Freedom on This and the Other Side of Kant – Unabridged – (15 Pages) September 2015 – Updated August 2019

Updated August 2019


Unabridged:  Freedom on This and the Other Side of Kant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Pdf version with footnotes (rather than endnotes) and page numbers:

This paper was presented in its abridged form at the 12. International Kant Congress. The abridged version is published in Natur und Freiheit, Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, hrsg. v. Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing und David Wagner (Berlin/Boston, 2018:  1959-1966 – Proceedings of the 12th International Kant Society Meeting at the University of Vienna, Austria (September 21-25, 2015).

For the abridged version published in the conference proceedings, see the second entry under “Category: Freedom on This and the Other Side of Kant” at



Freedom on This and the Other Side of Kant[1]

Axel Honneth[2] and Charles Taylor[3] represent a tendency to trace the “archaeology” of the notion of freedom either to G.W.F. Hegel’s Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts[4]or to Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty.[5] Without claiming to be an exhaustive investigation of the discussion of freedom since or prior to Immanuel Kant, this paper proposes, however, that the meaning of freedom since Kant has for all intents and purposes overlooked the tradition of autonomous freedom prior to Kant that stems from Pico della Mirandola and influenced Leibniz, Sulzer, and Tetens – all of whom shaped Kant’s understanding of freedom.


In his Vorschule der Ästhetik[6] of 1804, Jean Paul observes that the dictionary is full of dead metaphors.  However, metaphors never die.  Rather, they leave open the possibility of anachronistic distortions of them by subsequent generations.  We are well advised, therefore, to first provide “concept clarifications” before we begin our discussion of freedom on this and the other side of Kant.[7]

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