: The Gulf between Nature and Freedom and Nature's Guarantee of Perpetual Peace

Henry E. Allison

in Essays on Kant

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199647033
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741166 | DOI:
: The Gulf between Nature and Freedom and Nature's Guarantee of Perpetual Peace

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This essay examines the relation between Kant's Toward Perpetual Peace and the nature–freedom problem posed in the third Critique. The problem concerns the “immense gulf,” which separates the supersensible from appearances and which seems to stand in the way of their influencing one another (KU 5: 175). According to Kant, this gulf arises because the ends set by the “laws of freedom” (various aspects of the highest good) ought to be realized in the sensible world, even though this world is governed by mechanistic laws that are indifferent to these ends. After spelling out Kant's approach to the problem and its connection with his conception of the reflective power of judgment, this analysis is applied to Kant's account of how human nature may, apart from any moral considerations, be thought to lead to the institution of republican forms of government and perpetual peace.

Keywords: appearances; gulf; highest good; human nature; laws of freedom; mechanistic laws; nature–freedom problem; perpetual peace; reflective power of judgment; republican government; sensible world; supersensible; third Critique

Chapter.  6678 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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