Categories of freedom as categories of practical cognition

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Kant famously claims that the table of the categories of freedom does not require explanation, 'since it is intelligible enough of itself' (Critique of Practical Reason 5: 67). Kant interpreters have been baffled by this claim, and the disagreement among the increasing number of studies in more recent years suggests that the table is not as straightforward as Kant took it to be. In this article I want to show that a coherent interpretation of the table depends essentially on a clarification of what have been taken to be three fundamental ambiguities in Kant's presentation of the table. This assumption about ambiguities in Kant's text is, I argue, rooted in a hybrid conception of practical rationality assumed by his interpreters. I believe the task of disambiguating the table in all three cases can be completed. But it will require spelling out Kant's moral cognitivism in such a way that he emerges as holding what I will call a unitary account of practical rationality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-234
Number of pages24
JournalKantian Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 30 2015


  • categories of freedom
  • Kant
  • practical cognition
  • practical reason

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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