Kant on Freedom

Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press (2023)
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Kant’s early critics maintained that his theory of freedom faces a dilemma: either it reduces the will’s activity to strict necessity by making it subject to the causality of the moral law, or it reduces the will’s activity to blind chance by liberating it from rules of any kind. This Element offers a new interpretation of Kant’s theory against the backdrop of this controversy. It argues that Kant was a consistent proponent of the claim that the moral law is the causal law of a free will, and that the supposed ability of free will to choose indifferently between options is an empty concept. Freedom, for Kant, is a power to initiate action from oneself, and the only way to exercise this power is through the law of one’s own will, the moral law. Immoral action is not thereby rendered impossible, but it also does not express a genuine ability.

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Author's Profile

Owen Ware
University of Toronto, Mississauga

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References found in this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Kant's Theory of Freedom.Henry E. Allison - 1990 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Living without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):308-310.
Living without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):494-497.
Manifest Reality: Kant's Idealism and His Realism.Lucy Allais - 2015 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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