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10 - Kant’s Final Thoughts on Free Will

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2019

Henry E. Allison
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
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Summary

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.

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Kant's Conception of Freedom
A Developmental and Critical Analysis
, pp. 451 - 503
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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