• Kant's Natural Teleology and Moral Praxis

    Peter Critchley (see profile)
    Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804, Philosophy
    Item Type:
    Kant, Immanuel Kant
    Permanent URL:
    This paper examines Kant’s philosophy in three parts. Part I concerns knowledge and looks at reason, its limits and extent. This part shows how Kant went beyond the empiricism and rationalism debate by incorporating the key elements of both in his transcendental idealism. I proceed to examine the constructive and critical theories contained in the critiques, arguing that these establish adequate foundations for both scientific knowledge and moral truth. In Part II I show how Kant makes good his promise to bring the worlds of Newton and Rousseau together, combining the mechanistic conception of a causally ordered nature with the belief in the free will. Kant is thus able to secure the basis of objective knowledge with respect to the external world whilst at the same time affirming freedom as the moral responsibility of human beings. This part looks at the moral law and happiness in terms of the highest good, emphasizing that Kant shows how human beings can transcend their natural and egoistic inclinations to create a moral society of cooperation with a view to the common good. In Part III the implications of this ethic is developed with respect to the practical world of politics. There are sections on peace and freedom under law and the republican constitution. As the paper draws to a conclusion it takes a critical look at Kantian rationalism as pertaining to a culture established in too sharp an abstraction from nature. To correct this dualism I identify the basis of a natural teleology in Kant which emphasizes the centrality of moral praxis in realizing the highest good as the morally necessary end of rational nature. The argument is that Kant presents a social and a practical ethics which enjoins us to realize the moral community. In order to realize their rational/moral nature and thus become free beings, empirical individuals must bring about the moral order which embodies the highest good.
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:


    Item Name: doc kants-natural-teleology-and-moral-praxis.doc
    Activity: Downloads: 446