Kantian Journal

2014 Issue №4(50)

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Kant between liberalism and conservatism



Kant has a reputation of one of the chief proponents of political liberalism. However, some of his important ideas can qualify as conservative. Their consequences are reaching far enough to sug¬gest a reevaluation of Kant as an unconditional liberal. Kant's generally liberal understanding of aims and values of a political process (which is, however, quite remote from the pluralism and individualism of some contemporary theories) is balanced by his reservations concerning the prospects of their realization, based on his «empirical anthropology», which is remarkably close to conservative skepticism. Kant's liberalism lies in the domain that he called «pure» or «metaphysical», whereas his «empirical», «real-world» estimation of the prospects of liberal project is approaching conservatism.


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