Die moralische Wende in Kants Philosophie der Geschichte


In this paper, I argue that Kant’s philosophy of history underwent a significant change between his 1784 Idea for a Universal History and his 1790 Third Critique. My proposal is that in between these two texts Kant decisively revised his conception of the sources of historical, i. e. cultural and political, progress: In 1784, he conceived of historical progress as primarily accomplished through social antagonism among human beings, whereas beginning in 1790, he elevates ethical cooperation into a second, significant source of progress. Between 1784 and the 1790s, in other words, Kant re-conceived the collaboration between moral agents as a driving force of history and of the progressing cultivation of humankind. In this paper I offer evidence for this change and suggest reasons why it might have occurred.

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