Intelligible character and the reciprocity thesis

Inquiry 36 (4):419 – 430 (1993)
This paper surveys some themes of Allison's Kant's Theory of Freedom, and then raises a problem for his presentation of Kant's Reciprocity Thesis. Allison argues that a transcendentally free agent is bound to the moral law as follows. Rational agents fall under a justification requirement, and when transcendental freedom is added to the concept of rational agency, the justification requirement extends to the choice of fundamental maxims. Since facts about one's nature cannot justify the adoption of fundamental maxims, all that remains are considerations that anyone can recognize as valid. Thus a transcendentally free agent must conform to unconditional laws. The problem is that it is unclear how a transcendentally free agent can make a reasoned choice of fundamental principles; but if it can, why can't it choose the Principle of Happiness? I suggest that a stronger version of this argument results from adopting a richer notion of a transcendentally free agent as an autonomous sovereign will with an interest in expressing its sovereignty
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DOI 10.1080/00201749308602332
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