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In typical debates about freedom. compatibilists and incompatibilists dispute whether and how one can defuse the threat that a naturalistic worldview seems to pose for our conception of free will. Proponents of both sides standardly take it for granted that natural causality is a potential threat only for practical deliberation, and that no corresponding worries arise for our self- conception as theorizers who make up their mind about what to believe about the world. I show that Kant rejects this standard dichotomy between practice and theory. He holds that we must both act and believe 'under the idea of freedom': the standpoint of theoretical reasoning, the very source of the naturalistic worldview, must itself rely on the idea of freedom (or spontaneity) and thus cannot expose free will as an illusion. This line of thought, I argue, casts a refreshing new light on debates about what kind of freedom is worth having; and it provides an intriguing defense of our freedom from natural necessity.