Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 3

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I. Kant’s and E. Husserl’s practical philosophy



This article focuses on the problem of reconciling a priori and empirical dimensions of freedom, will, and action as the crucial point for understanding the relationship between theoretical and practical reason in Kant’s and Husserl’s practical philosophy. Relying on the explanation of the relationship between transcendental and practical freedom given in Kant's practical philosophy, the author problematizes Kant’s thesis about the primacy of practical reason. This is the starting point and leitmotif in analysing the nature of revision of Kant’s ideas, premises, and problems in the first draft of Husserl’s practical philosophy (scientific ethics). Comparative analysis reveals terminological and conceptual similarities and differences between Kant’s and Husserl’s practical philosophies. Another important result is identifying the principles and departure point ideas for both thinkers. These are a shared understanding of the relationship between theoretical and practical reason, the principle of the ‘purity’ of moral motives and compulsoriness of the a priori, the idea of parallelism between logic and ethics, the interaction between will and mind, and the determining role of the categorical imperative. The author stresses that an adequate understanding of the thinkers’ positions requires distinguishing between Kant’s transcendentalist perspective and Husserl’s phenomenological descriptive perspective, between the a priori of pure reason and the material a priori, between good will as a duty and the thetic acts of will, and between the absolute and relative compulsoriness of the categorical imperative. At the same time, the possibility of reconciling the obligatory and a priori greatest good with a concrete, practical situation of choice remains an open question.


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