Faktum der Vernunft oder Faktum der Kultur? Ein Problem für Kants Beweis der Freiheit

Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung (forthcoming)
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This article develops an objection to Kant’s proof of freedom from the Critique of Practical Reason. In his proof — the fact of reason argument — Kant deduces the reality of freedom, understood as the ability to act independently of all inclinations, from our consciousness of the unconditional validity of morality. He calls this consciousness the "fact of reason". After a systematic reconstruction of the argument, I develop an objection that relies on three points: (i) the cultural embeddedness of human beings ("fact of culture"), (ii) an "external" perspective on human deliberative processes, and (iii) an alternative interpretation of the unconditional validity of morality that appears in practical deliberation. Contrary to Kant’s claims, I argue that the reality of freedom cannot be deductively derived from the fact of reason. I then discuss two objections to my argument. The first objection claims that my considerations regarding the "external" perspective misunderstand Kant's methodology. The second objection states that, based on my considerations, the fact of reason ultimately turns out to be an illusion. I discuss both objections and refute them. My ultimate conclusion is that Kant's fact of reason argument is not convincing.

Author's Profile

Stefan Fischer
Universität Konstanz


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