XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Self-Determination and the Categories of Freedom in Kant's Moral Philosophy

Seung-Kee Lee

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Rousseau
Data: 23 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 12 aprile 2010


Kant speaks of our capacity to be “self-determining in [our] existence,” but “not in experience but in certain […] laws holding firm a priori” (KrV, B 430). Here the “laws” refer not to the moral law but to the categories of freedom introduced in KpV. The categories of freedom, then, are necessary for self-determination. “Self-determination” is commonly defined as the act of determining oneself by oneself rather than by someone or something else. While Kant sometimes does define the notion in this way, (e.g., GMS AA 04: 427 and KrV, A 534/B 562), the definition is uninformative because it leaves indefinite the meaning of the notion of determination itself. Moreover, it does not make clear why self-determination requires the categories of freedom. I first explain the notion of determination that Kant employs in his theoretical philosophy. I then explain how this notion is utilized also in his practical philosophy, particularly in connection to the act of determining the forms of willing that make morality possible. I conclude by answering the question, Why are the categories of freedom necessary for self-determination?