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Kant's Theory of Action$
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Richard McCarty

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567720.001.0001

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Kant's Theory of Action

Richard McCarty

Oxford University Press

The assumption that actions are explained by motive forces implies the doctrine of psychological determinism; and many doubt that Kant accepted that doctrine. This chapter argues that he did, and disputes textual evidence usually cited to prove otherwise, such as the so-called “incorporation thesis”. It argues further that the problem of justification and explanation cannot be solved without the assumption of psychological determinism. The so-called “power of free choice” (Willkür) is neither capable of explaining action, nor is it the way Kant assumed that our actions are explained.

Keywords:   motive force, psychological determinism, incorporation thesis, free choice, Willkür

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