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Empirical and Intelligible Character in the Critique of Pure Reason

  • Henry E. Allison
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 128)

Abstract

Kant’s conception of free agency has been much criticized and little understood. Since one of the basic criticisms is that it is incoherent, this combination is quite understandable. At the heart of the problem lies the connection between free agency and some of the more problematic and mysterious aspects of transcendental idealism. This connection leads to a familiar dilemma from which there seems to be no escape: either freedom is located in some timeless noumenal realm, in which case it is perhaps conceivable but also irrelevant to the understanding of human agency, or, alternatively, the exercise of free agency is thought to make a difference in the spatio-temporal world in which we live and act, in which case it comes into an irreconcilable conflict with the “causality of nature.”1

Keywords

Rational Agent Pure Reason Free Agency Causal Determinism Phenomenal World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Reference

  1. 1.
    Perhaps the most relentless advocate of this standard line of criticism in the recent literature is Jonathan Bennett, Kant’s Dialectic (Cambridge University Press, 1974), pp. 187–227, and “Kant’s Theory of Freedom,” a commentary on an essay by Allen Wood, in Self and Nature in Kant’ s Philosophy, ed. Allen W. Wood (Cornell University Press, 1984 ), pp. 102–2.Google Scholar
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    This denial might seem to contradict Kant’s affirmative claims about empirical psychology in the Critique. Thus, within the context of his introduction to the Paralogisms, Kant characterizes it as “a kind of physiology of inner sense, capable perhaps of explaining the appearances of inner sense” (A347/B405), and, again, in the Architectonic of Pure Reason, after denying that it belongs in metaphysics, he suggests that it will find its home in “a complete anthropology, the pendant to the empirical doctrine of nature” (A849/B877). In reality, however, there is no contradiction because in neither case is it assumed that the “science” is capable of providing anything more than a “natural description.”Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry E. Allison
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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