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Kant’s Doctrine of the Highest Good: A Theologico-Political Interpretation

By Étienne Brown


Kant’s discussion of the highest good is subject to continuous disagreement between the proponents of two interpretations of this concept. According to the secular interpretation, Kant conceived of the highest good as a political ideal which can be realized through human agency alone, albeit only from the Critique of the Power of Judgement onwards. By way of contrast, proponents of the theological interpretation find Kant’s treatment of the highest good in his later works to be wholly coherent with the discussions of this concept found in the second Critique. In their view, however, Kant never conceived of the highest good as a political ideal, and some go as far as to argue that it is the work of God alone. In this article, I defend a theologico-political account of the highest good that avoids the pitfalls of both readings

Topics: Philosophy
Year: 2020
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Provided by: PhilPapers
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