Freedom as a Kind of Causality

In Violetta L. Waibel & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Kant’s view that freedom is a “kind of causality” seems to conflict with his claim that the categories of the understanding – including causality – can only be applied objectively to sensible phaenomena, never to supersensible noumena, as freedom is only possible for the latter. I argue that only Kant’s theory of symbolic presentation, according to which the category of cause is applied merely analogically to freedom, can dispel this threatening inconsistency. Unlike it is commonly thought, one cannot here use the category of cause in its unschematised form to think freedom as causality, for its mere logical significance does not suffice for the practical reality of freedom. Symbolic cognition in turn is not unschematised but indirect schematized presentation. Ultimately I will show that symbolic cognition is a necessary condition of moral agency – but not of morality itself – for without it we could not cognize and hence self-consciously use our freedom to act from the moral law.
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