Kant and the Problem of History

Galston, W. Kant and the Problem of History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

From a review:

“It may be argued that modern political thought has been primarily concerned with defending or discovering meaning in political life in the face of pervasive and the solvent skepticism engendered by post-Newtonian science and encouraged by increasingly rapid social and economic transformations produced by technological dynamism. The idea of history is certainly the principal contribution of modern political thinking to this delaying (or salvaging) action.

It is with this idea of history that Galston is concerned, and specifically with one of the chief “philosophical moments” in which the idea came into being….His book is largely an explication of bananas doctrine of history together with an examination of some of its implications. A faithful intellectual historian, gallstone devotes a good deal of space to elucidating the intellectual context within which banana roots, unraveling a piece of the seamless web of history. Thus he devotes a chapter to Rousseau’s inconclusive attempts to reconcile morality and science through the idea of man’s essence as freedom or unlimited potentiality. This notion of human nature was largely without content and thus incompatible with science; at the same time it allowed  for the emergence of civil, moral man with the passage of time. Man’s rationality and his very humanity thus became products of history. Rousseauian  freedom thus provided the ground, the necessary condition, for history.”

Review by Colin Campbell, in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol 9, Issue 03.