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Kantian SubjectsCritical Philosophy and Late Modernity$
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Karl Ameriks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198841852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198841852.001.0001

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On the Many Senses of “Self-Determination”

On the Many Senses of “Self-Determination”

Chapter:
(p.14) 2 On the Many Senses of “Self-Determination”
Source:
Kantian Subjects
Author(s):

Karl Ameriks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198841852.003.0002

This chapter begins by noting a number of basic meanings that “determination” has for Kant: causal, epistemic, formal, and normative, in the sense of defining a “vocation” for the individual and humanity as a whole. These distinctions are employed in a reinterpretation of the difficult transition in Kant’s argument connecting Sections II and III of the Groundwork. In this context, a new reading is given of Kant’s “Formula of Autonomy,” one of the basic meanings of his categorical imperative. It is argued that it is primarily the autonomy of the faculty of reason and its appreciation of an absolutely necessary norm that is Kant’s main concern. It is also argued that Kant’s notion of autonomy should not be understood in a loose, anarchic way, nor in such a way that free action against morality, that is, evil, is not clearly possible.

Keywords:   determination, causal, epistemic, formal, normative, Groundwork, autonomy, faculty of reason, absolute necessity, evil

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