Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-swqlm Total loading time: 0.371 Render date: 2021-11-29T18:38:15.196Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - Two conceptions of compatibilism in the Critical Elucidation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2010

Andrews Reath
Affiliation:
University of California, Riverside
Jens Timmermann
Affiliation:
University of St Andrews, Scotland
Get access

Summary

The ‘Critical Elucidation of the Analytic of Pure Practical Reason’ develops two distinctive conceptions of how freedom of choice and causal determinism may be reconciled. These two conceptions of freedom of choice correspond to a distinction between what Kant calls ‘psychological’ and what he calls ‘transcendental freedom’. A person's choices are ‘psychologically free’ when those choices are determined by the psychological states of the agent rather than by external causes. Psychological freedom in this sense is compatible with causal determinism in the sense traditionally associated with the metaphysical doctrine of compatibilism. While such psychological freedom is involved in our choices, Kant argues that it is not strong enough to support the conception of choice required by the demands of moral responsibility.

Kant endeavours to show that theoretical attempts to explain how the kind of free agency presupposed by moral responsibility can be accommodated in psychological or broadly natural terms are illusory and must fail. His reasons, however, go deeper still. Kant thinks that no comprehensive explanation is forthcoming at all of how such free agency is possible. This leads him to a two-standpoint conception of human agency. When we regard our actions from the vantage point of moral responsibility, we regard them from a different standpoint from that which we occupy when we are explaining them in terms of antecedent causes. This may be regarded as a form of compatibilism, for it aims to show that free will and the thesis of causal determinism are mutually compatible.

Type
Chapter
Information
Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason'
A Critical Guide
, pp. 119 - 144
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×