History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1) (2010)
Morality, as Immanuel Kant understands it, depends on the capacity of a person to be the agent and owner of his own actions, not merely a conduit for social and psychological forces and influences over which he has little or no control. As a result, Kant’s moral philosophy focuses primarily on the topic of individual freedom and the necessary preconditions of the possibility of that freedom. In the Groundwork and second Critique, Kant’s discussion of the connection between morality and freedom centers on autonomy of the will. He identifies autonomy as the supreme principle of morality and defines it as “choos[ing] only in such a way that the maxims of your choice are also included as universal law in the same volition” (Gr 4:440). In this paper I argue that according to Kant the possibility of autonomous action requires that certain preconditions be met. Satisfying these preconditions requires an individual to be a member of civil society (status civilis), and, specifically, a civil society maintained by a strong, sovereign power. This connection between freedom and civil society exists on two levels. First, one precondition of autonomy (i.e., internal freedom) is liberty (i.e., external freedom), and an individual can secure his liberty only once he is a member of civil society. Second, an individual is free only when others recognize him as a being with the capacity for autonomous action, and joining civil society is the process by which this recognition takes place.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Civil Societies and Democratization: Assumptions, Dilemmas and the South African Experience.Lorenzo Fioramonti - 2005 - Theoria 44 (107):65-88.
Beyond Liberal Civil Society: Confucian Familism and Relational Strangership.Sungmoon Kim - 2010 - Philosophy East and West 60 (4):476-498.
Kant's Non-Voluntarist Conception of Political Obligations: Why Justice is Impossible in the State of Nature.Helga Varden - 2008 - Kantian Review 13 (2):1-45.
How Privatization Threatens the Private.Chiara Cordelli - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (1):65-87.
The Inaugural Address: Autonomy: The Emperor's New Clothes.Onora O'Neill - 2003 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77:1 - 21.
The Paradox of Civil Society in the Structure of Hegel's Views of Sittlichkeit.Sholomo Avineri - 1986 - Philosophy and Theology 1 (2):157-172.
Humanity as an Object of Respect: Immanuel Kant's Anthropological Approach and the Foundation for Morality.Sibylle Rolf - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (4):594-605.
Civil Society Theory and Republican Democracy.Gideon Baker - 2001 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 4 (2):59-84.
Cultivating Virtue: Moral Progress and the Kantian State.Chris W. Surprenant - 2007 - Kantian Review 12 (1):90-112.
Added to index2010-06-11
Total downloads72 ( #70,818 of 2,152,599 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #399,611 of 2,152,599 )
How can I increase my downloads?