An Unfamiliar and Positive Law: On Kant and Schiller

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 95 (3):275-297 (2013)
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A familiar post-Kantian criticism contends that Kant enslaves sensibility under the yoke of practical reason. Friedrich Schiller advanced a version of this criticism to which Kant publicly responded. Recent commentators have emphasized the role that Kant’s reply assigns to the pleasure that accompanies successful moral action. In contrast, I argue that Kant’s reply relies primarily on the sublime feeling that arises when we merely contemplate the moral law. In fact, the pleasures emphasized by other recent commentators depend on this sublime feeling. These facts illuminate Kant’s views regarding the relationship between morality, freedom, and the development of moral feelings.

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Reed Winegar
Fordham University


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