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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.
The general introduction briefly presents the historical-philosophical context in which Fichte's System of Ethics was published and its connection to Fichte's overall project of a philosophical system. The Introduction stresses the complexity of the plan of the System of Ethics, and surveys the main issues discussed in the work, thereby presenting the topics of each chapter in the volume.
The System of Ethics was published at the height of Fichte's academic career and marks the culmination of his philosophical development in Jena. Much more than a treatise on ethics narrowly construed, the System of Ethics presents a unified synthesis of Fichte's core philosophical ideas, including the principle I-hood, self-activity and self-consciousness, and also contains his most detailed treatment of action and agency. This volume brings together an international group of leading scholars on Fichte, and is the first of its kind in English to offer critical and interpretive perspectives on this work, covering topics such as normativity, belief, justification, desire, duty, and the ethical life. It will be an essential guide for scholars wanting to deepen their understanding of Fichte's ethical thought, as well as for those interested in the history of ethics more broadly.
The chapter is devoted to Fichte’s genetic account of agency that comes to the foreground in Part II of the System of Ethics. As the chapter shows, what motivates this second deduction is a concern to avoid what Fichte calls “empty formula philosophy” which fails to explain how willing an object is possible. Fichte sets out to avoid this shortcoming by offering a complex theory of the drives, focusing first on what he calls our “lower capacity of desire.” The chapter argues that the key to understanding this section of the System of Ethics lies in Fichte’s attempt to derive the character of our “natural drive” from how we represent the system of nature as a whole. At the center of this derivation we find Fichte draw upon an organicist model of nature. This organicist model gives Fichte the resources to present an original theory of desire as an activity of “forming and being formed” by natural objects.
My aim in this chapter is to address what looks like a tension in Fichte’s derivation of ethical content for the moral law in his System of Ethics. In the first place, Fichte seeks to derive the content of our duties from our “natural drive [Naturtrieb],” which he defines in terms of our striving for enjoyment. But later in the book we find a second argument that derives the content of our duties from what Fichte calls the conditions of our “I-hood [Ichheit],” namely, our embodiment, intelligence, and sociality. I argue that a careful re-reading of Fichte’s notion of a natural drive is consistent with this second derivation. The key to this reading lies in Fichte’s effort to reframe the natural drive through the category of “reciprocal interaction [Wechselwirkung],” which allows us to view the natural drive as a “formative drive [Bildungstrieb]” that is both active and passive. For Fichte, the formative drive amounts to a striving for self-organization, and this striving, I argue, prefigures what becomes the ethical drive to engage in reciprocal interaction with other members of the rational community.
It is commonly held that Kant ventured to derive morality from freedom in Groundwork III. It is also believed that he reversed this strategy in the second Critique, attempting to derive freedom from morality instead. In this paper, I set out to challenge these familiar assumptions: Kant’s argument in Groundwork III rests on a moral conception of the intelligible world, one that plays a similar role as the ‘fact of reason’ in the second Critique. Accordingly, I argue, there is no reversal in the proof-structure of Kant’s two works.
In this article I offer a critical commentary on Jeanine Grenberg’s claim that, by the time of the second Critique, Kant was committed to the view that we only access the moral law’s validity through the feeling of respect. The issue turns on how we understand Kant’s assertion that our consciousness of the moral law is a ‘fact of reason’. Grenberg argues that all facts must be forced, and anything forced must be felt. I defend an alternative interpretation, according to which the fact of reason refers to the actuality of our moral consciousness.
To examine the relationship between television (TV) viewing and body mass index (BMI) among adolescents in a region of mainland China.
Population-based cross-sectional study, conducted between September and November of 2004, on a sample of enrolled high-school students aged 12–18 years.
One hundred and sixty-eight classes randomly selected from both urban and rural areas and belonging to 15 senior and 41 junior high schools in Nanjing, China, with a regional population of 6·0 million.
In total 6848 students participated; 47·7 % from urban and 52·3 % from rural areas; 49·0 % male and 51·0 % female. The response rate among eligible participants was 89·3 %.
The proportion of overweight was 6·6 % according to the criteria of overweight recommended for Chinese adolescents. Boys than girls (8·9 % vs. 4·4 %) had higher odds of being overweight (odds ratio (OR) 2·12, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1·74, 2·60), while the proportion of overweight was significantly lower among rural students than urban students (4·5 % vs. 8·9 %; OR 0·49, 95 % CI 0·40, 0·60). Those students who watched TV for more than 7 h/week had a 1·5 times greater odds of being overweight relative to their counterparts who watched TV for 7 h/week or less (adjusted OR 1·51, 95 % CI 1·24, 1·82). Furthermore, there was a positive linear relationship between TV viewing time and BMI, even after adjusting for age, gender, residence area, time spent in study, in sleeping and in physical activity, and monthly pocket money.
Viewing TV might increase the likelihood of being overweight for Chinese adolescents in China.
To explore the relationship between family average income (FAI; an index of socio-economic status) and body mass index (BMI; a widely used, inexpensive indicator of weight status) above the healthy weight range in a region of Mainland China.
Population-based cross-sectional study, conducted between October 1999 and March 2000 on a sample of regular local residents aged 35 years or older who were selected by random cluster sampling.
Forty-five administrative villages selected from three urban districts and two rural counties of Nanjing municipality, Mainland China, with a regional population of 5.6 million.
In total, 29 340 subjects participated; 67.7% from urban and 32.3% from rural areas; 49.8% male and 50.2% female. The response rate among eligible participants was 90.1%.
The proportion of participants classified as overweight was 30.5%, while 7.8% were identified as obese. After adjusting for possible confounding variables (age, gender, area of residence, educational level, occupational and leisure-time physical activity, daily vegetable consumption and frequency of red meat intake), urban participants were more likely to be overweight or obese relative to their rural counterparts, more women than men were obese, and participants in the lowest FAI tertile were the least likely to be above the healthy weight range.
The proportion of adults with BMI above the healthy weight range was positively related to having a higher socio-economic status (indexed by FAI) in a regional Chinese population.
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