Kant's Theory of Freedom by Henry E. Allison

By Henry E. Allison

In his booklet the eminent Kant pupil Henry Allison offers an cutting edge and complete interpretation of Kant's inspiration of freedom. the writer analyzes the idea that and discusses the position it performs in Kant's ethical philosophy and psychology. He additionally considers in complete aspect the serious literature at the topic from Kant's personal time to the current day.

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The resolutIOn of the first problem IS comphcated by the fact that Kant offers two dlstlllet versIOns of the relattonshlp between emptrtcal and intelligible character, only one of which appears to leave room for the attnbuttOfl of an empmcai character to the causality of reason. 5 Sometimes Kant descnbes the relatIonship m straightforwardly causal terms. On this View, the Intelltgtble character IS the noumenal cause and the emplncal character Its phenomenal effect. 6 In addluon to raisIng the specter of ontologIcally disttnct noumenal causes and all of the problems that this Involves, SInce this view attnbutes such causahty solely to the tntelhglble character, It seems to foreclose the possibilIty of regardmg the empmcal character as Itself an expressIOn or mstantlattOn rather than merely as a product of a causahty of reason.

The key point here is that even in the case of desire-based actions, a rational agent is not regarded as being determined in a quasi-mechanistic fashion by the strongest desire (roughly the Leibniz-Hume model). On the contrary, to the extent to which such actions are taken as genuine expressions of agency and, therefore, as imputable, they are thought to involve an act of spontaneity on the part of the agent, through which the inclination or desire is deemed or taken as an appropriate basis of action.

Moreover, smce time IS the universal condItIOn of pOSSible expenence (all appearances are m time), It also follows that With respect to ItS intelligible character, such an agent "would not ... stand under any conditions of time" (AS39/B567). Given Kant's argument m the analogies, thIS means that we could not speak meamngfully of somethmg happemng In or to thiS agent or of ItS bemg detcrmmed by antecedent conditIOns. In short, WIth thIS conception of an mtelhgtble character we have the formula for the thought of the empirically unconditioned activity of a noumenal subject.

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