Date of Award

8-12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Eric Wilson

Second Advisor

Sebastian Rand

Third Advisor

Christie Hartley

Abstract

Kant famously claims that autonomy is the ground of dignity. If he is correct about the grounding relationship, then doubts about our autonomy entail doubts about our dignity. Here, I attempt to show that Kant is sensitive to this problem, and invokes the ‘fact of reason’ (Faktum der Vernunft) as the key piece of evidence for our autonomy, and therefore our dignity. But as is well known, Kant’s appeal to the Faktum is controversial. After presenting an exegetical case for the connection between dignity and the fact of reason, I respond to two prominent criticisms of Kant’s strategy in the Critique of Practical Reason in attempt to defend Kant’s use of the Faktum, and hence to preserve his conception of the dignity of humanity.

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