Chapter

Kant’s Fateful Reviews of Herder’s <i>Ideas</i>

Karl Ameriks

in Kant's Elliptical Path

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693689
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693689.003.0011
Kant’s Fateful Reviews of Herder’s Ideas

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Shortly after Kant's own history essay, he wrote some critical reviews works on history by Herder. A remarkable feature of these reviews is that, although Kant was deeply disturbed by what he took to be Herder's cavalier treatment of the basic notions of freedom and purpose, the reviews do not go into detail on this point. Given that Kant had been thinking about absolute freedom for two decades but without any substantive publications in practical philosophy, and that right then he had become aware that anti-libertarian philosophies such as Herder's were gaining great momentum, it only makes sense to suppose that he could not restrain himself any longer from publishing as quickly as possible his most basic views on morality and freedom. This can help resolve the old mystery of why Kant suddenly wrote his most popular book, the Groundwork, when he did.

Keywords: history; freedom; purpose; morality; Herder; Groundwork

Chapter.  7999 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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