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Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of MoralsA Commentary$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691531.001.0001

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

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

(p.301) 11 The Presupposition of Freedom, the Circle, and the Two Standpoints
Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

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

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