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Essays on Kant$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199647033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647033.001.0001

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: Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom

: Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom

(p.110) Essay Seven: Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom
Essays on Kant

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

After providing a brief account of what Kant understands by a practical justification and the various types of it found in his writings, the essay examines the ways in which Kant attempts to provide a practical justification of freedom in various texts, chiefly the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason. Its main focus is on the tension between Kant's attempt in the former work to ground the necessity of presupposing freedom in our conception of ourselves as rational agents, independently of any specifically moral considerations, and his view in the latter that, “[H]ad not the moral law already been distinctly thought in our reason, we should never consider ourselves justified in assuming such a thing as freedom” (KpV 5: 4n). The tension is resolved by linking the former with freedom as spontaneity and the latter with freedom as autonomy.

Keywords:   autonomy, Critique of Practical Reason, freedom, Groundwork, practical justification, moral law, rational agent, reason, spontaneity

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