Kant and Modern Political Philosophy

Flikschuh, Katrin, Kant and Modern Political Philosophy, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.


“It is a central claim of this book that the absorption of cots political thoughts into contemporary liberalism is partial at best. In many respects, cuts departures from contemporary liberalism are more interesting philosophically and more instructive political he then are the points of convergence between them. The idea of freedom is a case in point. It is true that Rawls’ Kantian conception of the free and equal moral person has had a major impact on the traditional liberal understanding of individual freedom, especially regarding its function in relation to  political justification. If  classical liberalism tended to view individual freedom as a natural right of each against each to unconstrained choice and action, Rawls’ use of Kant affirms a strong connection between freedom, practical reasoning, and political justification. Liberals now think of individual freedom as a moral capacity rather than as a natural right; instead of construing it narrowly in terms of the rationality of individual choice, individual freedom is regarded as a prerequisite to possible social cooperation between individuals. This shift from a predominantly antagonistic, political conception of freedom to a predominantly cooperative, moral account is Kantian up to a point.  2 qualifications are, however, in order. The first is that the current absorption of cocks into mainstream liberalism is based almost exclusively on counts ethical writings, that is on the Ground Work and, to a lesser extent the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s political writings especially the Rechtslehre,  continue to be neglected by contemporary liberals. Secondly, current perceptions of Kant are premised on an explicit rejection of counts practical metaphysics. The emphasis is on Kantian moral philosophy without Kantian metaphysics.”