So ist Freihet nicht zu retten : nature, man and freedom : a prolegomenon to Kant's political philosophy
This work is an effort to develop an interpretative framework for Kant's political philosophy that will illuminate not merely the political philosophy itself, but will have the additional advantage of showing the integral rather than the peripheral connexion of that philosophy with Kant's wider philosophical concerns. In this sense the essay is not an extended explication or critical commentary on Kant's political theory so much as an attempt to establish a context within which such commentary might proceed. The context which is suggested is Kant's anthropology, that is to say, his concept of persons, a notion which is foundational to both his political philosophy and the entire Critical philosophy. The difficulty with such an approach is that Kant no where develops in an explicit and extended fashion his concept of persons, and thus the essay is in one way an effort of recovery, first from the historical accounts of human origins and progress, next from the teleological theories of the third Critique and the Anthropology, then from the doctrine of man as end, and finally from Religion, of a systematic account of what Kant believes persons to be. In all of these diverse efforts to make sense of man, it is argued that Kant's central concept for discussing persons is the idea of freedom, though depending on the context this notion is often linked to another, for instance, in the historical works with Nature, in the Groundwork with reason and morality, and in Religion with evil. Thus all of these other ideas become either extensions of or elucidations of freedom. The idea of Freedom as the foundation of personhood is, however, given its most crucial role in Kant's characterization of persons as ends in themselves. It is this doctrine which is foundational for much of subsequent Western political theory, and which is essential for Kant's political and moral theory. Chapters Three, Four, and Five are thus the core of the essay in that they suggest first that Kant's very strong claims about persons as ends will not work in terms of his own arguments and are rendered even more conceptually suspect in light of his subsequent account of radical evil, and second an alternative reading, proposed by Kant if not finally entirely accepted by him which might provide a more plausible foundation for his basic insights about persons.