Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 1, Fall 2009

William S. Wilkerson
Pages 113-129

In the World but Not Of the World
The Relation of Freedom to Time in Kant and Sartre

Kant’s and Sartre’s theories of freedom are both famous and controversial. Kant requires the subject to be both in time and not in time in order to be fully free, while Sartre seemingly requires that the subject continually reinvent itself each moment. I argue that these peculiarities stem from the similar way each thinker conceives of the relationship between freedom and time. A full and meaningful account of human freedom requires both continuity and rupture in the flow of time, and the paradoxes in both philosophers’ theories of freedom originate in their attempt to satisfy both of these temporal requirements.