Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Kant’s theory of freedom is famously described as a “compatibilism of compatibilism and incompatibilism” (Wood 1984: 74). On the one hand, Kant claims that human freedom is not a mere epiphenomenon of causally determined mental states, and, on the other hand, he seeks to reconcile this strong conception of freedom with thoroughgoing natural determinism of empirically observable actions of human agents. Equally famously, this theory of freedom has been given (at least) two different interpretations among contemporary Kantians. According to the first, “two-world” interpretation, human beings are free insofar as they exist in a noumenal world of thing-in-themselves and determined insofar as they exist in a phenomenal world of mere appearances. According to the second, “two-standpoint” (or two perspective) interpretation, human beings are free insofar as they are thought of from a practical or deliberator’s standpoint, and determined insofar as they are thought of from a scientific or observer’s standpoint.1 Here the two standpoints are not primarily distinguished by different beliefs, but by different tasks: the theoretical standpoint seeks to explain natural occurrences in terms of causal laws, while the practical standpoint is the standpoint from which human beings act in the world.2 But these different tasks have implications for belief. In particular, the practical standpoint requires thinking of agents as free, while the theoretical requires thinking of deeds as casually determined. The two standpoint interpretation has, in recent years, dominated Kantian discussions of Kant’s theory of freedom, and it is at least implicit..|
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