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Chapter 11 - Kant’s Threefold Autonomy after the Groundwork

Reason’s Own Lawgiving as Our Own Cosmopolitan Lawgiving

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2018

Stefano Bacin
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi di Milano
Oliver Sensen
Affiliation:
Tulane University, Louisiana
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Summary

This chapter examines Kant’s conception of autonomy as it progresses after the Groundwork in the three Critiques and the Anthropology lectures. After 1785, Kant goes on to ascribe autonomy to all three higher faculties of the soul: the faculty of understanding, the faculty of judgment, and the faculty of desire. The chapter argues that in all three areas: cognition, aesthetic judgment, as well as morals, Kant uses the same account of autonomy: that one’s own reason is the source of principles. However, this does not lead to egoism, since the lawgiving – in virtue of being a priori – always has a universal and pluralist aspect to it. The chapter also argues that the emphasis on the a priori source in reason does not mean that autonomy is wholly detached from a human beings’ sensibility. This is because in all three areas, cognition, the aesthetic feelings, and the moral feeling of respect, sensibility is shaped by an a priori principle.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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