Freedom, Frailty, and Impurity


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8 Citations (Scopus)


Part I raises some questions concerning the extent of our freedom on the view that Allison's "Kant's Theory of Freedom" attributes to Kant, and the possibility, on that view, of weakness of will. Allison is correct to attribute to Kant the Incorporation Thesis': one is never compelled to do "x" just because one has a desire to do "x"; a desire moves one to action only if one allows it to. But there is a puzzle: how, given the Incorporation Thesis, is weakness of will, or frailty', possible? Part II considers Kant's claim in "The Doctrine of Virtue" that we have an indirect duty to cultivate our sympathetic feelings. Allison's interpretation is unsatisfactory because it fails to steer clear of the problem that the interpretation foists on Kant an endorsement of impurity, i.e., the seeking out of nonmoral reasons to induce one to do one's duty. To seek out such reasons is to cultivate an impure will, something Kant warns against.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalInquiry - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993


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