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Abstract

No issue has more wide-ranging implications for Kant’s practical philosophy than that of how our active rational and receptive sensible capacities of mind relate to one another. How we interpret this relationship fixes our understanding of Kant’s relation to his predecessors; his view of human nature; his account of the will, motivation, and virtue; and his conception of moral faith. I argue that the vast majority of commentators adopt an untenably dualistic reading of the relationship between reason and sensibility that cannot be representative of Kant’s actual view. Instead, I suggest a unified account of these capacities that takes reason and sensibility to stand to one another as form to matter. The result can be described as a cognitivist reading of Kant’s practical philosophy, one which emphasizes that the objective representational content of our reasoning and the subjective motivation felt by the subject must be understood as inseparable from one another. This novel view of practical reasoning has important implications for established interpretive issues that I develop throughout, touching upon debates concerning the concept of respect for the moral law, moral motivation, the possibility of evil, the concept of the highest good, and the role of religion in Kant’s philosophical system.

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