Moral and Nonmoral Freedom in Kant


  • Iain Morrisson

    1. University of Houston
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      Iain Morrisson is a visiting assistant professor in the Honors College at the Univeristy of Houston. His interests include Kant's ethics and theory of action, as well as Nietzsche's critique of morality and politics. Recent publications include “On Kantian Maxims: A Reconciliation of the Incorporation Thesis and Weakness of the Will” (History of Philosophy Quarterly, 2005), and “Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality in the Human, All Too Human Series” (British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 2003).


Many scholars, in view of the close link that he draws between morality and freedom, argue that Kant does not think that there are free choices between nonmoral ends. On this view, Kant only posits a freedom to resist our desires and act morally. We are still responsible for immoral choices because we always have the power to act morally. Henry Allison has opposed this reading by arguing that Kant grounds a notion of nonmoral freedom in the Incorporation Thesis. In this paper, I criticize Allison's argument and then try to replace it with an alternative that grounds nonmoral freedom in morality.