Reasonable Hope in Kant’s Ethics

Kantian Review 23 (2):181-203 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The most apparent obstacles to a just, enlightened and peaceful social world are also, according to Kant, nature’s way of compelling us to realize those and other morally good ends. Echoing Adam Smith’s idea of the ‘invisible hand’, Kant thinks that selfishness, rivalry, quarrelsomeness, vanity, jealousy and self-conceit, along with the oppressive social inequalities they tend to produce, drive us to perfect our talents, develop culture, approach enlightenment and, through the strife and instability caused by our unsocial sociability, push us towards justice, political equality and the highest good. What are we to make of these arguments, which seem to rely on questionable empirical assumptions, invoke dubious claims about natural teleology and sit uncomfortably with fundamental aspects of Kant’s ethical framework? I suggest that the arguments reveal one of Kant’s deep and important insights about the moral life by partially describing what a good and virtuous person reasonably hopes for.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,931

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Kant on Possible Hope.Sidney Axinn - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:79-87.
Moral und Glück. Hoffnung bei Kant und Adorno.Tilo Wesche - 2012 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 60 (1):49-71.
Life After Death: An Idle Wish or a Reasonable Hope?James L. Muyskens - 1975 - Philosophy Research Archives 1:1-17.
Reasonable hope: Kant as critical theorist.Jeanne A. Schuler - 1995 - History of European Ideas 21 (4):527-533.
Reasonable Hope.Jeanne Schuler - 1995 - Proceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress 2:901-907.
Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals as Global Ethics.Toshiro Terada - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:427-436.
The duty to seek peace: Bernard R. Boxill.Bernard R. Boxill - 2010 - Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (2):274-296.
Hope as a Moral Ideal.Kenneth Seeskin - 2007 - Teoria 27 (1):99-111.


Added to PP

67 (#248,524)

6 months
11 (#272,636)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Adam Cureton
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

References found in this work

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.C. L. Ten - 2003 - Mind 112 (447):563-566.
Belief in Kant.Andrew Chignell - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (3):323-360.
Lectures on Ethics.Immanuel Kant - 1932 - International Journal of Ethics 43 (1):104-106.

View all 10 references / Add more references