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Summary What unites Kant’s social, political, and religious philosophies is the role autonomy plays in each of them. A foundational claim of Kant’s political philosophy is that the state’s role is to allow its citizens as much external freedom as possible (freedom from constraint) while not attempting to improve their virtue (their inner freedom, or ability to resist their own sensible desires). Similarly, a central goal of Kant’s philosophy of religion is to delineate what a proper church would be and to explain why we need it. The ideal church is one where confessions of belief (e.g., in particular miracle claims) are not required, but the attempt to live one’s life in conformity with the moral law is. We must strive to build such a church because we each begin our lives radically evil (disposed to subordinate our moral obligations to our own happiness); and, while we can each free ourselves from its thrall, we risk falling back into radical evil so long as there are others in hock to it. Consequently, we are called to build a church organized around combating our innate radical evil in order to go some way to bringing about the highest good (a state where there are perfectly virtuous people who are happy in proportion to their virtue). In other words, the Kantian state allows for outer freedom while the Kantian church focuses on enhancing our inner freedom. Kant’s social philosophy (which includes his philosophy of education) links together his political and religious philosophies: we are to encourage those ways of thinking and behaving that will conduce to the realization of the ideal church and state, and discourage those that oppose their establishment.
Key works Kant's key works in political philosophy are "An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?", the second section of "On the Common Saying: That May Be Correct in Theory, but It Is of No Use in Practice", "Toward Perpetual Peace", and The Doctrine of Right (the first part of The Metaphysics of Morals) (all of these works can be found in Practical Philosophy). Kant's key works in the philosophy of religion are "The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God" (which can be found in Theoretical Philosophy, 1755-1770), and "On the Miscarriage of All Philosophical Trials in Theodicy", Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and The Conflict of the Faculties (which can all be found in Religion and Rational Theology). Kant does not have any works dedicated to social philosophy per se, but one can find his social philosophy in parts of Lectures on Pedagogy, The Doctrine of Virtue (the second part of The Metaphysics of Morals), and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.
Introductions For introductions to Kant's political philosophy, see Ripstein 2009, Byrd 2010, and Kleingeld 2012. Overviews of Kant's religious thought include Wood 1970, Wood 1978, Michalson 1990, DiCenso 2012, and Pasternack 2013. A nice introduction of Kant's ethical theory that covers much of his social philosophy is Wood 1999.
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  1. Robert Adamson (1854/1993). On the Philosophy of Kant. Routledge/Thoemmes Press.
    There has recently been a considerable amount of research into the influence of 18th century British philosophy--particularly into the thinking of David Hume on Continental philosophy and Kant. The aim of this collection is to provide some of the key texts which illustrate the impact of Kant's thought together with two important 20th century monographs on aspects of Kant's early reception and his influence on philosophical thought. Contents: Immanuel Kant in England 1793-1838 [1931] Rene Wellek 328 pp The Early Reception (...)
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  2. Guido Antônio de Almeida (2006). Sobre o Princípio E a Lei Universal Do Direito Em Kant. Kriterion 47 (114):209-222.
  3. Sidney Axinn (1970). Kant on Authority. Southern Journal of Philosophy 8 (2-3):157-163.
  4. Sidney Axinn (1958). Kant, Logic, and the Concept of Mankind. Ethics 68 (4):286-291.
  5. Tom Bailey (2002). Kant and Autonomy Conference. Kant-Studien 93 (4):488-490.
  6. Gary Banham (2011). The Antimonies of Pure Practical Libertine Reason. Angelaki 15 (1):13-27.
    In this article I revisit the relationship between Immanuel Kant and the Marquis De Sade, following not Jacques Lacan but Pierre Klossowski. In the process I suggest that Sade's work is marred by a series of antinomies that prevent him from stating a pure practical libertine reason and leave his view purely theoretical.
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  7. F. M. Barnard (1983). Self-Direction: Thomasius, Kant, and Herder. Political Theory 11 (3):343-368.
  8. David Beckett & Paul Hager (2003). Rejoinder: Learning From Work: Can Kant Do? Educational Philosophy and Theory 35 (1):123–127.
  9. Ermanno Bencivenga (1996). Kant's Sadism. Philosophy and Literature 20 (1):39-46.
  10. James Bohman (2009). Living Without Freedom: Cosmopolitanism at Home and the Rule of Law. Political Theory 37 (4):539 - 561.
    For Kant and many modern cosmopolitans, establishing the rule of law provides the chief mechanism for achieving a just global order. Yet, as Hart and Rawls have argued, the rule of law, as it is commonly understood, is quite consistent with "great iniquities." This criticism does not apply to a sufficiently robust, republican conception of the rule of law, which attributes a basic legal status to all persons. Accordingly, the pervasiveness of dominated persons without legal status is a a fundamental (...)
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  11. Manfred Brocker (2006). Kant Über Rechtsstaat Und Demokratie. Vs, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
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  12. Thom Brooks (2001). Corlett on Kant, Hegel, and Retribution. Philosophy 76 (4):561-580.
    The purpose of this essay is to critically appraise J. Angelo Corlett's recent interpretation of Kant's theory of punishment as well as his rejection of Hegel's penology. In taking Kant to be a retributivist at a primary level and a proponent of deterrence at a secondary level, I believe Corlett has inappropriately wed together Kant's distinction between moral and positive law. Moreover, his support of Kant on these grounds is misguided as it is instead Hegel who holds such a distinction. (...)
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  13. Stuart M. Brown Jr (1962). Has Kant a Philosophy of Law? Philosophical Review 71 (1):33-48.
  14. Georg Cavallar (2012). Cosmopolitanisms in Kant's Philosophy. Ethics and Global Politics 5 (2).
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  15. Georg Cavallar (2006). Commentary on Susan Meld Shell's 'Kant on Just War and "Unjust Enemies": Reflections on a "Pleonasm"'. Kantian Review 11 (1):117-124.
  16. Partha Chatterjee (2008). Kant's Politics: Provisional Theory for an Uncertain World. Contemporary Political Theory 7 (1):111-114.
  17. Eyal Chowers (1999). The Marriage of Time and Identity: Kant, Benjamin and the Nation-State. Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (3):57-80.
    The paper explores the role played by concepts of temporality in shaping the self's identity and its moral responsibility. This theme is examined in both Kant and Benjamin, two theorists who view the modern self as an essentially historical being. For Kant, teleological and uniform time shoulders the heightening of the self's universal attributes and the constant expansion of a moral community. The desired end is the establishment of an integrated and homogeneous human space, a cosmopolitan stage wherein history is (...)
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  18. Robert R. Clewis (2006). Kant's Consistency Regarding the Regime Change in France. Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (4):443-460.
    Can it be consistent to be interested, for moral reasons, in the fact that uninvolved spectators of a regime change are enthusiastic about that change, when the latter is carried out according to means considered immoral or unjust? Yes. In ‘An Old Question Raised Again’ ( The Conflict of the Faculties , 1798), Kant demonstrates a morally based interest in disinterested spectators’ expressions (aesthetic judgments) of enthusiasm for the idea of a republican form of government. This interest is puzzling. Kant's (...)
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  19. R. Coles (2007). Books in Review: The Kantian Imperative: Humiliation, Common Sense, Politics, by Paul Saurette. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. 305 Pp. $35.00 (Paper); $75.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Political Theory 35 (2):231-233.
  20. William E. Connolly (1997). A Critique of Pure Politics. Philosophy and Social Criticism 23 (5):1-26.
    This essay examines lines of connection between disgust, the effect of disciplines upon such intensive appraisals, political action, and the shape of ethical responsiveness. Philosophies that espouse purity in moral ity or politics mask these lines of connection; they thereby disparage the sig nificance of techniques of the self to ethical and political life. Immanuel Kant and Hannah Arendt provide the two main figures through whom these themes are explored. Arendt and Kant are brought into relation with each other through (...)
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  21. Edward Demenchonok (2012). Rethinking Kant's Concept of Human Rights as Freedom. Filosofia Unisinos 13 (2 - suppl.).
    The paper examines the current debates regarding the grounding of human rights in a pluralistic, culturally diverse world. It analyses the challenges which come today from certain policies of human rights which instrumentalize them under the pretext of a “global war on terror” and redefi ne them in terms of democracy promotion and regime change, as well as those challenges which come from ideologies which question the core principles of human rights and provoke the so called “crisis of legitimization.” The (...)
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  22. Michael W. Doyle (1983). Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs. Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (3):205-235.
  23. C. Dyke (1969). Collective Decision Making in Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Mill. Ethics 80 (1):21-37.
  24. Colin Farrelly (2002). Review: Kant and Modern Political Philosophy. [REVIEW] Mind 111 (443):662-664.
  25. Robert Fine (2003). Kant’s Theory of Cosmopolitanism and Hegel’s Critique. Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (6):609-630.
    s theory of cosmopolitan right is widely viewed as the philosophical origin of modern cosmopolitan thought. Hegel’s critique of Kant’s theory of cosmopolitan right, by contrast, is usually viewed as regressive and nationalistic in relation to both Kant and the cosmopolitan tradition. This paper reassesses the political and philosophical character of Hegel’s critique of Kant, Hegel’s own relation to cosmopolitan thinking, and more fleetingly some of the implications of his critique for contemporary social criticism. It is argued that Hegel’s critique (...)
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  26. Katrin Flikschuh (2008). Reason, Right, and Revolution: Kant and Locke. Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (4):375-404.
  27. Katrin Flikschuh (2007). Duty, Nature, Right: Kant's Response to Mendelssohn in Theory and Practice III. Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (2):223-241.
    This paper offers an imminent interpretation of Kant's political teleology in the context of his response to Moses Mendelssohn in Theory and Practice III concerning prospects of humankind's moral progress. The paper assesses the nature of Kant's response against his mature political philosophy in the Doctrine of Right . In `Theory and Practice III' Kant's response to Mendelssohn remains incomplete: whilst insisting that individuals have a duty to contribute towards humankind's moral progress, Kant has no conclusive answer as to how (...)
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  28. Katrin Flikschuh (1996). Is Kant a Liberal? Res Publica 2 (1):101-110.
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  29. Robert Goedecke (1973). Kant and the Radical Regrounding of the Norms of Politics. Journal of Value Inquiry 7 (2):81-95.
  30. E. A. Goerner (1975). On Patrick Riley's "on Kant as the Most Adequate of the Social Contract Theorists". Political Theory 3 (4):467-468.
  31. Ana Marta González (2011). Kant's Philosophy of Education: Between Relational and Systemic Approaches. Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (3):433-454.
    The purpose of this paper is to view Kant's approach to education in the broader context of Kant's philosophy of culture and history as a process whose direction should be reflectively assumed by human freedom, in the light of man's moral vocation. In this context, some characteristic tensions of his enlightened approach to education appear. Thus, while Kant takes the educational process to be a radically moral enterprise all the way through—and hence, placed in a relational context—he also aspires to (...)
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  32. Kyriaki Goudeli (2003). Kants Reflective Judgment: The Normalisation of Political Judgment. Kant-Studien 94 (1):51-68.
  33. Paul Guyer (2012). Hobbes Is of the Opposite Opinion Kant and Hobbes on the Three Authorities in the State. Hobbes Studies 25 (1):91-119.
    Like Hobbes and unlike Locke, Kant denied the possibility of a right to rebellion. But unlike Hobbes, Kant did not argue for a unitary head of state in whom legislative, judicial, and executive powers are inseparable, and thus did not believe that the executive power in a state to whom must be conceded a monopoly of coercion also defines all rights in the state. Instead, Kant insisted upon the necessary division of authority in a state into a separate legislature, executive, (...)
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  34. Agnes Heller (1990). Freedom and Happiness in Kant's Political Philosophy. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 13 (2):115-131.
  35. Thomas E. Hill (1997). A Kantian Perspective on Political Violence. Journal of Ethics 1 (2):105 - 140.
    Rejecting Kant''s absolute opposition to revolution, I propose a modified Kantian perspective for reflecting on political violence, drawing from Kant''s basic ideas but abandoning some dubious assumptions. Developing suggestions in earlier papers, the essay sketches a model for moral legislation that combines the core ideas of each of Kant''s formulas of the Categorical Imperative. Though only a framework for deliberation, not a complete decision procedure, this excludes extremist positions, prohibitive and permissive, about political violence. Despite Kant''s hopes, the values implicit (...)
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  36. Louis-Philippe Hodgson (2012). Realizing External Freedom: The Kantian Argument for a World State. In Elisabeth Ellis (ed.), Kant's Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  37. Christopher J. Insole (2008). Two Conceptions of Liberalism: Theology, Creation, and Politics in the Thought of Immanuel Kant and Edmund Burke. Journal of Religious Ethics 36 (3):447-489.
    Constitutional liberal practices are capable of being normatively grounded by a number of different metaphysical positions. Kant provides one such grounding, in terms of the autonomously derived moral law. I argue that the work of Edmund Burke provides a resource for an alternative construal of constitutional liberalism, compatible with, and illumined by, a broadly Thomistic natural law worldview. I contrast Burke's treatment of the relationship between truth and cognition, prudence and rights, with that of his contemporary, Kant. We find that (...)
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  38. David James (2012). The Role of Evil in Kant's Liberalism. Inquiry 55 (3):238-261.
    Abstract Carl Schmitt distinguishes between political theories in terms of whether they rest on the anthropological assumption that man is evil by nature or on the anthropological assumption that man is good by nature, and he claims that liberal political theory is based on the latter assumption. Contrary to this claim, I show how Kant's liberalism is shaped by his theory of the radical evil in human nature, and that his liberalism corresponds to the characterization of liberalism that Schmitt himself (...)
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  39. Alex Karolis (2008). Kant's Politics: Provisional Theory for an Uncertain World. Contemporary Political Theory 7 (1):111.
  40. Pauline Kleingeld (2004). Approaching Perpetual Peace: Kant’s Defence of a League of States and His Ideal of a World Federation. European Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):304-325.
    There exists a standard view of Kant’s position on global order and this view informs much of current Kantian political theory. This standard view is that Kant advocates a voluntary league of states and rejects the ideal of a federative state of states as dangerous, unrealistic, and conceptually incoherent. This standard interpretation is usually thought to fall victim to three equally standard objections. In this essay, I argue that the standard interpretation is mistaken and that the three standard objections miss (...)
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  41. Pauline Kleingeld (2003). Kant’s Cosmopolitan Patriotism. Kant-Studien 94 (3):299-316.
    Patriotism and cosmopolitanism are often presumed to be mutually exclusive, but Immanuel Kant defends both. Although he is best known for his moral and political cosmopolitanism, in several texts he defends the claim that we have a duty of patriotism, claiming that cosmopolitans ought to be patriotic. In this paper, I examine Kant’s different accounts of the duty of patriotism. I argue that Kant’s defense of nationalist patriotism fails, but that his argument for a duty of civic patriotism succeeds.
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  42. Pauline Kleingeld (1998). Kant's Cosmopolitan Law: World Citizenship for a Global Order. Kantian Review 2:72-90.
    Kant's unduly neglected concept of cosmopolitan law suggests a third sphere of public law -- in addition to constitutional law and international law -- in which both states and individuals have rights, and where individuals have these rights as ‛citizens of the earth' rather than as citizens of particular states. I critically examine Kant's view of cosmopolitan law, discussing its addressees, content, justification, and institutionalization. I argue that Kant's conception of ‛world citizenship' is neither merely metaphorical nor dependent on an (...)
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  43. Hans-Herbert Kogler (2004). Review of Kojin Karatani, Transcritique: On Kant and Marx. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (6).
  44. Darius Koriako (2005). Was sind und wozu dienen reine Anschauungen? Kritische Fragen und Anmerkungen zu Kants Raumtheorie. Kant-Studien 96 (1):20-40.
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  45. John Christian Laursen (1986). The Subversive Kant: The Vocabulary of "Public" and "Publicity&Quot;. Political Theory 14 (4):584-603.
  46. Mika LaVaque-Manty (2012). Kant on Education. In Elisabeth Ellis (ed.), Kant's Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications. Pennsylvania State University Press.
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  47. Kwang-Sae Lee (1986). Two Images of Man: Confucian and Kantian. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 13 (2):211-238.
  48. Paul Livingston (2007). Wittgenstein, Kant and the Critique of Totality. Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (6):691-715.
    In this paper, I explore Wittgenstein’s inheritance of one specific strand of Kant’s criticism, in the Critique of Pure Reason, of reason’s inherent pretensions to totality. This exploration reveals new critical possibilities in Wittgenstein’s own philosophical method, challenging existing interpretations of Wittgenstein’s political thought as “conservative” and exhibiting the closeness of its connection to another inheritor of Kant’s critique of totality, the Frankfurt school’s criticism of “identity thinking” and the reification of reason to which it leads. Additionally, it shows how (...)
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  49. Sylvie Loriaux (2007). Kant on International Distributive Justice. Journal of Global Ethics 3 (3):281 – 301.
    This paper concentrates on the way Kant's distinction between duties of right and duties of virtue operates at the interstate level. I argue that his Right of Nations (V ölkerrecht) can be interpreted as a duty to establish a kind of interstate distributive justice (that is, as a duty to secure states in their independence and territorial possessions), which is called for to secure domestic distributive justice and to protect individuals' freedom and private property. Or at least this is 'ideal (...)
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  50. Cecelia Lynch (1994). Kant, the Republican Peace, and Moral Guidance in International Law. Ethics and International Affairs 8 (1):39–58.
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