The irreducibility of progress: Kant's account of the relationship between morality and history

Critical Horizons 8 (1):1-17 (2007)
Abstract
In the last thirty years of his life Kant was preoccupied with the question of whether or not the "signs of progress" could be elicited from the vale of tears of the historical process. In what follows I am interested in the question of what kind of meaning Kant's historico-philosophical hypothesis of progress can have for us today. In order to provide an answer to this question, I make a distinction between system-conforming and system-bursting, or unorthodox, versions of historical progress. This distinction is made in order to show that only system-bursting versions of progress can prompt us to confer contemporary meaning on Kant's philosophy of history as a learning process that is conflict ridden and without illusions.
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