Philosophers' Imprint 5:1-34 (2005)

Patrick Frierson
Whitman College
In the first Critique, Kant says, “[A]ll the actions of a human being are determined in accord with the order of nature,” adding that “if we could investigate all the appearances . . . there would be no human action we could not predict with certainty.” Most Kantian treatments of human action discuss action from a practical perspective, according to which human beings are transcendentally free, and thus do not sufficiently lay out this Kant’s empirical, causal description of human action. Drawing on Kant’s lectures in empirical psychology and his anthropological writings, this paper offers a clear and detailed elucidation of Kant’s empirical account of human action. After explaining the connection between cognitions, feelings, desires, and actions, I show how the lower faculty of desire is governed by various instincts, inclinations, and propensities, and how the higher faculty of desire is governed by (empirical) character. I also discuss how character and inclinations arise from natural human propensities combined with other empirical causes. By looking at both Kant’s faculty psychology and his account of predispositions, I lay out an overall Kantian framework for explaining any kind of human action.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,920
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Nietzsche and Kant on the Will: Two Models of Reflective Agency.Paul Katsafanas - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):185-216.
Duties Regarding Animals.Patrick Kain - 2010 - In Lara Denis (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 210--233.
Self‐Legislation and Self‐Command in Kant's Ethics.Eric Entrican Wilson - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):256-278.
The Moral Value of Artistic Beauty in Kant.Joseph Cannon - 2011 - Kantian Review 16 (1):113-126.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #100,610 of 2,439,303 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #283,018 of 2,439,303 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes