The Embodiment of Reason: Kant on Spirit, Generation, and Community [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 50 (4):918-919 (1997)
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Abstract

This is a book that should cause Kant scholars to miss their daily walks. It is remarkable on at least four counts. First, Shell displays the unity of Kant's thought through both his "critical" and "pre-critical" writings. Second, with a deft deployment of biographical data, she demonstrates the unity of Kant's life and thought. Third, Shell demonstrates the importance of Kantian texts that are ignored by most commentators: the pre-critical corpus, the correspondence, unpublished notes and reflections, book reviews, student notes, biographical anecdotes, and so forth. Fourth, Shell argues that Kant's emphasis on both human finitude and human dignity moderates the progressivism of his philosophy of history, constituting a critique of, and alternative to, such totalizing historicisms as those of Marx and Heidegger and the sundry postmodernisms of their frustrated and disillusioned followers. In this way, she hopes to contribute to the ongoing revival of an older and nobler form of liberalism that treats human dignity as an absolute.

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