The following places seem unambiguous: “ is thus the ground of the dignity of the human and of every rational nature” (436,6); and: “the dignity of humanity consists precisely in this capacity for universal legislation, although with the proviso that it is at the same time itself subject to this legislation” (440,10); or: “the will of one rational being must always at the same time be regarded as universally condition in order to be a member in the realm of ends: “Such a realm of ends would actually be brought about through maxims, the rule of which is prescribed by the categorical imperatives of all rational beings, One can have dignity as a king, a teacher, a mathematician, and so on.
We do not dispute this, of course; we do not mean to say that in all possible contexts ‘dignity’ means the same as ‘absolute inner value’.
These beings have no inclinations and desires contrary to the good; the “will whose maxims necessarily harmonize with the laws of autonomy is a , absolutely good will” (439,28).
The noumenally-good will as such (regardless of its being incorporated in a finite being) cannot be differentiated from the holy will (regardless of its being incorporated in an infinite being).
(1784) it becomes clear that it is freedom of the will which makes human beings ends in themselves: “The freedom of the human being is the condition under which the human being himself can be an end” (Fey: 1320).
Or again: “I must presuppose the freedom of this being if it is to be an end in its own eyes” (Fey: 1322).
It is also quite obvious from this lecture that a being is not an end in itself simply because it is rational and capable of setting ends: “If rational beings alone can be ends in themselves, they cannot be so because they have reason, but because they have freedom. – Through reason the human being could produce in accordance with universal laws of nature, without freedom, what the animal produces through instinct” (Fey: 1321–1322).
Only if a rational being is free in the positive sense that this freedom is “a law for itself” (Fey: 1322) is such a being an end in itself and possess value: “The inner worth of the human being rests upon his freedom, upon the fact that he has a will of his own” (Fey: 1319).
In this paper, we shall provide answers to these questions with regard to Kant’s .
Sensen raises a very interesting question: Do humans beings have dignity because or inasmuch as we must respect them, or do they have dignity on the basis of a worth they already possess?