What else then can freedom of the will be but autonomy, that is, the property of the will to be a law to itself?
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
So that in a nutshell is autonomy and freedom of the will for Kant.
But the problem is: there's just one way how any correct moral law must turn out - exactly as conceived by Kant, and this in all its details!
Kant had elaborate opinions about many moral issues, like:
- lying in various circumstances
- killing in war
- wasting our talents
- abandoning children born out of wedlock
Except, of course, that he didn't regard them as his mere opinions and instead as unshakable, ironclad deductions from the categorical imperative.
Every rational being supposedly assents to the categorical imperative and, rationally, also comes to the same conclusion as Kant in all these matters. There's no leeway.
Also, if we don't follow the moral law, Kant doesn't regard this as "free will badly applied". Ironically, the will is unfree then, since our emotions, good or bad, are unfree per se, and they just overpowered our reason:
Now, humanity can be located either in the capacity and the will to share in others’ feelings (humanitas practica) or merely in the receptivity, given by nature itself, to the feelings of joy and sadness in common with others (humanitas aesthetica). The first is free, and is therefore called sympathetic (communio sentiendi liberalis); it is based on practical reason. The second is unfree (communio sentiendi illiberalis, servilis); it can be called communicable (since it is like receptivity to warmth or contagious diseases), and also compassion, since it spreads naturally among human beings living near one another. There is obligation only to the first.
Metaphysics of Morals
Since any deviation from the "Kant-program"(.exe) is irrational and therefore unfree, I just wonder where Kant got his aversion to physical determination.
As long the "Kant-program" flawlessly executed means total freedom realized, one wonders what difference it makes.
OK, let's grant that there's an important philosophical difference between the rational insight that 5 + 7 = 12 and doing the same calculation on a computer.
But why should we call the former autonomous, the latter heteronomous?
Why would we even want freedom in the Kantian sense?
What real freedom is left in his philosophy? I don't see it in the autonomy (the law-giving) and neither in the decision-making.