”The fact of reason”: the axiomatic model in Kant’s moral philosophy”

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Abstract

In the epicenter of his attempt to justify the “objective validity” of morality and freedom in the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant introduces a so-called fact of reason, which is rendered as the fact that human beings are conscious of the moral ought’s categorical authority. However, few parts of Kant’s thinking have bemused commentators as much as this. In this article, the author explores a set of intersecting problems related to the fact of reason: (1) the problem of its general argumentative role in Kant’s practical philosophy, (2) the problem of the fact as a brute fact. He argues that both problems can be understood and resolved only if we regard Kant’s introduction of the fact of reason as an implicit attempt to articulate intrinsic problems with reductive explanations of morality. His main claim, which has been surprisingly absent in most interpretations of Kant’s fact of reason, will be that the fact of reason functions as an undeniable yet improvable fact (similar to mathematical principles) from which other practical truths (such as the objective reality of freedom) can be derived. As Kant says unambiguously in the Jäsche-Logic: the “reality” of the moral law “is an axiom.”
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftThe Review of Metaphysics
Vol/bind77
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)87-112
ISSN0034-6632
DOI
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2023
Udgivet eksterntJa

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