Kant on Moral Freedom and Moral Slavery

Kantian Review 17 (1):1-32 (2012)

Authors
David Forman
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Abstract
Kant’s account of the freedom gained through virtue builds on the Socratic tradition. On the Socratic view, when morality is our end, nothing can hinder us from attaining satisfaction: we are self-sufficient and free since moral goodness is (as Kant says) “created by us, hence is in our power.” But when our end is the fulfillment of sensible desires, our satisfaction requires luck as well as the cooperation of others. For Kant, this means that happiness requires that we get other people to work for our ends; and this requires, in turn, that we gain control over the things other people value so as to have influence over them. If this plan for happiness is not subordinated to morality, then what is most valuable to us will be precisely what others value. This is the root of the “passions” that make us evil and make us slaves whose satisfaction depends on others. But, significantly, this dependence is a moral slavery and hence does not signal a loss, or even diminishment of the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility.
Keywords Kant  Freedom  Stoics  Rousseau  Cynics  Happiness  Evil  Wisdom  Self-Sufficiency  Passions
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DOI 10.1017/s1369415411000318
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References found in this work BETA

Practical Philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1991 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Creating the Kingdom of Ends.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Kant’s Ethical Thought.Allen W. Wood - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Anthropology, History, and Education.Immanuel Kant - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Virtues of Freedom: Selected Essays on Kant.Paul Guyer - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Self‐Legislation and Self‐Command in Kant's Ethics.Eric Entrican Wilson - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):256-278.

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