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Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
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date: 12 April 2024

p. 45124. Kantlocked

p. 45124. Kantlocked

  • Katrin A. Flikschuh


This chapter examines the political ideas of Immanuel Kant. Kant is widely regarded as a precursor to current political liberalism. There are many aspects of Kant's political philosophy, including his property argument, that remain poorly understood and unjustly neglected. Many other aspects, including his cosmopolitanism, reveal Kant as perhaps one of the most systematic and consistent political thinkers. Underlying all these aspects of his political philosophy is an abiding commitment to his epistemological method of transcendental idealism. After providing a short biography of Kant, this chapter considers his epistemology as well as the relationship between virtue and justice in his practical philosophy. It also explores a number of themes in Kant's political thinking, including the idea of external freedom, the nature of political obligation, the vindication of property rights, the denial of a right to revolution, and the cosmopolitan scope of Kantian justice.

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