Kant on epigenesis, monogenesis and human nature

The aim of this paper is to show that for Kant, a combination of epigenesis and monogenesis is the condition of possibility of anthropology as he conceives of it and that moreover, this has crucial implications for the biological dimension of his account of human nature. More precisely, I begin by arguing that Kant’s conception of mankind as a natural species is based on two premises: firstly the biological unity of the human species ; and secondly the existence of ‘seeds’ which may or may not develop depending on the environment . I then turn to Kant’s account of man’s natural predispositions and show that far from being limited to the issue of races, it encompasses unexpected human features such as gender, temperaments and nations. These predispositions, I argue, are means to the realisation of Nature’s overall purpose for the human species. This allows me to conclude that man’s biological determinism leads to the species’ preservation, cultivation and civilisation.
Keywords Epigenesis  Monogenesis  Kant  Biology  Human Nature
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.09.005
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References found in this work BETA
Mark Larrimore (2013). Sublime Waste: Kant on the Destiny of the 'Races'. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (sup1):99-125.

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Citations of this work BETA
Phillip R. Sloan (2006). Kant on the History of Nature: The Ambiguous Heritage of the Critical Philosophy for Natural History. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):627-648.
Philippe Huneman (2006). Naturalising Purpose: From Comparative Anatomy to the ‘Adventure of Reason’. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):649-674.

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