Kant’s Critical Thoughts on Freedom from a Contemporary Perspective: To what extent are these thoughts of practical philosophical significance for us?
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This prizewinning thesis (Award Best Thesis 2008-9, University Utrecht) explores Immanuel Kant's thoughts on 'freedom' in a way that shows a certain bias in a contemporary debate on the issue of freedom and determinism. It shows that the relevant question for philosophers and, more broadly, human beings should not be whether an event can be both causally determined and free. The more important question is whether different human reflective capacities allow for understanding events as both causally determined and free. This shift from the ontological to the epistemic can be sourced in Kantian thought. The main point of this thesis is to modify worries about the compatibility of free and causal determination, into worries about the compatibility of two types of human reflection which necessitate the ideas of free and causal determination: practical and theoretical reflection.