The first two sections of this paper are devoted respectively to the criticisms of my views raised by Stephen Engstrom and Andrews Reath at a symposium on Kant's Theory of Freedom held in Washington D.C. on 28 December 1992 under the auspices of the North American Kant Society. The third section contains my response to the remarks of Marcia Baron at a second symposium in Chicago on 24 April 1993 at the APA Western Division meetings. The fourth section deals with (...) some general criticisms of my treatment of Kant's theory of freedom and its connection with transcendental idealism that have been raised by Karl Ameriks, who was also a participant in the second symposium, in an earlier piece published in Inquiry and by Paul Guyer in a review. The paper as a whole is thus an attempt to reformulate and clarify some of the central claims of my book in light of the initial critical reaction. (shrink)
In his new book the eminent Kant scholar Henry Allison provides an innovative and comprehensive interpretation of Kant's concept of freedom. The author analyzes the concept and discusses the role it plays in Kant's moral philosophy and psychology. He also considers in full detail the critical literature on the subject from Kant's own time to the present day. In the first part Professor Allison argues that at the center of the Critique of Pure Reason there is the foundation for a (...) coherent general theory of rational agency. The second part employs this account of rational agency as a key to understanding Kant's concept of moral agency and associated moral psychology. The third part focuses on Kant's attempt to ground both moral law and freedom in the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason. This is a major contribution to the interpretation of Kant which will be of special interest to scholars and graduate students of Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
In this paper I examine Kant''s use of causal language to characterize things in themselves. Following Nicholas Rescher, I contend that Kant''s use of such causal language can only be understood by first coming to grips with the relation of things in themselves to appearances. Unlike Rescher, however, I argue that things in themselves and appearances are not numerically distinct entities. Rather, I claim that it is things in themselves that we are intentionally related to in veridical experience, though of (...) course we know them only as they appear to us via our subjective experiential faculties. In light of this account of the role of things in themselves in Kant''s account of experience, I argue that his use of causal locutions to describe things in themselves is simply his attempt to capture the fact that as the objects that we are related to in experience, the existence of things in themselves is presupposed by any account of the nature of our experienceof them. (shrink)
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in British Journal for the History of Philosophy, published by and copyright Routledge.
Eric Watkins has argued on philosophical, textual, and historical grounds that Kant’s account of causation in the first Critique should not be read as an attempt to refute Hume’s account of causation. In this paper, I challenge the arguments for Watkins’ claim. Specifically, I argue (1) that Kant’s philosophical commitments, even on Watkins’ reading, are not obvious obstacles to refuting Hume, (2) that textual evidence from the “Disciple of Pure Reason” suggests Kant conceived of his account of causation as such (...) a refutation, and (3) that none of Hume’s early German critics provided responses to this account that would have satisfied Kant. Watkins’ reading of Kant’s account of causation is thus more compatible with traditional views about Kant’s relationship to Hume than Watkins believes. (shrink)
This critical notice highlights the important contributions that Eric Watkins's writings have made to our understanding of theories about causation developed in eighteenth-century German philosophy and by Kant in particular. Watkins provides a convincing argument that central to Kant's theory of causation is the notion of a real ground or causal power that is non-Humean (since it doesn't reduce to regularities or counterfactual dependencies among events or states) and non-Leibnizean because it doesn't reduce to logical or conceptual relations. However, we (...) raise questions about Watkins's more specific claims that Kant completely rejects a model on which the first relatum of a phenomenal causal relation is an event and that he maintains that real grounds are metaphysically and not just epistemically indeterminate. -/- . (shrink)
Kant explicitou, talvez com maior clareza que qualquer outro filósofo antes do que ele, a essência do conflito que implica a relação da causalidade natural e a causalidade livre. Hegel assevera que com o dualismo fenômeno-coisa em si Kant deixa intacta como tal a incompatibilidade entre as noções de causalidade natural e causalidade livre, já que, conserva sua contraposição mesma para simplesmente localizá-la na estrutura do sujeito. Hegel aspira precisamente a fechar o ciclo da metafísica dualista que definiu a filosofia (...) dos seus começos e, com isso, a dar solução definitiva às dificuldades que lhe são inerentes; para esse fim exige o abandono do paradigma que a constituiu como tal e propõe no seu lugar uma autêntica revolução no campo da ontologia e a teoria do conhecimento. Neste contexto geral, Hegel oferece uma solução inovadora ao problema da incompatibilidade entre causalidade natural e causalidade livre, entre determinismo e liberdade. (shrink)
A central doctrine of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason holds that the content of human experience is rooted in an affection of sensibility by unknowable things in themselves. This famous and puzzling affection doctrine raises two seemingly intractable old problems, which can be termed the Indispensability and the Consistency Problems. By what right does Kant present affection by supersensible entities as an indispensable requirement of experience? And how could any argument for such indispensability avoid violating the Critique's doctrine of noumenal (...) ignorance? This essay develops a new solution to both problems, setting out from the continuity between Kant's early and mature views on sensibility and mind-world relations. Kant's early writings subscribe to an interactionist cosmology opposed to both Leibniz's preestablished harmony and Malebranche's occasionalism. The modern debate on mind-world relations shaping Kant's early cosmology points us to a widely recognized motivation for interactionism, turning on a constraint on agency within certain noninteractionist cosmologies. In particular, Kant's early conversion to a libertarian theory of freedom, together with his rejection of occasionalism, provides the basis for a compelling argument for the indispensability of world-mind affection relations. Extended to the transcendental idealist framework, the same argument reveals noumenal affection as an indispensable presupposition of some knowledge claims consistently upheld by Kant. This leads in turn to a satisfying solution to the Consistency Problem, showing that the doctrine of noumenal affection is not merely consistent with, but is partly motivated by, Kant's commitment to noumenal ignorance. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
The concept of necessity plays a central role in Kant's philosophy, but seems to lead to severe paradoxes. On the one hand he states: ‘Notwendigkeit und strenge Allgemeinheit sind sichere Kennzeichen einer Erkenntnis a priori’. On the other hand he talks also about ‘notwendig (d. i. nach einer Regel)’, which means ‘necessary according to the empirical natural laws’. However, he never states explicitly the distinction between these two different concepts of necessity. Either Kant's philosophy is inconsistent or we have to (...) assume that he indeed interchanges two different concepts, even if he does not tell us that there is a difference between synthetic apriori necessity and natural necessity. This paper defends the hypothesis of two different necessities and then shows how this strategy makes possible a rational reconstruction of Kant's epistemology. (shrink)
The debate on how to interpret Kant's transcendental idealism has been prominent for several decades now. In his book Kant's Transcendental Proof of Realism (2004) Kenneth R. Westphal introduces and defends his version of the metaphysical dual-aspect reading. But his real aim lies deeper: to provide a sound transcendental proof for (unqualified) realism, based on Kant's work, without resorting to transcendental idealism. In this sense his aim is similar to that of Peter F. Strawson – although Westphal's approach is far (...) more sophisticated. First he attempts to show that noumenal causation – on the reality of which his argument partly rests – is coherent in and necessary for Kant's transcendental idealism. Westphal then aims to undermine transcendental idealism by two major claims: Kant can neither account for transcendental affinity nor satisfactorily counter Hume's causal scepticism. Finally Westphal defends his alternative for transcendental idealism by showing that it solves these problems and thus offers a genuine transcendental proof for realism. In this paper I will show that all the three steps outlined above suffer from decisive shortcomings, and that consequently, regardless of its merits, Westphal's transcendental argument for realism remains undemonstrated. (shrink)
This article examines the relationship in Kant between transcendental laws and empirical laws (focusing on causal laws), and then brings a particular interpretation of that issue to bear on familiar puzzles concerning the status of the regulative maxims of reason and reflective judgment. It is argued that the 'indeterminate objective validity' possessed by the regulative maxims derives ultimately from strictly constitutive demands of understanding.
The second analogy of experience is one of the most famous and crucial parts of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Despite 220 years of intense scrutiny and debate, however, no consensus has emerged as to the precise nature of its argument. A main source of disagreement in recent years has been the following question: With what is Kant concerned in this section? Is he concerned with (1) necessary conditions of our believing in the first place that there has been a (...) case of objective as opposed to merely subjective succession? Is he concerned, in other words, with necessary conditions of our at least seeming to be aware or having any representation at all (whether veridical or not) of an event? Or is he concerned merely with (2) conditions under which alone beliefs of some sort can be verified or confirmed? The second of these possibilities has found its most eloquent champion in Paul Guyer; the first has been defended with great ingenuity by Beatrice Longuenesse. (shrink)
Kant, in various parts of his treatment of causality, refers to determinism or the principle of sufficient reason as an inescapable principle. In fact, in the Second Analogy we find the elements to reconstruct a purely phenomenal determinism as a logical and tautological truth. I endeavour in this article to gather these elements into an organic theory of phenomenal causality and then show, in the third section, with a specific argument which I call the “paradox of phenomenal observation”, that this (...) phenomenal determinism is the only rational approach to causality because any logico-reductivistic approach, such as the Humean one, would destroy the temporal order and so the very possibility to talk of a causal relation. I also believe that, all things said, Kant did not achieve a much greater comprehension of the problem than Hume did, in his theory of causality, for he did not free a phenomenal approach from the impasse of reductivism as his reflections on “simultaneous causation” and “vanishing quantities” indeed show, and this I will argue in Sect. 4 of this article. (shrink)
Transcendental freedom consists in the power of agents to produce actions without being causally determined by antecedent conditions, nor by their natures, in exercising this power. Kant contends that we cannot establish whether we are actually or even possibly free in this sense. He claims only that our conception of being transcendentally free involves no inconsistency, but that as a result the belief that we have this freedom meets a pertinent standard of minimal credibility. For the rest, its justification depends (...) on practical reasons. I argue that this belief satisfies an appropriately revised standard of minimal credibility, but that the practical reasons Kant adduces for it are subject to scrious challenge. (shrink)