Why not? The reason, Kant says, is ultimately that the causes of thesemovements occur in time. Return to the theft example. A compatibilistwould say that the thief's action is free because its proximate causeis inside him, and because the theft was not an involuntary convulsionbut a voluntary action. The thief decided to commit the theft, and hisaction flowed from this decision. According to Kant, however, if thethief's decision is a natural phenomenon that occurs in time, then itmust be the effect of some cause that occurred in a previous time. Thisis an essential part of Kant's Newtonian worldview and is grounded inthe a priori laws (specifically, the category of cause and effect) inaccordance with which our understanding constructs experience: everyevent has a cause that begins in an earlier time. If that cause too wasan event occurring in time, then it must also have a cause beginning ina still earlier time, etc. All natural events occur in time and arethoroughly determined by causal chains that stretch backwards into thedistant past. So there is no room for freedom in nature, which isdeterministic in a strong sense.


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