Subjective universality of great novelists as an artistic measure of history’s advance towards actualising Kant’s vision of freedom

Filozofija I Društvo 29 (4):567-585 (2018)
The main idea behind this article is that in order to understand themeaning that Kant’s political philosophy is rendered to by the givensocio-historical context of a community we need to turn for help toartistic genius whose subjective “I” holds a general feeling of the worldand life. It is in this sense that authors of great novels can help us in twoways. First, their works summarise for our imagination artistic truth aboutman’s capacity for humanity, the very thing that Kant considers to bethe scientifically improvable “fact of reason”. Second, works of greatwriters offer for our insight destinies of individuals who decide to pursuemoral dictate in a society, thus actualising the potential that lies hiddenin all of us, making us worthy of respect. As we lack objective scientificstandard of measurement, artist’s universal feeling of the world is impressedupon us through a narrative about a man who, in a given society and ina given moment, decides to exercise his autonomy and seek the divinein himself. Contemporary social scientists’ attempts to prove historicalprogress is characterised by the very lack of humbleness. Referring tothe great novelists’ works in this article is aimed to remind scientists ofrestraint and self-control demanded from them by the citizen of Konigsberg.
Keywords Kant, novel, freedom, peace, Tolstoy, genius, science, progress, history
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DOI 10.2298/FID1804567K
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