Kant, Human Nature, and History after Rousseau

Karl Ameriks

in Kant's Elliptical Path

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693689
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745584 | DOI:
Kant, Human Nature, and History after Rousseau

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The fact that Kant was heavily influenced by Rousseau is well known, but it is only very recently that a properly edited and now fully translated version of Kant's notes on Rousseau, by Frierson and Guyer, has been available. This chapter makes use of these materials to argue in detail that in the 1760s Kant suddenly expressed a very new and well-thought-out conception of human nature and history. Kant borrowed from Rousseau but also moved toward his own more complex historical and metaphysical understanding of human beings. In particular, he took them to be absolutely free and equal rational agents who need to go through series of complex elliptical developments in late modern life in order to have the chance of returning to a fulfillment of their fundamental end.

Keywords: freedom; equality; modernity; human nature; history; Rousseau; Frierson; Guyer

Chapter.  8887 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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