Freedom in Simone de Beauvoir’s and Kant’s Philosophies

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 2
Words: 402
Reading time:
2 min

The notion of freedom has been the focus of numerous debates and one of the foundational constructs in most philosophical theories. The importance of freedom and free will as a notion can hardly be denied since its study helps shed light on the problem of freedom as a concept. Particularly, Simone de Beauvoir stresses that freedom should be regarded as the means of relieving humanity from the burden of its past mistakes and negative experiences. Therefore, she interprets freedom as the synonym of liberation. It could be argued that she internalizes Kant’s concept of freedom as the state of being in control of one’s actions. From the existentialist perspective, the proposed interpretation of freedom makes the subject matter extraordinarily important since it defines the extent to which an individual is responsible for their freedom. Thus, the feeling of anxiety, which is intrinsic and nearly central to the very philosophy of existentialism, is relieved to a certain extent. With the identification of boundaries to which the phenomenon of personal responsibility extends, one may locate the limits of one’s freedom and, thus, possibly explore new ideas regarding one’s existence and its purpose.

Kant, in turn, identifies freedom as the ability to take control of one’s actions and hold responsibility for the effects that they have on the rest of the stakeholders. The philosopher dismisses the idea of freedom as merely physical control of one’s actions; instead, he argues that, for one to regain freedom, it is imperative to take the concept of time into account when elaborating on the issue of freedom. By viewing the idea of acting as a conscious choice, he insists that the choice in question has to be defined by the set of values and moral principles in accordance with which one makes a decision. These principles, however, have the propensity to change with time, which affects the perspective from which specific actions can be evaluated. Therefore, the phenomenon of freedom is central to the philosophies of Kant and Simone de Beauvoir. It helps place the idea of free will in a context, therefore, making their arguments all the more persuasive. The introduction of the notion of freedom in the works of Kant and Simone de Beauvoir helps determine the idea of self-consciousness. It leads to the development of a coherent theory explaining how people’s choices can be explained from a moral standpoint.