Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 December 2019
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).