October 30, 2019

Milica Smajević Deduction of morality and freedom in Kant’s ethics

Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, 4th floor at 12h

In the third section of the Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant attempts to, on the basis of the idea of the necessary presumption of freedom, deduce the supreme moral principle and prove its objective validity. Three years later, in the Critique of Practical Reason, he explicitly denies the possibility of such a deduction, and by changing methodological settings, tries to show that awareness of the moral law as a fact of reason is the basis for the deduction of freedom. In the presentation I will argue that this direct contrast between Kant’s two texts clearly shows that there has been a major shift in his thought. An interpretation according to which there is a great reversal in Kant’s practical philosophy has only recently emerged in contemporary literature, and is represented by some of Kant’s most influential interpreters such as Henry Allison and Allen Wood.

The purpose of this presentation is to show that Kant had reasons to be dissatisfied with the deduction of the moral law offered in the Foundations, which led him to change his argumentative course when writing the Second Critique.

Milica Smajevic is a research associate at the Institute of Philosophy and a doctoral student at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade. She is a graduate teaching assistant at the same department since 2014 in the following courses: Philosophy of Culture, Hume’s Philosophy and Kant’s Philosophy. With the help of the Erasmus Scholarship, she spent the spring semester of 2019 studying in Paris at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is currently writing a PhD thesis on Kant’s conception of freedom.

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