Kants Geschichtsphilosophie: Ihre Entwicklung und ihr Verhältnis zur Aufklärung [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 20 (3):552-553 (1967)
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There is a quasi-consensus in philosophical circles that Kant had no philosophy of history, and in this respect was one with the Aufklärung. The author's aim is to refute this thesis. He tries to show that the Aufklärung was not unhistorical, but simply considered itself the culmination of all history, and thus was unable and unwilling to see that past centuries might have had autonomous values and goals, or, as Ranke said, that "all periods are immediately towards God." For the Aufklärung, and for that matter for Kant, the past's only role was to be a necessary preparation for the present. However, as Weyand points out, for Kant the present period too is only a step forward since the development of history is unlimited. Another significant point of divergence is the role Kant assigns to the inborn evil in human nature and, following this, to the antagonism between men. In his eyes not reason but "antagonism" rooted in our dark egoistic passions is the major drive in historical progression. All this is explained through a three-fold temporal division of Kant's thought: works written before the Ideas of a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Viewpoint; from this last book up to the Critique of Judgment; from the third Critique to the Opus Posthumus. Throughout the book Weyand attempts to show that Kant did have a coherent philosophy of history. But despite the painstaking efforts to study every utterance of Kant on the subject, most readers can't help but be struck by the meagerness of what the Great One of Königsberg had to say about history and historicity.—M. J. V.



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Kants Geschichtsphilosophie.M. J. V. - 1967 - Review of Metaphysics 20 (3):552-553.


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