Ameriks, K. (2000): Independence

Ameriks’ theses:

I will argue that Kant’s views on a second ‘Idea of reason’, namely our independence or ‘transcendental freedom’, betray very strong and important rationalist sympathies well into the 1780s. (189)

…even after the Critique’s publication there are very strong signs of sympathy for working out a theoretical proof of freedom, and that only shortly thereafter is there a clear break away from the idea of such a proof. (191)

I will argue that once [the attempt to provide an argument for knowledge of freedom] was worked out as far as it could be, it suffered shipwreck, for it conflicted with the critical strains that were being developed simultaneously in Kant’s theory of mind and self-knowledge (e.g., in the efforts to meet criticisms and to complete his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786) with an account of psychology). As a result, in the second Critique (1788) Kant had to recast his treatment of freedom radically so as to be in line with the more severe limits on self-knowledge that he had come to stress in the second edition revisions of the first Critique (1787) (191)

I will argue that Kant truly does change his position just as he appears to at first sight, and that the key to this change is the elimination of some of the persistent rationalist sympathies that can be found underlying even part of the Paralogisms. I will also argue that this change still does not bring Kant to a fully acceptable critical position, although I will attempt to vindicate Kant somewhat by showing that his views undergo what is at least an understandable development, and that often the weaknesses of these views are best appreciated on the basis of considerations suggested by Kant himself. (192)

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