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Grant number like: FT-229546-15

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Markus Kohl
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN 37916-3801)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015

Kant on Freedom in Theory and Practice

Summer research and writing on Ethics, and History of Philosophy.

My book project examines Immanuel Kant's attempt to defend our freedom against a scientific worldview that sees our behavior as the inevitable result of natural mechanisms. Critics complain that Kant's view is a purely dogmatic reaffirmation of a 'naƮve' practical (i.e., moral) self-image that is conclusively refuted by the natural sciences. However, I show that Kant's doctrine has the potential to curb the pretensions of such an exclusively naturalistic worldview. The key to understanding Kant's view is his argument that we must also presuppose our freedom from the theoretical standpoint of natural science: those who seek a rational, objective understanding of nature must view their beliefs as being free from determination by non-rational mechanisms (such as Hume's associative mental "habits"). Kant argues that since the conviction that we are free is implicit in the standpoint of natural science itself, natural science cannot debunk this conviction as a mere illusion.