The Presupposition of Freedom, the Circle, and the Two Standpoints

Henry E. Allison

in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199691531
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731808 | DOI:
The Presupposition of Freedom, the Circle, and the Two Standpoints

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This chapter deals with three topics: (1) Kant’s provisional argument for the right to presuppose freedom from the practical point of view; (2) his account of how this appears to lead to a circle; (3) Kant’s avoidance of this circle by distinguishing between two standpoints from which the self can consider itself: as an object of experience, in virtue of which it is a part of the sensible world, and as a free and morally responsible agent, who, so considered, is a member of an intelligible world. After showing that Kant’s argument is not circular but rather begs a question regarding the presupposition of freedom, it is argued that the distinction between the two standpoints both justifies this presupposition and, by the reciprocity thesis, provides a deduction of the moral law.

Keywords: begging the question; circular argument; intelligible world; practical point of view; presupposition of freedom; sensible world; two standpoints

Chapter.  17799 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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