‘Pure Reason of Itself Alone Suffices to Determine the Will’

Karl Ameriks

in Interpreting Kant's Critiques

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199247318
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601699 | DOI:
 ‘Pure Reason of Itself Alone Suffices to Determine the Will’

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Provides a more detailed account of how the treatment of the ‘fact of reason’ in the second Critique can be read as an explicit reversal of Kant’s earlier procedure. In now clearly insisting on disallowing any route to a claim of absolute freedom that does not rest on the moral law, Kant reaches a position that puts the least strain on the theme that came to dominate the final version of his first Critique (1787), the claim that we have no privileged theoretical knowledge of the self, not even of its absolute spontaneity. The downside of this result is that Kant also calls freedom the ‘keystone’ of his Critical philosophy, the centre of his effort to help rebuild all philosophy, life, and culture around the notion of autonomy. Without any theoretical argument or uncontroversial practical foundation for this keystone concept, Kant’s insistence on autonomy can appear vulnerable and so it is no surprise that Kant’s system was heavily revised by his immediate successors who were desperate to find new and stronger ways to undergird the autonomy that they were even more enthusiastic about than Kant himself.

Keywords: autonomy; causality; fact of reason; freedom; morality; self

Chapter.  7191 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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