between good and evil must remain fundamental; 
yet for the empirical judgment based on sensible conduct4 (actual 
performance and neglect) the rule may be laid down that there is a mean 
between these extremes--on the one hand a negative mean of indifference 
prior to all education, on the other hand a positive, a mixture, partly good 
and partly evil. However, this latter is merely a judgment upon the morality 
of mankind as appearance, and must give place to the former in a final 
	4 [34] [sinnlicher That]
	1 [35] [Beschaffenheit]
	2 [35] [Ovid, Metamorphoses, Xlll, 140-141: "Race and ancestors, 
and those things which we ourselves have not made, I scarcely account our 
	* [35] The three so-called "higher faculties" (in the universities) 
would explain this transmission of evil each in terms of its own specialty, as 
inherited disease, inherited debt, or inherited sin. (1) The faculty of 
medicine would represent this hereditary evil somewhat as it represents the 
tapeworm, concerning which several naturalists actually believe that, since 
no specimens have been met with anywhere but in us, not even (of this 
particular type) in other animals, it must have existed in our first parents. (2) 
The faculty of law would regard this evil as the legitimate consequence of 
succeeding to the patrimony bequeathed us by our first parents, [an 
inheritance] encumbered, however, with heavy forfeitures (for to be born is 
no other than to inherit the use of
earthly goods so far as they are necessary to our continued existence). Thus 
we must fulfil payment (atone) and at the end still be dispossessed (by 
death) of the property. How just is legal justice! (3) The theological faculty 
would regard this evil as the personal participation by our first parents in the 
fall of a condemned rebel, maintaining either that we ourselves then 
participated (although now unconscious of having done so), or that even 
now, born under the rule of the rebel (as prince of this world), we prefer his 
favors to the supreme command of the heavenly Ruler, and do not possess 
enough faith to free ourselves; wherefore we must also eventually share his 
	* [37] All homage paid to the moral law is an act of hypocrisy, if, in 
one's maxim, ascendancy is not at the same time granted to the law as an 
incentive sufficient in itself and higher than all other determining grounds of 
the willw. The propensity to do this is inward deceit, i.e., a tendency to 
deceive oneself in the interpretation of the moral law, to its detriment 
(Genesis III, 5). Accordingly, the Bible (the Christian portion of it) 
denominates the author of evil (who is within us) as the liar from the 
beginning, and thus characterizes man with respect to what seems to be the 
chief ground of evil in him.
	1 [37] [Horace, Satires, I, 1. "Change but the name, of you the tale 
is told." (Conington)]
	2 [37] [Cf. Romans V, 12. "The efÕ w panteV hmarton of the Greek 
text (= epi toutw oti k. t. l. = 'on this ground, that . .') is rendered in the 
Latin translation (the Vulgate) by in quo omnes peccaverunt; and this in quo 
was in early times taken as a
masculine, to mean 'in Adam' (particularly by Augustine, in the interest of 
his doctrine of inherited sin: in Adam omnes tunc peccaverunt, quando in 
eius natura illa insita vi, qua eos gignere poterat, adhuc omnes ille unus 
fuerunt. De pecc. mer. et rem., III, 7, 14). This interpretation continued to 
be dominant in the older Protestant exegesis. Indeed, even today critical 
interpreters defend the notion that 'in Adam' may be supplied as really in the 
thought of Paul." (Note in Berlin Edition.)]
	1 [38] [Beschaffenheit]
	2 [38] [Bestimmung]
	* [39] What is written here must not be read as though intended for 
Scriptural exegesis, which lies beyond the limits of the domain of bare 
reason. It is possible to explain how an historical account is to be put to a 
moral use without deciding whether this is the intention of the author or 
merely our interpretation, provided this meaning is true in itself, apart from 
all historical proof, and is moreover the only one whereby we can derive 
something conducive to our betterment from a passage which otherwise 
would be only an unfruitful addition to our historical knowledge. We must 
not quarrel unnecessarily over a question or over its historical aspect, when, 
however it is understood, it in no way helps us to be better men, and when 
that which can afford such help is discovered without historical proof, and 
indeed must be apprehended without it. That historical knowledge which 
has no inner bearing valid for all men belongs to the class of adiaphora, 
which each man is free to hold as he finds edifying.
	1 [39] [Bestimmung]
	2 [39] [Wille]
	1 [40] [In the First Edition this "General Observation" was 
designated as section V.]
	* [40] The tree, good in predisposition, is not yet good in actuality, 
for were it so, it could certainly not bring forth bad fruit. Only when a man 
has adopted into his maxim the incentive implanted in him of allegiance to 
the moral law is he to be called a good man (or the tree a thoroughly good 
	* [41] Words which can be taken in two entirely different meanings 
frequently delay for a long time the reaching of a conviction even on the 
clearest of grounds. Like love in general, so also can self-love be divided 
into love of good will and love of good pleasure (benevolentiae et 
complacentiae), and both (as is self-evident) must be rational. To adopt the 
former into one's maxim is natural (for who will not wish to have it always 
go well with him?); it is also rational so far as, on the one hand, that end is 
chosen which can accord with the greatest and most abiding welfare, and, 
on the other, the fittest means are chosen [to secure] each of the components 
of happiness. Here reason holds but the place of a handmaid to natural 
inclination; the maxim adopted on such grounds has absolutely no reference 
to morality. Let this maxim, however, be made the unconditional principle 
of the willw, and it is the source of an incalculably great antagonism to 
	A rational love of good pleasure in oneself can be understood in 
either of two ways: first, that we are well pleased with ourselves with 
respect to those maxims already mentioned which aim at the gratification of 
natural inclination (so far as that end is attained through following those 
maxims); and then it is identical with love as good will toward oneself: one 
takes pleasure in oneself, just as a merchant whose business speculations 
turn out well rejoices in his good discernment regarding the maxims he used 
in these transactions. In the second sense, the maxim of self-love as 
unqualified good pleasure in oneself (not dependent upon success or failure 
as consequences of conduct) would be the inner principle of such a 
contentment as is possible to us only on condition that our maxims are 
subordinated to the moral law. No man who is not indifferent to morality 
can take pleasure in himself, can indeed escape a bitter dissatisfaction with 
himself, when he is conscious of maxims which do not agree with the moral 
law in him. One might call that a rational self-love which prevents any 
adulteration of the incentives of the willw by other causes of happiness such 
as come from the consequences of one's actions (under the name of a 
thereby attainable happiness). Since, however this denotes an unconditional 
respect for the law, why needlessly render difficult the clear understanding 
of the principle by using the term rational self-love, when the use of the 
term moral self-love is restricted to this very condition, thus going around in 
a circle? (For only he can love himself in a moral fashion who knows that it 
is his maxim to make reverence for the law the highest incentive of his 
willw.) By our nature as beings dependent upon circumstances of 
sensibility, we crave happiness first and unconditionally. Yet by this same 
nature of ours (if we wish in general so to term that which is innate). as 
beings endowed with reason and freedom, this happiness is far from being 
first, nor indeed is it unconditionally an object of our maxims; rather this 
object is
worthiness to be happy, i.e., the agreement of all our maxims with the 
moral law. That this is objectively the condition whereby alone the wish for 
happiness can square with legislative reason--therein consists the whole 
precept of morality; and the moral cast of mind consists in the disposition to 
harbor no wish except on these terms.
	1 [42] [Sitten]
	1 [43] [Sinnesart]
	2 [43] [Sinnlichkeit]
	1 [44] [die rechte Stimmung]
	2 [44] [Ÿberhaupt]
	* [45] The concept of the freedom of the willw does not precede the 
consciousness of the moral law in us but is deduced from the 
determinability of our willw by this law as an unconditional command. Of 
this we can soon be convinced by asking ourselves whether we are certainly 
and immediately conscious of power to overcome, by a firm resolve, every 
incentive, however great, to transgression (Phalaris licet imperet, ut sis 
falsus et admoto dictet periuria tauro).1 Everyone will have to admit that he 
does not know whether, were such a situation to arise, he would not be 
shaken in his resolution. Still, duty commands him unconditionally: he 
ought to remain true to his resolve; and thence he rightly concludes that he 
must be able to do so, and that his willw is therefore free. Those who 
fallaciously represent this inscrutable property as quite comprehensible 
create an illusion by means of the word determinism (the thesis that the 
willw is determined by inner self-sufficient grounds) as though the 
difficulty consisted in reconciling this with freedom--which after all never 
occurs to one; whereas what we wish to understand, and never shall 
understand, is how predeterminism, according to which voluntary2 actions, 
as events, have their determining grounds in antecedent time (which, with 
what happened in it. is no longer within our power), can he consistent with 
freedom, according to which the act as well as its opposite must be within 
the power of the subject at the moment of its taking place.
	To3 reconcile the concept of freedom with the idea of God as a 
necessary Being raises no difficulty at all: for freedom consists not in the 
contingency of the act (that it is determined by no grounds whatever), i.e., 
not in indeterminism (that God must be equally capable of doing good or 
evil, if His actions are to be called free), but rather in absolute spontaneity. 
Such spontaneity is endangered only by predeterminism, where the 
determining ground of the act is in antecedent time, with the result that, the 
act being now no longer in my power but in the hands of nature, I am 
irresistibly determined; but since in God no temporal sequence is thinkable, 
this difficulty vanishes.
	1 [45] [Juvenal, Satires Vlll, 81-82: "though Phalaris himself should 
command you to be false and should bring up his bull and dictate 
	2 [45] [willkŸrliche]
	3 [45] [This paragraph added in the Second Edition.]
	1 [46] [Satz]
	2 [46] [Dogmatik]
	3 [46] [Ascetik]
	1 [47] [From here to the end of Book One added in the Second 
	2 [47] [Ÿberschwenglich]