Nature or Providence? On the Theoretical and Moral Importance of Kant’s Philosophy of History

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 75 (2):201-219 (2001)
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Kant’s use of the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ in his essays on history has long puzzled commentators. Kant personifies Nature and Providence in a curious way, by speaking of them as “deciding” to give humankind certain predispositions, “wanting” these to be developed, and “knowing” what is best for humans Moreover, he leaves the relationship between the two terms unclear. In this essay, I argue that Kant’s use of ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ can be clarified and explained. Moreover, I show that Kant’s use of the terms is symptomatic of a much more important and not sufficiently appreciated fact about Kant’s philosophy of history, viz., that it fulfils a function in both his theoretical and his practical philosophy.



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Pauline Kleingeld
University of Groningen

References found in this work

Kant's Theory of History and Progress.Louis Dupré - 1998 - Review of Metaphysics 51 (4):813 - 828.
8. Von der Garantie des ewigen Friedens.Pierre Laberge - 1995 - In Otfried Höffe (ed.), Immanuel Kant: zum ewigen Frieden. De Gruyter Akademie Forschung. pp. 149-170.

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