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Essays on Kant$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199647033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647033.001.0001

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: Teleology and History in Kant: The Critical Foundations of Kant's Philosophy of History

: Teleology and History in Kant: The Critical Foundations of Kant's Philosophy of History

(p.236) Essay Sixteen: Teleology and History in Kant: The Critical Foundations of Kant's Philosophy of History
Essays on Kant

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

The essay examines Kant's thesis that “All natural predispositions of a creature are determined sometime to develop themselves completely and purposively” which is the initial proposition of “The Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim.” It explores the connection between this teleological principle, which Kant applies in the remaining propositions of his essay to the history of humankind, and the central ideas of the Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment; and, in light of this connection, it argues for the controversial thesis that Kant's philosophy of history is fully “critical.” Special attention is given to what has been called the “cunning of nature,” which refers to the way in which humankind is seen as directed against its collective will to the political ends specified in Toward Perpetual Peace. It further notes, however, that Kant alludes in his essay to a trans‐political goal of history, namely, the collective realization of the highest good.

Keywords:   critical, Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment, cunning of nature, goal of history, highest good, humankind, perpetual peace, teleological

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