Kant nel dibattito filosofico e giuridico danese del primo Ottocento

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Kant in the Danish philosophical and juridical debate of the early nineteenth century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The so-called “Howitz-dispute”, which arose in Copenhagen in the second half of the 1820s, represents the first genuine Danish philosophical debate occurred in Scandinavia in the XIX century. Its name is due to the Danish forensic doctor Frantz Gotthard Howitz (1789-1826), who in 1824 wrote the philosophical-juridical treatise On Madness and Ascribing Responsibility: A Contribution on Psychology and Jurisprudence. The treatise was published as an article in the Journal for Jurisprudence directed by the jurist and future Danish Prime Minister, Anders Sandøe Ørsted (1778-1860), who in 1798 had written a treatise on Kant’s theory of freedom, a book that is nowadays considered the most mature fruit of the Kantianism in Denmark. As a member of the Danish College of Health, Howitz had to evaluate the degree of responsibility of criminals. He accused the Danish law of the time of being based on Kant’s view of morality, so he criticized Kant’s conception of freedom as the ability to determine one’s own actions based on a correct rational understanding of the situation. According to Howitz the human being isn’t free, since every human action is necessarily determined by a motive that weighs more than another motive, and the so-called rationality is nothing but a capacitas motivorum; freedom as capacitas motivorum, Howitz says, should be the freedom juridically considered, a freedom that has nothing to do with morality. He argued against Kant’s view that the moral development essentially depends on the material organization of the brain. When Howitz’s treatise appeared, it immediately evoked the critical reactions of prominent figures such as Anders Sandøe Ørsted himself, the theologian and later bishop Jacob Peter Mynster, the aesthetician Johan Ludvig Heiberg and the professor of philosophy Frederik Christian Sibbern, later mentor of Søren Kierkegaard. The article aims to explore the philosophical basis of the controversy and especially the role of Kant’s moral philosophy in it.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Kant in the Danish philosophical and juridical debate of the early nineteenth century
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalESTUDOS KANTIANOS
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Ascribing responsibility
  • Kant
  • Will
  • arbitrio
  • freedom
  • imputabilità
  • libertà
  • utilitarismo

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