Politics and Teleology in Kant

Politics and Teleology in Kant

Paul Formosa
Avery Goldman
Tatiana Patrone
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Politics and Teleology in Kant
    Book Description:

    This volume, consisting of fourteen essays by leading scholars in the field, is the first to focus in depth on the critically important relationship between politics and teleology in Kant’s work.

    eISBN: 978-1-78316-067-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. List of Contributors
    (pp. VII-XII)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
  5. Introduction: The Connection between Politics and Teleology in Kant
    (pp. 1-18)
    Paul Formosa, Avery Goldman and Tatiana Patrone

    Kant develops his political philosophy in the context of a teleological conception of the purposiveness of nature and human history. A teleological conception is one that focuses on the functional significance or purpose of a phenomenon. For Kant, one of the key roles of political philosophy is to probe what politics and human societies more generally can, will and should become in the context of the historically developing and purposive natural systems of which humans are a part. Politics must therefore be understood in its natural and historical context, but nature (especially human nature) and history must in turn be...

  6. 1 Natural Right in Toward Perpetual Peace
    (pp. 19-36)
    Howard Williams

    On the face of it Kant’sToward Perpetual Peacedoes not seem to be a work that belongs to the natural law (or natural right) tradition. From one important perspective, it can be seen as a piece of propaganda on behalf of a world federation, decrying the arbitrary power of the absolutist rulers of his day and supporting the new republican order appearing for the first time in the United States of America and France. From a conservative perspective of the time, Kant would have been seen as shaking the tree on which all settled order stood (Burke 1974 ,...

  7. 2 The Ends of Politics: Kant on Sovereignty, Civil Disobedience and Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 37-58)
    Paul Formosa

    A focus on the presence of unjustified coercion is one of the central normative concerns of Kant’s entire practical philosophy, from the ethical to the cosmopolitical. This focus is intimately interconnected with Kant’s account of sovereignty, since only the sovereign can justifiably coerce others unconditionally. For Kant, the sovereign is she who has the rightful authority to legislate laws and who is subject only to the laws that she gives herself. In the moral realm (or kingdom) of ends, each citizen is both a member of that realm and an equal co-sovereign of its categorically binding laws (GMS, 4:433–4; Reath...

  8. 3 The Development of Kant’s Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 59-75)
    Pauline Kleingeld

    In his 1784 essay ‘Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Perspective’, Kant advocates the establishment of a worldwide federation of states. He writes that a ‘cosmopolitan condition’, which such a global federative body would create, is required for the security and stability of its member states. The security and stability of states, in turn, is required in order to facilitate the complete development of human predispositions for the use of reason, which Kant suggests is the final end of human history. The ideal of an international federation of states returns many times in Kant’s later writings, for instance...

  9. 4 Kant’s Principles of Publicity
    (pp. 76-91)
    Allen Wood

    It is well known that Kant regards politicians as subject to moral constraints. They are subject to these constraints even in cases where Kant thinks they may not be rightfully coerced to abide by them – since Kant denies the right of revolution. Those who consider themselves political ‘realists’, however, are accustomed to condescend to such views. Carl Schmitt (1996 ), for instance, holds that the political or public realm has its own criteria and should not be bound by concepts that can be traced back to those of moral good and evil. Schmitt seems to conclude that politicians should never...

  10. 5 Public Reason and Kantian Civic Education, or: Are the Humanities ‘Dispensable’ and If Not, Why Not?
    (pp. 92-109)
    Susan Meld Shell

    ‘Public reason’¹ in today’s academic parlance has something like the following meaning:

    We engage in public reasoning when we limit the reasons we use to argue for political decisions only to those that are contained in the overlapping consensus on specifically political principles, and do not go beyond those by employing sectarian reasons from our own specific comprehensive doctrine. Public reason is then the proper idiom that fellow citizens are to limit themselves to when arguing with one another about political matters … The duty of civility is respected when we obey the gag rules of public reason, prescinding from...

  11. 6 Kant, Justice and Civic Fellowship
    (pp. 110-127)
    Sarah Holtman

    Readings of Immanuel Kant’s political theory often address its underpinnings elsewhere in Kant’s work, the foundational elements of the theory itself and the practical implications of Kant’s political philosophy. Each of these will play a supporting role in this chapter. My central question, though, is not how to understand Kant’s political theory or what institutions, laws or actions it demands in concrete circumstances. Rather, I am most concerned here with the theory’s implications for the perspective we take on our relationship to the state and to our fellow citizens and for the attitude that gives voice to this perspective in...

  12. 7 Teleology and the Grounds of Duties of Juridical Right
    (pp. 128-144)
    Tatiana Patrone

    In his later writings on political philosophy Kant consistently argues for our duty to enter and preserve a ‘civil union’ or a ‘rightful condition’. On occasion, he also puts his arguments in terms of entering an original contract, but he never fails to distance himself from other thinkers, such as Hobbes and Danton, who (Kant believes) have interpreted the notion of the original contract incorrectly. His main complaint about his predecessors’ interpretation seems to be twofold. First, the original contract that the early social contract theorists discuss is not to be taken as a historical fact, but rather as an...

  13. 8 The Guarantee of Perpetual Peace: Three Concerns
    (pp. 145-162)
    Luigi Caranti

    One of the most controversial and criticised tenets of Kant’s entire philosophy is the claim, which we shall call here the ‘guarantee thesis’, that nature ensures that humans will achieve perpetual peace one day. Many have read this prediction as nothing but an example of simpleminded faith in the progress of mankind, typical of an Enlightenment style of thinking. Recent sympathetic interpreters of Kant (Guyer 2006; Ludwig 2006) have attempted various strategies for watering down Kant’s claim and for separating his peace project from the guarantee thesis, since the latter is judged to be incompatible not only with contemporary epistemology,...

  14. 9 Teleology in Kant’s Philosophy of History and Political Philosophy
    (pp. 163-179)
    Thomas Fiegle

    Kant’s political philosophy has long been considered a work of minor interest compared to his theoretical and practical philosophy. In recent years this opinion has certainly begun to change (see, for example, Arendt 1982 and Gerhardt 1996). But there is still, arguably, a broad lack of understanding of Kant’s political writings, particularly of Kant’s use of the philosophy of history in order to establish his conception of politics. Henning Ottmann, to cite just one author among many, characterises Kant’s political philosophy and the role the philosophy of history plays in it as follows:

    Kant’s time is that of ‘Aufklärung’. He...

  15. 10 The Political Foundations of Prophetic History
    (pp. 180-193)
    Sharon Anderson-Gold

    In ‘A Renewed Attempt to Answer the Question: Is the Human Race Continually Improving?’ Immanuel Kant proposes to formulate a ‘history of future times’ on the basis of the claim that such a history is possible ‘if the prophet himself occasions and produces the events he predicts’ and if he adopts a particular point of view (SF, 7: 80).¹ The notion that we may contribute to the achievement of longdesired goals by adopting a particular perspective on history has often been derided as the fantasy of misguided activists unsuited to any serious study of history. To assume that one can...

  16. 11 What Are We Allowed to Hope? Kant’s Philosophy of History as Political Philosophy
    (pp. 194-210)
    Fotini Vaki

    The ‘ideology of progress’, which marks the eighteenth century by becoming the very synonym of the Enlightenment’s optimism, brings about a dramatic change to the meaning of ‘history’.Historiain the sense of a narrative, tale or a collection of facts, transforms itself into historiography or a philosophy of history engaged in a persistent exercise of self-reflection. According to Reinhard Koselleck:

    Since the eighteenth century there exists a ‘history in general’ that seemed to be its own subject and object – a system, not an aggregate, as one used to say in those days. Spatially there corresponds to it the one...

  17. 12 The Principle of Purposiveness: From the Beautiful to the Biological and Finally to the Political in Kant’s Critique of Judgment
    (pp. 211-227)
    Avery Goldman

    In the first, originally unpublished Introduction to theCritique of Judgment, Kant explains that the analysis that follows fills a ‘gap [Lücke] in the system of our cognitive faculties’ (EEKU, XI, 20:244).¹ Kant then proceeds to introduce the power of judgement, which is distinguished as ana priorifaculty by the principle of ‘purposiveness’ (Zweckmäßigkeit). Such a principle directs reflective judgement in its deductive attempt to differentiate universals from groups of particulars.² In theCritique of Judgment’s two divisions, dealing with reflective judgement in the fields of aesthetics and teleology respectively, Kant argues that these disparate fields share a dependence...

  18. 13 Perfected Humanity: Nature’s Final End and the End in Itself
    (pp. 228-244)
    Richard Dean

    Kant’s position that we must attribute to nature a final end and that this end is the rational and moral perfection of humanity raises a number of interpretative questions. One obvious textual issue is that Kant makes seemingly contradictory statements about the extent to which individual humans can intentionally contribute to progress toward this end, but this tension in Kant’s claims can be resolved fairly satisfactorily just by noting the different extents to which human efforts can play a role at different stages of history. However, there are deeper questions to be answered as well, regarding why we have a...

  19. 14 Kant’s Pure Ethics and the Problem of ‘Application’
    (pp. 245-262)
    Angelica Nuzzo

    In this chapter I examine the systematic articulation of Kant’s practical philosophy by focusing on the distinction between ‘pure’ moral philosophy, ‘metaphysics of morals’ and ‘applied’ ethics. I am interested in the questions raised by the applied part of Kant’s practical philosophy. In this way, I lay the groundwork for thinking of politics in the Rawlsian tradition as a form of applied moral philosophy (Geuss 2008, p. 8).² What is the procedure of ‘application’ (which Kant renders withAnwendung,Ausübung,AusführungandPraxis; see O’Neill 2007 , pp. 155n. 2, 161) and, transcendentally, what is the faculty that presides over...

  20. Index
    (pp. 263-268)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 269-269)