: Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom

Henry E. Allison

in Essays on Kant

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199647033
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741166 | DOI:
: Kant's Practical Justification of Freedom

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  7880 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.