Moral Autonomy as Political Analogy: Self-Legislation in Kant's 'Groundwork' and the 'Feyerabend Lectures on Natural Law'

In Stefano Bacin & Oliver Sensen (eds.), The Emergence of Autonomy in Kant's Moral Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 158-175 (2019)
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'Autonomy' is originally a political notion. In this chapter, I argue that the political theory Kant defended while he was writing the _Groundwork_ sheds light on the difficulties that are commonly associated with his account of moral autonomy. I argue that Kant's account of the two-tiered structure of political legislation, in his _Feyerabend Lectures on Natural Law_, parallels his distinction between two levels of moral legislation, and that this helps to explain why Kant could regard the notion of 'autonomy' as apt to express the principle of morality---at least in the mid 1780s.

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Pauline Kleingeld
University of Groningen


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