Analytic method and Analytic Propositions in Kant's Groundwork

Michael H. McCarthya1

a1 University of Western Ontario

At the beginning of the third Section of the Groundwork, Kant appears to state the synthetic a priori proposition which it is the business of that Section to justify. It is: “An absolutely good will is one whose maxim can always have as its content itself considered as a universal law.” I shall contend that a consideration of Kant's use of analytic method shows that he is committed to regard this proposition not as synthetic, but rather as analytic. Hence, I shall contend that his statement of the proposition to be justified in the third Section is a slip, which hinders the study of the third Section and which, therefore, requires a textual emendation. Kant, I claim, does not attempt to justify this proposition but another.