The Scope of Responsibility in Kant's Theory of Free Will

Abstract
In this paper, I discuss a problem for Kant's strategy of appealing to the agent qua noumenon to undermine the significance of determinism in his theory of free will. I then propose a solution. The problem is as follows: given determinism, how can some agent qua noumenon be 'the cause of the causality' of the appearances of that agent qua phenomenon without being the cause of the entire empirical causal series? This problem has been identified in the literature (Ralph Walker provides what is perhaps the most dramatic presentation of it). But it has never received an adequate solution. In this paper, I argue that Walker’s objection is only decisive if we must understand our responsibility as responsibility for events, but not causal laws. I argue that we need not interpret Kant's theory in this way. I demonstrate that each agent qua noumenon could be responsible for "limited instantiation scope" causal laws which necessitate only the phenomenal actions of that same agent qua phenomenon. Part of this project involves showing that there are relevant constituents of actions which are "rare" enough to instantiate such laws. I demonstrate that, on Kant's view, events in agents’ bodies are not rare enough, but events in agents’ phenomenal souls are.
Keywords Kant  free will  incompatibilism  causal laws  determinism  noumena  agent causation  intelligible character  moral responsibility  freedom
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,101
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 7 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-07-27

Total downloads

40 ( #46,220 of 1,102,134 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #68,222 of 1,102,134 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.