Me, My Will, and I: Kant's republican conception of freedom of the will and freedom of the agent

Pauline Kleingeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Kant’s theory of freedom, in particular his claim that natural determinism is compatible with absolute freedom, is widely regarded as puzzling and incoherent. In this paper I argue that what Kant means by ‘freedom’ has been widely misunderstood. Kant uses the definition of freedom found in the republican tradition of political theory, according to which freedom is opposed to dependence, slavery, and related notions – not to determinism or to coercion. Discussing Kant’s accounts of freedom of the will and freedom of the agent in turn, I argue that this insight sheds new light on Kant’s transcendental compatibilism and suggests novel responses to age-old objections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-123
Number of pages21
JournalStudi Kantiani
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Immanuel Kant
  • character
  • freedom
  • maxim
  • moral imputation
  • natural determinism
  • republicanism
  • compatibilism
  • transcendental idealism
  • will

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