According to Kant, feeling of obligation is a moral feeling, a respect for the moral law. It has no external source and it is not imposed. The notion of obligation comes from us as rational, free beings. Human reason and freedom can only be source of moral law that is universal and binds everybody. Feeling of obligation cannot come from our knowledge-oriented experience because principles that directs the will in our relationships with objects are subjective ones and therefore a universal moral law cannot come form them. Second, it cannot come from basic principles such as cogito because these ideas stay above human reason and cannot be known and represented. Thirdly, because moral law can only come form us as rational, free human beings, we decide what we ought to do and we are not imposed what we must do. .
Feeling of obligation cannot be derived from our experiences with objects because in our relationships with objects we use our subjective maxims and it cannot be raised to a moral universal law. Moral law determines our will and reason is the ground for determining our will. Moral law is finding out what among our wills can serve as a universal principle for our moral action. Will is always conditioned by objects and nature around us. When we will something and transfer it into action, the principle that determines our will is only valid for us. Kant calls these kinds of principles maxims. There is no consensus among maxims. We always start with maxims whenever we will something. However, a moral law must be valid for everyone. Thus, we should be able to translate our subjective maxim into an objective law and make it valid for everyone. Kant expresses this idea in these words: "So act that the maxim of your will always hold at the same time as the principle giving universal law". There are practical principles for wills whose determining ground are objects. Our experiences with these objects are based on pleasure or pain we get from these objects.