Kant's Proleptic Philosophy of History: The World Well-Hoped

Dissertation, Temple University (2019)

José Luis Fernández
Fairfield University
My dissertation examines several proleptic bases running through Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of history. The approach that I take is both problem centered and exegetical, drawing from primary literature as well as classic and contemporary research. After setting preliminary ground to frame Kant’s hopeful historical viewpoint, I attempt to address and answer problems such as “the historical antinomy” by trying to build a bridge between reason and empirical history; to extricate Kant from membership in a group of “substantive philosophers of history,” who all share the characteristic of presenting “prophetic” accounts of the historical future; as well to offer an original reading of Kant’s use of Seneca’s phrase, “Ducunt volentum fata, nolentem trahunt,” as it appears in two of the socio-political essays. Ultimately, I argue that it would be a betrayal of Kantian hope to forfeit the presumption, however unknowable, that there are teleological principles operating in history, thereby resigning ourselves to the “dismal reign of chance” (trostloses Ungefähr), an historical caveat that humanity cannot afford to dismiss.
Keywords philosophy of history, hope, progress
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