Kant on Freedom of Empirical Thought

Markus Kohl
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
It is standardly assumed that, in Kant, “free agency” is identical to moral agency and requires the will or practical reason. Likewise, it is often held that the concept of “spontaneity” that Kant uses in his theoretical philosophy is very different from, and much thinner than, his idea of practical spontaneity. In this paper I argue for the contrary view: Kant has a rich theory of doxastic free agency, and the spontaneity in empirical thought (which culminates in judgments of experience) is essentially the same sort of spontaneity found in the practical use of reason. Accordingly, the faculties of understanding and practical reason both possess genuine autonomy.
Keywords Kant's philosophy of mind  freedom of thought  spontaneity of understanding  doxastic voluntarism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/hph.2015.0034
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,024
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

Kant and the Normativity of Logic.Huaping Lu‐Adler - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):207-230.
Kant’s Standpoint Distinction.Markus Kohl - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (2):229-255.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Allison on Rational Agency.Stephen Engstrom - 1993 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):405 – 418.
Absolute Spontaneity of Choice.Dirk Setton - 2013 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 17 (1):75-99.
Mental Ballistics or the Involuntariness of Spontaniety.Galen Strawson - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):227-257.
The Idea of Freedom and Moral Cognition in Groundwork III.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):555-589.
Reflection, Enlightenment, and the Significance of Spontaneity in Kant.Melissa McBay Merritt - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (5):981-1010.
Kant and the Universal Claims of Reason.Kerry Tim Ketcher - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Added to PP index

Total views
64 ( #112,000 of 2,320,206 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #229,814 of 2,320,206 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature