Nov 25, 2012

THE IMPORTANCE OF FREEDOM FOR KANT


THE IMPORTANCE OF FREEDOM FOR KANT
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By Marsigit, Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia
Email: marsigitina@yahoo.com
Bowman, C., 2001, stated that Kant's ambition is to formulate the project of Enlightenment, that is to develop a metaphysics and ethics of autonomy on human nature and freedom. Kant  stated that inclination is opposed to freedom and we act freely when we impose limitations on our inclinations ourselves. And such self-imposed restraint is what it is to be autonomous. Bowman specified that Kant's transcendental idealism, the doctrinal core of the first Critique in particular and the Critical philosophy in general, is doing many things at once, but for our purposes the most important is its efforts to demonstrate the reality of transcendental freedom that is the absence of natural necessity in the origins of human action. Kant  employs the distinction between appearances and things in themselves and argued for in the Transcendental Aesthetic and Analytic of the first Critique to establish the possibility of transcendental freedom. Bowman also marked that in the third antinomy Kant opposed the claims of natural necessity and freedom and reaches an impasse until Kant appeals to the doctrine of transcendental idealism. Bowman described that Kant’s claim may be true that is natural necessity in the world of appearances and freedom in the noumenal world.

Bowman, C., 2001, insisted that, according to Kant,  the Transcendental Analytic of the second Critique proves the reality of transcendental freedom because moral imputability makes sense only if we are free; therefore, Kant claims to have shown how ranscendental freedom is not only possible but also actual. Bowman indicated that the doctrine of transcendental freedom is not intended to establish the existence of autonomy, the ability to be a law to one-self, but it is intended to make autonomy possible; he pointed out that the conception of freedom was not always advocated by Kant and in his early ethical writings Kant was a moral sense theorist in which Kant denied that morality is based on abstract principles. Bowman indicated that, in his Akademie, Kant begins to associate morality with freedom under laws, in which Kant speaks for the first time of a categorical imperative as the source of morality because it imposes laws on our freedom. According to Kant the proper use of freedom is the supreme rule. Bowman marked Kant statement that he who subjects his person to his inclinations, acts contrary to the essential end of humanity; for as a free being he must not be subjected to inclinations, but ought to determine them in the exercise of his freedom; and being a free agent he must have a rule, which is the essential end of humanity.

Meanwhile, Ziniewicz, G.L., 2004, insisted that the question of freedom is one of the most vital of those issues which motivates metaphysics. As apperances, all events are limited by other events as their causes. According to him, the antithesis argument is correct when applied to appearances: a discontinuity there is not allowed. He noted that  considered as things in themselves, what appears as subject to causal laws may be an uncaused cause; the principles of the understanding do not extend to things in themselves, so there is room for what Kant called "transcendental freedom." Kant believed that there is a causality different from physical causality; human agents act according to reasons and the same human action which as appearance is subject to physical causality may at the same time be the product of a rational will, which is a thing in itself and therefore not subject to any other causality. Ziniewicz noted that, in this way, Kant thought he had shown how ethics, which depends on transcendental freedom, is possible.

Kant, 1790, explained that our entire faculty of cognition has two realms, that of natural concepts and that of the concept of freedom, for through both it prescribes laws a priori; the function of prescribing laws by means of concepts of nature is discharged by understanding and is theoretical and  that of prescribing laws by means of the concept of freedom is discharged by reason and is merely practical. Kant  noted that  the concept of freedom just as little disturbs the legislation of nature, as the concept of nature influences legislation through the concept of freedom. According to Kant,  the explanation lies in the fact that the concept of nature represents its objects in intuition doubtless, whereas the concept of freedom represents in its object what is no doubt a thing-in-itself. Kant  defined that the concept of freedom is meant to actualize in the sensible world the end proposed by its laws; and nature must consequently also be capable of being regarded in such a way that in the conformity to law of its form it at least harmonizes with the possibility of the ends to be effectuated in it according to the laws of freedom; accordingly, there must, therefore, be a ground of the unity of the supersensible that lies at the basis of nature, with what the concept of freedom contains in a practical way, and although the concept of this ground neither theoretically nor practically attains to a knowledge of it.

Kant, 1787, in the Antinomy of Pure Reason of the Critique of Pure Reason, claimed that explanation of the cosmological idea of freedom has its connection with universal natural necessity. He delivered the question whether is it possible to regard one and the same event as being in one aspect merely an effect of nature and in another aspect an effect due to freedom; or is there between these two kinds of causality a direct contradiction? Kant argued that all events are empirically determined in an order of nature, and only in virtue of this law can appearances constitute a nature and become objects of experience. According to him, man is, on the one hand phenomenon, and on the other hand, in respect of the faculties of understanding and reason, the action of which cannot be ascribed to receptivity of sensibility, a purely intelligible object. Kant  maintained that our reason has causality, or that we at least represent it to ourselves as having causality, is evident from the imperatives through which we impose rules upon our active powers in all manners of conduct; the “Ought' expresses a kind of necessity and connection with grounds which are found nowhere else in the whole of nature and expresses a possible action, the ground of which is a mere concept in which the action to which 'ought' applies must be possible under natural conditions.

Kant, 1787, stated that reason does not here follow the order of things as they present themselves in appearance, but frames for itself with perfect spontaneity an order of its own according to ideas, to which it adapts the empirical conditions; reason also presupposes that it can have causality in regard to these actions. According to Kant,  reason must exhibit an empirical character in which the will of every man has an empirical character; and thus all the actions of men in the field of appearance are determined in conformity with the order of nature and so far as regards this empirical character there is no freedom. Kant  claimed that when we consider actions in their relation to reason in so far as it is itself the cause of producing them we sometime find or at least we believe that the ideas of reason have in actual fact proved their causality in respect of the actions of men, as appearances. However, Kant  said that the action, in so far as it can be ascribed to a mode of thought as its cause, does not follow there from in accordance with empirical laws. For Kant,  pure reason as a purely intelligible faculty, is not subject to the form of time; however, the causality of reason in its intelligible character does not, in producing an effect, arise or begin to be at a certain time and then  if reason can have causality in respect of appearances, it is a faculty through which the sensible condition of an empirical series of effects first begins and the same cause, in another relation, belongs to the series of appearances.

Kant, 1787, claimed that reason can be said to act freely; it has no before or after and it has the power of originating a series of events as well as that its effect has a beginning in the series of appearances but never in this series an absolutely first beginning; in reason itself nothing begins. Kant  argued that reason is present in all actions of men at all times and under all circumstances, and is always the same; but it is not itself in time and does not fall into any new state in which it was not before and in respect to new states it is determining not determinable. Kant  concluded that in our judgments in regard to the causality of free actions, we can get as far as the intelligible cause, but not beyond it; we have not attempted to establish the reality of freedom, therefore we have not even attempted to prove the possibility of freedom. For Kant,  freedom is here being treated only as a transcendental idea whereby reason is led to think it can begin a series of conditions in the field of appearance by means of the sensibly unconditioned; therefore, all we have been able to show is that the antinomy rests on sheer illusion. Kant ultimately summed up that causality through freedom is at least not incompatible with nature.

Kant, 1790, claimed that reason prescribes laws a priori for freedom and its peculiar causality as the supersensible in the subject, so that we may have a purely practical knowledge. According to Kant,  the realm of the concept of nature under the one legislation, and that of the concept of freedom under the other, are completely cut off from all reciprocal influence that they might severally exert upon the other, by the broad gulf that divides the supersensible from phenomena. Kant  concluded that the concept of freedom determines nothing in respect of the theoretical cognition of nature; and the concept of nature likewise nothing in respect of the practical laws of freedom; so much indeed is implied in the concept of a causality by freedom, the operation of which, in conformity with the formal laws of freedom, is to take effect in the word. Kant  summed up that the effect in accordance with the concept of freedom is the final end which is to exist, and this presupposes the condition of the possibility of that end in nature. Kant  stated that it is so presupposed a priori, and without regard to the practical, by judgment; accordingly, this faculty, with its concept of a finality of nature, provides us with the mediating concept between concepts of nature and the concept of freedom that is a concept that makes possible the transition from the pure theoretical to the pure practical  and from conformity to law in accordance with the former to final ends according to the
latter.

Kant, 1790, further stated that for through that concept we cognize the possibility of the final end that can only be actualized in nature and in harmony with its laws, one of the various supposed contradictions in this complete distinction of the causality of nature from that through freedom is expressed in the objection that when we speak of hindrances opposed by nature to causality according to laws of freedom or of assistance lent to it by nature. Kant  claimed that the resistance or furtherance is not between nature and freedom, but between the former as phenomenon and the effects of the latter as phenomena in the world of sense; and even the causality of freedom is the causality of a natural cause subordinated to freedom, and one, the ground of whose determination is contained in the intelligible, that is thought under freedom, in a manner that is not further or otherwise explicable. Further, Kant  claimed that the freedom of the imagination is represented as in accord with the understanding's conformity to law; taste makes the transition from the charm of sense to habitual moral interest possible without too violent a leap even in its freedom, as amenable to a final determination for understanding, and teaches us to find, even in sensuous objects, a free delight apart from any charm of sense.

Note:
  Bowman, C., 2001,  Kant and the Project of Enlightenment, University of Pennsylvania’ Department of Philosophy
  Ibid.
  Kant, I., 1790, The Critic of Judgment, translated by James Creed Meredith
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Kant, I., 1787, Critic of Pure Reason: The Elements Of Transcendentalism
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Kant, I., 1790, The Critic of Judgment, translated by James Creed Meredith
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid.
  Ibid
  Ibid.

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