The dilemma posed by the problem of freedom and determinism can be summarized this way: On the one hand, our recognition of the laws of nature entails that we view the world to be, in an important sense, deterministic. On the other hand, our recognition of moral responsibility entails that we view ourselves to be free. In this paper, I will show that the dilemma can be dissolved if we take Kant’s transcendental idealism seriously. In the process, I will explain what amounts to taking such doctrine seriously and present arguments as to how it can shed light on the issue. By capitalizing on the idea that Kant's transcendental idealism is an epistemic thesis, it is plausible to maintain that the problem of freedom and determinism is really a problem of how to properly view ourselves in the light of what beings like us can know and hope to know given the limitations of reason. If this is the case, then we can relate Kant’s transcendental idealism with the problem of how human beings can reconcile what Searle calls an “interesting tension” between the conceptions that we have about the world and about ourselves in relation to the world.


Kant, transcendental idealism, freedom, determinism, Searle

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By