Kant on epistemic autonomy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The aim of this paper is to defend the claim that epistemic autonomy plays a central role in Kant's account of epistemic normativity. Just as the formula of autonomy ought to regulate the activity of the will, I argue that our epistemic activity, and in particular that of believing (‘holding to be true’, Fürwahrhalten), is subject to an epistemic version of this formula. To support this claim, I show that while believing and willing are different kinds of activities, they are subject to the same normative demands. Thus, contrary to what is often assumed, the demand for autonomy applies to cognitive as well as moral agency. However, there are many reasons to be suspicious of the application of Kant’s notion of autonomy to the cognitive realm, so the final section focuses on three objections that question its soundness. I conclude that the analogy between epistemic and moral autonomy turns out to be a lot more robust than one may have thought
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Court of Reason
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings for the 13th International Kant Congress
EditorsBeatrix Himmelmann, Camilla Serck-Hanssen
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter
ISBN (Electronic)9783110701449, 9783110700701
ISBN (Print)9783110701357
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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