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Kant begins the second Critique by explaining its title. Noting that the aim of the first Critique was to restrict the use of pure, i.e., a priori, reasoning to phenomena, and that this might suggest that its successor be termed a critique of pure practical reason rather than simply a critique of practical reason, he points out that its aim is to show that there is such a thing as pure practical reason and this requires a critique of reason’s entire practical capacity (KpV 5: 32–7; 139). As he did in the first Critique, Kant uses the term ‘critique’ in both its positive and negative senses. Taken positively, it means examining practical reason as a distinct source of a priori cognitions; whereas taken negatively it means examining the pretension of empirically conditioned practical reason, which presupposes given desires, to be the only legitimate use of practical reason. In other words, Kant’s negative target is the view that there is no such thing as a pure use of practical reason; just as his main target in the first Critique was an all-encompassing empiricism, which denies that there is any synthetic a priori knowledge.1 Since the practical function of reason is to determine the will, this means that Kant’s positive goal in the Analytic of Pure Practical Reason, which is the counterpart of the Transcendental Analytic in the first Critique, is to ground the claim that reason of itself can determine the will, which is to say that pure reason can be practical. But rather than providing a demonstration of this in the form of a deduction of the moral law/categorical imperative, as he attempted unsuccessfully in the Groundwork, Kant now claims that this capacity can be shown to be a fact, which he refers to as the “fact of reason.”
Having completed our survey of Kant’s thoughts on free will during the “Silent Decade,” we are in a position to examine his account in the first Critique. The task is complicated, however, by the fact that Kant discusses the issue in two distinct places in the work: the Transcendental Dialectic in connection with the Third Antinomy and the Canon of Pure Reason in the Transcendental Doctrine of Method. Moreover, these two accounts have often been thought to be incompatible, with the former containing the genuinely “critical” view and the latter vestiges of Kant’s earlier views discussed in Chapter 5, which has led to the application of the so-called patchwork thesis to his accounts of freedom in the first Critique. In previous discussions of this issue, I have argued against this view, claiming that the two accounts are compatible and that in order to recognize this it is necessary to view them in light of the distinct tasks of the portions of the Critique in which they are located.1 I shall adopt the same strategy here, though I shall focus not only on the discrepancies, real and apparent, between the two accounts, but also on the relation of both to Kant’s fragmentary accounts in the “Silent Decade,” which exhibited many of same tensions. Inasmuch as it is not only the first and most important discussion of the topic in the Critique, but also the foundation for all of Kant’s subsequent treatments of it, the former account will receive the bulk of our attention. The chapter is divided into five parts, with the first four devoted to the account in the Dialectic. These deal respectively with the nature and source of the antinomial conflict, the thesis and antithesis arguments of the Third Antinomy, Kant’s claim that transcendental idealism is the key to the resolution of this conflict, and the lengthy account of freedom based upon this analysis.
For most philosophers, including Kantians of various stripes, the importance of the third Critique rests primarily in its containing a systematic account of Kant’s aesthetics, while others focus their attention on its presentation of his views on teleology and the philosophy of biology, and still others, including myself, pair its two introductions with the Appendix to the Dialectic in the first Critique in order to find therein Kant’s vindication of inductive reasoning against a Humean skepticism.1 But despite this variety of concerns, which speaks to the complexity of the work, it may seem strange to find a full chapter devoted to it in a book supposedly concerned with Kant’s account of free will. The explanation for this is that among the main concerns of the third Critique is the relation between nature and freedom, which we have already seen was a central concern of Kant throughout his philosophical career. The problem takes three forms. The first, which finds its definitive formulation in the first Critique, is to show that freedom, considered as a mode of causality involving absolute spontaneity or a capacity for first beginnings, is compatible with the causality of nature, conceived as mechanistic in a broad sense, wherein every “beginning,” conceived as a coming to be in time, preceded by an occurrence from which it follows necessarily in accordance with a rule. Since these modes of causality are deemed mutually exclusive, the task is to show that they could be predicated simultaneously, without contradiction, of the same action and agent, which Kant does by appealing to transcendental idealism. And we further saw that, while the first Critique is content to establish merely the logical possibility of such predication, since that is all that is thought necessary to resolve the Third Antinomy, the second Critique considers this as a starting point and by appealing to the fact of reason takes the further step of arguing for the reality of such freedom through the practical use of pure reason.
Kant’s initial major treatment of the free will problem after that in the first edition of Critique of Pure Reason was in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). It is marked by the introduction of the conception of the autonomy of the will, which is Kant’s attempt to provide a foundation for morality after his realization of the inadequacy of his position in the Canon, where it was provided by a rational faith based on the hope that happiness will be rewarded in proportion to the worthiness of it. As was noted, this appeal to hope was intended to provide an incentive or principium executionis for obeying the dictates of morality, with these dictates being themselves grounded in the moral law (the principium diiudicationis), which is a product of pure reason. And, as was also noted, it was precisely because the latter was located in pure reason that the principium executionis was regarded as problematic; for it raises the question of how pure reason, which, ex hypothesi, abstracts from any considerations of self-interest, could have a motivating power, particularly when its dictates conflict with the agent’s perceived self-interest. In Kant’s terms, this became the question: How can pure reason be practical, i.e., determine the power of choice? But while the central focus of this chapter will be on this thesis and its implications for both Kant’s account of freedom and the project of grounding the categorical imperative as principium diiudicationis as delineated in the Groundwork, in order to gain a fuller understanding of the development of Kant’s thought on these issues, it is necessary to preface the discussion with a brief consideration of two texts that stem from the period between the publication of the first edition of the Critique and the Groundwork, namely, Kant’s review of a work that attempted to provide a deterministic grounding for morality (1783) and the account of freedom in the transcription of the Metaphysic Mrongovius, which is a set of lectures dated between 1782 and 1783.
During this extended period Kant published only one work of philosophical import: On Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World (1770) [De mundi sensibilis atque intelligibilis forma et principiis] (henceforth referred to as the Dissertation); and it does not contain a single direct reference to the free will problem. Nevertheless, it is evident from the transcripts of his lectures and the Reflexionen from this period that it was a time in which Kant paid considerable attention to this topic, as well as many others that became central to his later thought. Moreover, despite Kant’s silence on the topic in the Dissertation, which followed shortly after the epiphany of the “Great Light,” (1769), the main results of this work cannot be ignored here, since they played a decisive role in Kant’s subsequent treatment of the problem. The aim of this chapter is to trace the development of Kant’s thoughts on free will during this period and it is divided into four parts. The first considers the nature and significance of the “Great Light” and its bearing on the Dissertation; the second and lengthiest, largely (but not always) following the chronology adopted by Adickes, examines the accounts contained in Kant’s numerous Reflexionen from the period; while the third and fourth analyze his views expressed in his lectures on metaphysics and practical philosophy respectively,
Although it was not Kant’s first publication,1 our story begins in 1755 with a brief look at a lengthy work with the unwieldy title Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens or Essay on the Constitution and the Mechanical Origin of the Whole Universe According to Newtonian Principles [Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels oder Versuch von der Verfassung und dem mechanischen Ursprunge des ganzen Weltgebäudes, nach Newtonischen Grundsätzen abgehandelt] (henceforth referred to as Theory of the Heavens). Despite the fact that, as the title indicates, its subject matter is far removed from the question of free will, it requires inclusion in an investigation of the development of Kant’s views on the topic, because it defines the scientific framework in which Kant formed his first thoughts on the matter. These thoughts are first expressed in a work that Kant published in the same year as the above: A New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition [Principium primorum cognitionis metaphysicae nova dilucidatio] (henceforth referred to as New Elucidation). Accordingly, it will be the central focus of this chapter. But also requiring consideration in this context are Kant’s 1759 essay “An attempt at some reflections on optimism” [Versuch einiger Betrachtungen über den Optimismus], as well as three closely related Reflexionen dealing with the same topic. Thus, the chapter is divided into three parts, which together give us a first glance at Kant’s incipient conception of freedom of the will and related topics, many of which will be further developed in his subsequent writings.
Since Kant’s discussions of free will in the texts from the first half of the 1760s are contained in his contributions to both theoretical and practical philosophy, and since these involve different considerations, it will be convenient to divide the treatment of Kant’s account of freedom during this period into two chapters. The present chapter will be concerned with Kant’s theoretical writings, insofar as they bear on the issue, and it will focus on the following texts: “Inquiry concerning the distinctness of the principles of natural theology and morality, being an answer to the question proposed by the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences for the year 1763” [Untersuchung über die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze der natürlichen Theologie und der Moral. Zur Beantwortung der Frage, welche die Konig. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin auf das Jahr 1763 aufgegeben hat] (1764) (henceforth referred to as the Prize Essay); “An attempt to introduce the concept of negative magnitudes into philosophy” [Versuch den Begriff der negativen Grössen in die Weltweisheit einzufuhren] (1763) (henceforth referred to as Negative Magnitudes); The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God [Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes] (1763) (henceforth referred to as Beweisgrund); and the portion of Herder’s transcript of Kant’s metaphysics lectures that deals with freedom of the will.
Having considered Kant’s metaphysical views as expressed in his writings and lectures of the early 1760s and their relation to his conception of freedom (human and divine), we now turn to his forays into moral philosophy during the same period. Unfortunately, it cannot be claimed that these shed a great deal of direct light on the free will issue, since that is largely peripheral to the moral theory with which Kant was most concerned during the period, namely, Hutchesonian sentimentalism. Nevertheless, much as was the case with his texts and lectures on metaphysics, they help to clarify the naturalistic perspective from which Kant considered free will at the time. The discussion focuses on four texts and is divided into four parts. The first is the section of the Prize Essay devoted to ethics, which contains Kant’s earliest published treatment of the topic. The second is Kant’s published Announcement of his lectures for the Winter of 1765–6, which prominently includes a series of lectures on ethics. The third is Herder’s notes from Kant’s lectures on moral philosophy between 1762 and 1764. The fourth is the portion dealing with ethical themes in Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime [Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen] (1764) (henceforth referred to as Observations).
According to Josef Schmucker, the collection of jottings that has become known as Remarks in the Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime because of their location rather than their content constitutes a virtual dialogue with Rousseau, which Schmucker also described as beginning a second stage in the development of Kant’s ethical thought.1 Although this is not the only source for Kant’s views regarding Rousseau in the mid-1760s, since there were significant discussions of the latter’s views in both his Announcement and Herder’s transcript of his ethics lectures, it is indisputably the most important. Kant discusses a large number of topics in Remarks, not all of which involve Rousseau.2 Its central concern, however, is with the relation between humanity in its natural and social conditions and moral theory, broadly construed, which is to say moral anthropology, the importance of which Kant had affirmed in his near contemporaneous and previously discussed Announcement. But while it will be necessary to consider what additional light Remarks sheds, by way of Rousseau, on this broad topic, our main focus will be on its contribution to the understanding of Kant’s views on free will at the time and the influence of Rousseau on these views.
Much of what Kant says about free will during 1790s, which was the final decade of his authorship, hews closely to his account in the Critique of Practical Reason, particularly the claims that the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of freedom and that the reality of freedom is only established through the moral law as a “fact of morally practical reason.”1 There are, however, three issues with regard to which Kant’s late writings go significantly beyond his earlier accounts and are, therefore, essential to filling out the account of the development of his conception of free will. These are the Wille–Willkür distinction, which Kant initially appealed to in the essay “Concerning Radical Evil in Human Nature” (1792), later incorporated as the first part of Religion (1793), and gave a systematic account of in the Metaphysics of Morals (1797); Kant’s response in this work to Reinhold’s objection that his conception of free will does not allow for the possibility of freely choosing evil, which was later formulated, independently of Reinhold, by the British utilitarian Henry Sidgwick; and Kant’s oft-criticized account of radical evil in Religion. Accordingly, the chapter is divided into three parts, each one dealing with one of these issues.
Although a good deal has been written about Kant's conception of free will in recent years, there has been no serious attempt to examine in detail the development of his views on the topic. This book endeavours to remedy the situation by tracing Kant's thoughts on free will from his earliest discussions of it in the 1750s through to his last accounts in the 1790s. This developmental approach is of interest for at least two reasons. First, it shows that the path that led Kant to view freedom as a transcendental power that is both radically distinct from and compatible with the causality of nature was a winding one. Second, it indicates that, despite the variety of views of free will that Kant held at various times, the concept occupied a central place in his thought, because it was the point of union between his theoretical and practical philosophy.
To measure transmission frequencies and risk factors for household acquisition of community-associated and healthcare-associated (HA-) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Prospective cohort study from October 4, 2008, through December 3, 2012.
Seven acute care hospitals in or near Toronto, Canada.
Total of 99 MRSA-colonized or MRSA-infected case patients and 183 household contacts.
Baseline interviews were conducted, and surveillance cultures were collected monthly for 3 months from household members, pets, and 8 prespecified high-use environmental locations. Isolates underwent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing.
Overall, of 183 household contacts 89 (49%) were MRSA colonized, with 56 (31%) detected at baseline. MRSA transmission from index case to contacts negative at baseline occurred in 27 (40%) of 68 followed-up households. Strains were identical within households. The transmission risk for HA-MRSA was 39% compared with 40% (P=.95) for community-associated MRSA. HA-MRSA index cases were more likely to be older and not practice infection control measures (P=.002–.03). Household acquisition risk factors included requiring assistance and sharing bath towels (P=.001–.03). Environmental contamination was identified in 78 (79%) of 99 households and was more common in HA-MRSA households.
Household transmission of community-associated and HA-MRSA strains was common and the difference in transmission risk was not statistically significant.