“The Transition from Sensibility to Reason In Regressu”: Indeterminism in Kant's Reflexionen

Kant Studien 92 (1):3-12 (2001)
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According to Roman Ingarden, transcendental idealism prevented Kant from "even undertaking an attempt" at elucidating freedom "in terms of the causal structure of the world." I show that this claim requires qualification. In a remarkable series of Critical-period Reflexionen (5611-4, 5616-9), Kant sketches a defense of the possibility of freedom that differs radically from his published ones by incorporating an indeterministic account of the phenomena. Anticipating Łukasiewicz, he argues that universal causal determination is consistent with an open future: if an action is contingent, there is an infinite regress of determining causes, yet there is a prior time at which this infinite series of causes has not yet commenced. However, he concedes that on this account the unity of experience "cannot fully obtain in the case of free beings." The fact that Kant even contemplated the indeterministic theory may carry implications for interpreting the argument of the Second Analogy.

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Lionel Shapiro
University of Connecticut


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