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Kant Freedom Of Will

             In Shakespeare's famous play, Hamlet, Polonius utters the ironic phrase, "for brevity is the soul of wit." The irony resides in Polonius" inability to concisely describe Hamlet's madness. While humorous in some settings, irony is disastrous when dealing with complex moral decisions. In the case of Immanuel Kant's writings, several passages are littered with irony and contradictions, which he vehemently despises rhetorically. While Kant is often labeled as a difficult writer because of the language he selects and in part to the imperfect translation from German, Kant is strictly liable for his inability to rectify one particular inconsistency in his theory. This question of whether Kant believes there is free will, is wholly inconsequential to a more complete understanding of the Kantian ethic or moral philosophy in general. However, it is obvious that Kant presumes a free will and falls prey to tautologies and vague definitions to support a more general thesis. It is the intention of this essay to briefly establish that free will can not exist in the Kantian ethic in order to preserve the logical and structural integrity of the theory when dealing with purely moral decisions. While the general profundity of this claim may be minimal, the implications on Kant's deontological approach and specifically upon the Categorical Imperative are evident. In establishing the absence of free will within the Kantian ethic, two approaches are necessary: the definitional prohibition of free will and the philosophical inconsistency of free will. Before delving into the thesis, however, one caveat is necessary. By freedom and hence free will, it is meant to say that an action is uncoerced and is based on one's options. In essence, a free decision is one that an agent makes absent any interference from any other agent and is made when a possibility of a choice exists. The essay also assumes that Kantian philosophy is normative and not descriptive in order to lend clarity to the thesis.

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