Kant & Fate

Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 18 (1):401-421 (2022)
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Abstract

Immanuel Kant mentions fate (Schicksal) in several places. Peter Thielke offers the only sustained interpretation of what Kant meant by fate. According to Thielke, fate is a “usurpatory concept” that takes the place of causality but fails to do its job. There are problems with this interpretation, relative to Kant’s philosophy and to the ordinary concept of fate. It is not clear why we only find a usurpation of causality and not the other concepts of the categories, or how a usurpation of an a priori concept could occur. Thielke’s interpretation does not explain the way in which fate attributions are only made about events that have significance for human action or well-being, or fate’s teleological aspect. I outline the textual evidence that, for Kant, fate usurps providence, a postulate of practical reason, and then show how this interpretation preserves the strengths but avoids the weaknesses of its competitor.

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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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References found in this work

Why Does Kant Think We Must Believe in the Immortal Soul?Jessica Tizzard - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):114-129.
Leibniz’s Harmony between the Kingdoms of Nature and Grace.Lloyd Strickland - 2016 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 98 (3):302-329.
Fate and the fortune of the categories: Kant on the usurpation and schematization of concepts.Peter Thielke - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):438 – 468.

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