In Anil Gomes & Andrew Stephenson (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
AbstractThe chapter examines Kant’s thesis about the ‘radical evil in human nature’ developed in his Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. According to this thesis, the human moral condition is corrupt by default and yet by own deed; and this corruption is the origin (root, radix) of human badness in all its variety, banality, and ubiquity. While Kant clearly takes radical evil to be endemic in human nature, controversy reigns about how to understand this. Some assume this can only be a synthetic a priori claim about the necessity of radical evil (and thus one requiring a transcendental deduction). However, Kant indicates that while radical evil is inevitable it is not, for that, strictly necessary. The best way to understand this is through a teleological approach that explains how we inevitably bring this corruption upon ourselves in the course of our development. The chapter thereby joins other teleological accounts, but distinctively argues that Kant draws on Stoic natural teleology (specifically the doctrine of oikeiōsis), which he knows through Seneca and Cicero. This background allows us to make sense of the structure of Kant’s argument in ways that shed fresh light on the philosophical content of the thesis about radical evil. It also allows us to see that another hotly debated issue — namely, whether radical evil should be understood in ‘psychological’ or ‘social’ terms — is spurious: we see that these are flip sides of one coin, and are better placed to register the broader ethical significance of this result.
Similar books and articles
Radical Evil and the Invisibility of Moral Worth in Kant's Die Religion.Carlos Manrique - 2007 - Ideas Y Valores 56 (135):3-27.
On the Possibility of the Language of ‘Radical Evil’ ".Pablo Muchnik - 2001 - Academic Forum 1.
The Reading of Radical Evil in Kant Proposed by Italo Mancini.Andrea Ciceri - 2011 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 103 (4):691-705.
Converting the Kantian Self: Radical Evil, Agency, and Conversion in Kant’s Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.Samuel Loncar - 2013 - Kant Studien 104 (3):346-366.
Evil and Imputation in Kant's Ethics.Mark Timmons - 1994 - In B. Sharon Byrd, Joachim Hruschka & Jan C. Joerdan (eds.), Jahrbuch für Recht Und Ethik. Duncker Und Humblot.
Kierkegaard and Kant on Radical Evil and the Highest Good: Virtue, Happiness, and the Kingdom of God.Roe Fremstedal - 2014 - Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Can Kant’s Theory of Radical Evil Be Saved?Zachary J. Goldberg - 2017 - Kantian Review 22 (3):395-419.
Evil, Virtue, and Education in Kant.Paul Formosa - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (13):1325-1334.
Radical Evil As A Regulative Idea.Markus Kohl - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (4):641-673.
On the Alleged Vacuity of Kant's Concept of Evil.Pablo F. Muchnik - 2006 - Kant Studien 97 (4):430-451.
On the Boundary of Intelligibility: Kant’s Conception of Radical Evil and the Limits of Ethical Discourse.Evgenia Cherkasova - 2005 - Review of Metaphysics 58 (3):571 - 584.
Is Radical Evil Banal? Is Banal Evil Radical?Paul Formosa - 2007 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (6):717-735.
The Contingency of Evil: Rethinking the Problem of Universal Evil in Kant's 'Religion'.Ryan Kemp - 2011 - In Oliver Thorndike (ed.), Rethinking Kant: Volume 3. Cambridge Scholars Press.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
References found in this work
A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought.Michael Frede - 2011 - University of California Press.
Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim.Immanuel Kant - 2007 - In Anthropology, History, and Education. Cambridge University Press.