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Freedom and the Fact of Reason

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2019

Richard Galvin*
Affiliation:
Texas Christian University

Abstract

The focus of my argument is whether, and in what sense, freedom is ‘revealed’ by the fact of reason in Kant’s second Critique. I examine the passages in which Kant refers to the fact of reason and conclude that he uses the term to refer to our taking morality as authoritative, and to our apprehending the content of the moral law. I then point out how various commentators have claimed each to be the fact of reason. Next I address how each is claimed by Kant to reveal ‘freedom’ to us and argue that our taking morality as authoritative is best understood as referring to our conception of ourselves as autonomous beings, and that our apprehending the moral law’s content reveals only the idea of freedom as a coherent one. Neither would demonstrate that we actually are autonomous, nor would their conjunction, despite what some commentators have claimed. In closing I defend the deflationary position that the fact of reason entitles us to postulate our freedom, but only from the practical point of view, and that it demonstrates that freedom is a coherent idea.

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Articles
Copyright
© Kantian Review 2019 

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