Kant: A Very Short Introduction - Chapter 7: Enlightenment and Law Summary & Analysis

Roger Scruton
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Politics was one of the last topics Kant addressed before his death at the beginning of the 19th century. He was one of the most well-known and influential proponents of the so-called European Enlightenment and many political theorists even up to the modern day have seized upon his ideas. Kant's political works are far removed from the almost obsessive systematic leanings of his earlier works. Indeed, he hardly makes any attempt to ground his political beliefs in his transcendental philosophy at all. However, reading the works in the context of Kant's philosophy and life, one can perhaps retrospectively construct a transcendental politics.

Kant believed the fundamental political right is freedom. How this flows from his philosophy is rather obvious, as he explicitly argued in the "Critique of Practical Judgment" that rational autonomy was the basis for moral dignity. The...

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