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Embodied Human Freedom

This research is a part of a larger project: a book on a philosophical account of human freedom, drawing strongly on the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The first part of the book will cover the metaphysics of free will: how to reconcile the way we think about causation in science, in particular in causal laws, with our having the kind of freedom that is required to be morally responsible, where the latter involves being able to make choices that are not causally determined. The second part of the book will give a theoretical account of what it is to act autonomously, and the way this relates to our understanding of ourselves as being liable to moral responsibility. Part III of the book is the part of the project I plan to work on at STIAS. This will be on the moral psychology of human freedom. My interest in this part of the book is in developing a philosophical understanding of situated and embodied human agency through a focus on ways in which it goes wrong. One part of this will involve developing Kant’s account of political freedom (justice as freedom). This research will then explore how our autonomous moral agency is affected by living under unjust (unfree) conditions. My hypothesis is that living under injustice does systematic damage to our capacity to be whole, unified persons and that it predicts moralized selfdeception and widespread delusional ideology. This is the most interdisciplinary part of my overall project as it will involve drawing on work in psychology (in looking at the human need to make sense of ourselves and the human need to see ourselves as good) and psychiatry (in looking at personality disorder), as well as political theory.


Fellows involved in this project

South Africa / USA

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Related publications

Book/Book Chapter

Allais, Lucy. 2022. Forgiveness and Meaning in Life. In I. Landau (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life (pp. 292-C18.P75). Oxford University Press.

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].