SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Sobald die Menschen über Recht und Unrecht zu reflectiren anfingen, in einer Zeit, wo sie über die Zweckmäßigkeit der Natur noch gleichgültig wegsahen, sie nützten, ohne sich dabei etwas Anderes als den gewohnten Lauf der Natur zu denken, mußte sich das Urtheil unvermeidlich einfinden: daß es im Ausgange nimmermehr einerlei sein könne, ob ein Mensch sich redlich oder falsch, billig oder gewaltthätig verhalten habe, wenn er gleich bis an sein Lebensende, wenigstens sichtbarlich, für seine Tugenden kein Glück, oder für seine Verbrechen keine Strafe angetroffen habe. Es ist: als ob sie in sich eine Stimme wahrnähmen, es müsse anders zugehen! mithin mußte auch die, obgleich dunkle, Vorstellung von Etwas, dem sie nachzustreben sich erbunden fühlten, verborgen liegen, womit ein solcher Ausschlag sich gar nicht zusammenreimen lasse, oder womit, wenn sie den Weltlauf einmal als die einzige Ordnung der Dinge ansahen, sie wiederum jene innere Zweckbestimmung ihres Gemüths nicht zu vereinigen wußten.
As soon as people begin to contemplate right and wrong, even at a time in which they look indifferently upon the utility of Nature, they contemplate it, even without pausing to consider precisely why, and thus inevitably they come to this judgment: that in the end it must make a difference whether a person acts honestly or deceitfully, fairly or violently, even if to the end of his life he derives no benefit from his virtues and no punishment for his crimes, or at least none that we can see. It is as if they hear an inner voice that says: It cannot be like this! And thus over time they evolve dark concepts of something which lies concealed, after which they feel compelled to quest, something decisive which they hardly can begin to fathom, and even if they should at one point recognize in it the sole order of things, they would hardly know how to reconcile it with the purpose of their own nature.
–Immanuel Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, pt ii, sec ii, Anhang. § 88 – Beschränkung der Gültigkeit des moralischen Beweises (1790) in: Sämtliche Werke in sechs Bänden, vol. 6, p. 366 (Großherzog Wilhelm Ernst ed. 1921)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”