Kant's culture of humiliation: Politics and ethical cultivation

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (1):59-90 (2002)
This article seeks both to challenge common understandings of Kant's moral project and to use that reading to reconceptualize the aims of political theory. The paper argues that while Kant's moral work is widely praised or criticized for its formalism and its defense of the autonomous subject, an interpretation that takes seriously Kant's remarks about humiliation in the Critique of Practical Reason challenges both these commonplaces. An examination both of the practical role that humiliation plays in Kant's moral system and of the affective and historical traces it relies upon shows that Kant's moral project understands the importance of ethical cultivation and is thus far more political than is often appreciated. The article therefore concludes by suggesting that this rereading of Kant should encourage us to critically examine certain modes of political theorization and adopt a more overtly political stance towards the construction of moral projects in political theory and philosophy alike. Key Words: autonomy • communitarianism • cultivation • culture • humiliation • Hegel • Kant • liberalism • monasticism • respect.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453702028001589
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Katrin Froese (2008). The Art of Becoming Human: Morality in Kant and Confucius. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):257-268.

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