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FROM HUME TO KANT

HUME links free will to habituality and unimpeded action. His idea of freedom presupposes four
conditions:
1) My actions are not detached from my motives.
2) I am responsible for what I do.
3) My motives are related to my actions through patterns of habitual behavior, and
4) No external forces prevent me from following my choices
In Hume’s case, all we need is an analogy between two sorts of relationships: cause vs. effect,
and motive vs. action. This analogy gives us a somewhat relaxed version of determinism, and,
given that we established this habitual connection between motives and actions, we can admit
freedom in a simplified, relaxed, surface way.
If all four conditions are fulfilled, I am a free agent.
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KANT links free will to morality and derives it from reason.
CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON

Two kinds of causality:


1. The causality of Nature
“The causality according to nature is the connection, in the world of sense, of one state
with a previous state upon which the state follows according to a rule. Now the
causality of appearances rests on conditions of time; and the previous state, if it had
always been there, would not have produced an effect that first arises in time.
Therefore, the causality of the cause of what occurs or comes about has likewise
come about, and—according to the principle of understanding—itself requires a
cause in turn.”
Immanuel Kant
(1724 – 1804) Clarification:
In the Newtonian world every event is determined by a certain cause. But this cause is
itself an event in time that needs another cause to exist. This causal chain is so tight
in terms of determination that no freedom can lure in.
CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
2. The causality of Freedom

“By freedom, on the other hand, in the cosmological sense of the term, I mean
the power to begin a state on one’s own. […] Thus the causality of
freedom is not in turn subject, according to the law of nature, to another
cause that determines it as regards time.”

Important: If the idea of freedom is not a part of some natural causal chain, it
borrows nothing from experience. The cause of some of our actions and
decisions are somehow in us. Our human capacity to cause events Kant
Immanuel Kant calls Reason.
(1724 – 1804)
The most important characteristics of reason is that while nature is
deterministic, reason is spontaneous.
If the idea of freedom is not a part of some natural causal chain, it borrows
nothing from experience. From this, it follows that “freedom in the practical
meaning of the term is the independence of our power of choice from
coercion by impulses of sensibility.”

“Now this ‘ought’ expresses a possible action whose basis is nothing but a
mere concept, whereas the basis of a mere action of nature must always be an
appearance. Now the [concept-based] action must indeed be possible under
natural conditions.”
“That something in nature ought to be other than what in fact it is in all
these time relations—this is impossible; indeed, the [term] ought, if we
have in mind merely the course of nature, has no meaning whatsoever
We cannot ask at all what ought to happen in nature, any more than
what properties a circle ought to have, but can ask only what
happens in nature, or what properties the circle has.”
THREE THESES:
1) Phenomenal events are caused;
2) Freedom is not phenomenal and, therefore, it is outside of natural causal chains.
3) Although freedom does not belong in the world of phenomena, its existence is compatible
with this world.
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Example: I lied. In this case, there’s a set of causes that lead to some natural facts (bad
upbringing, evil company, etc.). But people blame me. Why?
Because “this blame is based on a law of reason; and reason is regarded in this blaming as a
cause that, regardless of all the mentioned empirical conditions, could and ought to have
determined the person’s conduct differently.”

Why ought I not to lie? The answer is not to be found in how things are, in nature.
It is at least possible that empirical causality is itself an effect of another, intelligible causality. It
is also quite possible that what is caused by freedom can coexist with what is caused by nature.
Willing/desiring vs ought
 
“No matter how many natural bases—how many sensible
stimuli—impel me to will, they yet cannot produce the
ought: they can produce only a willing that is far from necessary
but is always conditioned, whereas the ought pronounced by
reason opposes this conditioned willing with standard and
goal—indeed, with prohibition and authority.”
“Practical freedom could also be defined as independence of the will
from anything else except solely the moral law.”

But the moral law expresses necessity. How is it different from


causal necessity? How can be free something that involves
necessity?

CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON

“We […] call the motion of a clock a free motion, because the clock
itself moves its hand, which therefore does not need to he pushed
externally. In the same way, a human being’s actions, although they
are necessary through their determining bases that precede in
time, are nonetheless called by us free, because we are still dealing
with internal presentations produced by our own powers.”
PSYCHOLOGICAL FREEDOM VS. TRANSCENDENTAL FREEDOM

Psychological freedom –
amounts to the internal representations of the soul. It is expressed in desires and feelings.

Transcendental freedom –
amounts to moral duty. It is expressed in terms of moral imperatives.
SELF-EXCULPATION AND REPENTANCE

“Let a human being use what art he wants in order to paint to himself a
remembered unlawful behavior as a unintentional oversight—as a mere
carelessness, which one can never avoid entirely, and thus as something in
which he was carried away by the stream of natural necessity—and to
declare himself innocent of it; he nonetheless finds that the
lawyer who speaks in his favor can in no way silence the
prosecutor in him, if only he is conscious that at the time when
he committed the wrong he was in his sense, i.e., had the use of
his freedom.”

CONSCIENCE
Golden moral rule (the rule that prescribes to treat others as ends rather than as
means):
“Treat others as you would wish to be treated', or 'Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you.”
Categorical imperative (an unconditional moral obligation that is binding in all
circumstances and is not dependent on a person's inclination or purpose):
"Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time
will that it become a universal law."