March 3, 2014
The Metaphysics of Freedom
1. “Awakened” from slumber due to Rousseau and Newton
• Kant looks at the enlightenment as the freeing of man. Freedom means that he has the
ability to determine himself; humanity is based in our free will. We are not victims of
chance or of a mechanical universe. It is not just stimulus response, we can say no to our
desires and our instincts. We have autonomous, selfdetermining will.
2. Copernican “Revolution” in Metaphysics and Morality
3. Transcendental “Idealism” over determinism and empiricism
• The idea is above its material being, it is the difference between a subject and an object.
All general concepts are concepts of the mind, as language is the embodiment of our
4. Freedom – Autonomy and selfdetermination – Moral responsibility
• People have to selfdiscipline; it is a free commitment and obligation to act with moral
responsibility. For example, in the state we are morally responsible to follow the rule of
laws and act properly within a civilized society. In this, we discover a higher moral self.
We are morally and individually responsible if we chose to transgress.
5. Kant as critical philosophy – separation of “is” from “ought”
• We are capable of understanding what is, and we have the power to improve and
transform. We always know which direction to move in (morality and freedom), we
know that moral obligation and duty is more important than self