Moral Obligation, Autonomy and Esteem. Kantian Conception of ”libertas indifferentiae” between Wolff and Crusius

Heiner F. Klemme

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/szhf.2011.005

Abstract


The main question of the article is as follows: did Kant’s conception of the choice between what is morally good and what is morally wrong appears as early as in 1785 (that is in his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals)? The answer is affirmative. The comparison with the conceptions of Crusius and Wolff is crucial for the explanation of the complexity of Kant’s position concerning libertas indifferentiae. If our conduct is reasonable or has a rational purpose, we can always act aiming at certain perspectives. When we act morally, we correct our conduct according to the directions of the moral law, whereas while acting immorally we cannot correct our conduct by appealing to the direction pointed out by our pure practical reason, but though we cannot act reasonably, nevertheless we act rationally and purposefully. Kantian rule of the alternative possibility of human behavior postulates that we possess two kinds of justification of our conduct, which refer to two different superior aims of our volition and acting. Thus our esteem for the moral law does not prevent us from opposing a duty.


Keywords


Immanuel Kant; libertas indifferentiae; moral law; choice; obligation

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References


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