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  1. #1
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    can't comprehend the last bit

    ...and now suppose that he tears himself out of this dead insensibility, and performs the action without any inclination to it, but simply from duty, then first has his action its genuine moral worth. Further still; if nature has put little sympathy in the heart of this or that man; if he, supposed to be an uptight man, is by temperament cold and indifferent to sufferings of others, perhaps because in respect of his own he is provided with the special gift of patience and fortitude, and supposes, or even requires, that others should have the same - and such a man would certainly not be the meanest product of nature - but if nature had not specifically framed him for a philanthropist, would he not still find in him a source from whence to give himself a far higher worth than that of a good-natured temperament could be? Unquestionably.
    I'm not sure what the text in bold is referring to.

    - HKB

  2. #2
    oregeezer's Avatar
    oregeezer is offline Member
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    Re: can't comprehend the last bit

    It is quite confusing. The sentence is 115 words long - an almost immpossible task for a reader to comprehend. The English has a slightly foeign tinge, as if it was from a translation.
    It seems to me that the author meant to express his belief that the person being discussed has a very high opinion of himself. Beyond that I cannot guess.

  3. #3
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Re: can't comprehend the last bit

    oregeezer, you guessed right about the text being a translation from another language. This is taken from 'Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals' by Immanuel Kant, apparently quite a famous German philosopher in the 18th century.

    ...and this is kind of text the first year university students have to put up with. (I'm in my second year but that's beside the point)

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: can't comprehend the last bit

    Kant is always difficult to read, in whatever language, and this is not a particularly smooth translation.

    He is saying that an upright man who may not be naturally goodhearted or emphathetic to others can still be beneficent, even if this is from moral awareness rather than from natural inclination.

    "apparently quite a famous German philosopher in the 18th century." Hmmm.

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Re: can't comprehend the last bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Kant is always difficult to read, in whatever language, and this is not a particularly smooth translation.

    He is saying that an upright man who may not be naturally goodhearted or empathetic to others can still be beneficent, even if this is from moral awareness rather than from natural inclination.
    That fits with my understanding of the passage (quite a difficult one).


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