Kantian Journal

2014 Issue №4(50)

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Moral inscrutability and self-constitution in Kant (translated from the English by V. Belonogova and D. Khizanishvili, edited by V. Chaly)



This article analyses the system of inferences used by Kant in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason to demonstrate the existence of evil disposition (Gesinnung). The author be¬lieves that, in this work, Kant introduces two innovations in respect of the fundamental project presented in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. He emphasises that freedom is not justified and postulates a transcendental structure similar to the unity of transcendental apperception in order to unify all volitions of an agent and make the initial application of freedom possible. The first innovation gives rise to a number of questions as to the justification of maxims, whereas the second leads to the theory of moral self-constitution, which was not completed within Kant’s practical philosophy. Together, they create a voluntaristic image of Kant, which undermines the philosopher’s earlier comparison of freedom with morality (the so called “reciprocity thesis”) — a fact often ignored in secondary sources.