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Friedrich Carl Forberg, On the Grounds and Laws of Free Actions, Jena and Leipzig, 1795

from IV - Freedom and Skepticism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2022

Edited and translated by
Jörg Noller
Affiliation:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen
John Walsh
Affiliation:
Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
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Summary

In On the Grounds and Laws of Free Actions (1795), F.C. Forberg responds at length to Leonhard Creuzer’s skeptical concerns with Kant’s account of free will. Forberg observes that theoretical reason demands that the activity of free will be conceived of as determined by a sufficient ground in accordance with a law. By contrast, practical reason demands that we presuppose that freedom pertain to both moral and immoral action. Whereas Creuzer is skeptical that these demands can be reconciled, Forberg argues that their compatibility is secured by the Critical philosophy. Forberg maintains that the principle of sufficient reason threatens freedom only if the relation between ground and what is grounded is temporal. However, if the principles which ground actions are intelligible and therefore atemporally related to actions, then the ground itself can be conceived of as within the subject’s control. Moreover, whereas laws of nature command natural powers on the condition of a temporally preceding cause, unconditional laws of intelligible powers are not bound by this condition. Thus, there is no demonstrable contradiction in positing that an intelligible power could be subject to an unconditional law and nevertheless possess freedom to act in conformity with or contrary to that law.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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