Radical Evil As A Regulative Idea

Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (4):641-673 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Kant's doctrine of the radical evil in human nature invites at least two serious worries: first, it is unclear how Kant could establish the claim that all human beings adopt an evil maxim; second, this claim seems to conflict with central features of Kant's doctrine of freedom. I argue, via criticisms of various charitable interpretations, that these problems are indeed insuperable if we read Kant as trying to establish that all human beings are evil as a matter of fact. I then develop an alternative reading that avoids these problems. On my reading, Kant transforms the complaint that humans are evil into a prescriptive regulative principle. Although we cannot know whether all human beings really are evil, we ought to presuppose “inextirpable” human evil in the context of moral “ascetic”, the practical field that answers to the duty of moral self-perfection and that aims at the development of virtue.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 80,001

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 the radical evil of human nature.Paul Formosa - 2007 - Philosophical Forum 38 (3):221–245.
Is radical evil banal? Is banal evil radical?Paul Formosa - 2007 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (6):717-735.
Is Kant’s conception of radical evil radical enough.Marinko Lolic - 2011 - Filozofija I Društvo 22 (4):23-36.
The Consistency of Kant's Doctrine of Radical Evil.Pablo Muchnik - 2002 - Dissertation, New School for Social Research
Villalobos, J. (edt.), Radicalidad y episteme.Mª E. López Ortega - 1992 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 26:266.
Kant on the Limits of Human Evil.Paul Formosa - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:189-214.
A philosophy of evil.Lars Fr H. Svendsen - 2010 - Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press.


Added to PP

65 (#194,628)

6 months
1 (#478,361)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Markus Kohl
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Citations of this work

Every man has his price: Kant's argument for universal radical evil.Jonas Jervell Indregard - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (4):414-436.
Noumenal Freedom and Kant’s Modal Antinomy.Uygar Abaci - 2022 - Kantian Review 27 (2):175-194.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references