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The Foundations of Kant’s Reform Project: Politics and Morals

  • Antonio Franceschet

Abstract

The wonder expressed in this statement is the inspiration of Kant’s critical philosophy. This “awe” is explicitly divided here by the two distinct forces that, when subjected to his scrutiny, form the main elements of a unique political philosophy. The individual occupies a special place in the cosmos because he or she is both a finite being that is determined by the laws of nature and a subject of the supersensible moral law. However, whereas the laws of nature are mechanical and cannot respect any phenomena or beings as ends, the moral law obligates human subjects to act on principles that enshrine men and women as dignified ends.

Keywords

Human Dignity Critical Philosophy Moral Autonomy Reform Project Individual Subjectivity 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The First and Second Discourses, ed. Roger D. Masters, trans. Roger D. Masters and Judith R. Masters (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Susan Meld Shell, “Kant’s Political Cosmology: Freedom and Desire in the ‘Remarks’ Concerning Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime,” in Essays on Kant’s Political Philosophy, ed. Howard Williams (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1992), 81.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Susan Meld Shell, The Rights of Reason: A Study of Kant’s Philosophy and Politics (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), 21.Google Scholar
  4. See also Richard L. Velkey, Freedom and the Ends of Reason: On the Moral Foundation of Kant’s Critical Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 6–8.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    As George Armstrong Kelley writes, Kant “withdraws from the bombardment of Rousseau’s moralism, while accepting his insights on freedom,” in Kelley, Idealism, Politics and History: Sources of Hegelian Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 99.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See Aristode, The Ethics (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1993), 203–225Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    see Hutchings, Kant, Critique and Politics (London: Routledge, 1996), 1–37Google Scholar
  8. Onora O’Neill, Constructions of Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Cf. Hobbes, Leviathan (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1986), 118–121.Google Scholar
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    Joseph Knippenberg, “The Politics of Kant’s Philosophy,” in Kant and Political Philosophy: the Contemporary Legacy, ed. Ronald Beiner and William James Booth (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 157.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    As Otfried Höffe notes, “Kant’s revolution … enables human reason [to] liberate itself from the biases of the natural perspective, epistemological realism,” in Höffe, Immanuel Kant, trans. Marshall Farrier (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 38.Google Scholar
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    William James Booth, Interpreting the World: Kant’s Philosophy of History and Politics (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), 17.Google Scholar
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    Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 61–62.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Aristotle, The Politics, trans. T. A. Sinclair (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1992), 61.Google Scholar

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© Antonio Franceschet 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Franceschet

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