Macquarie University
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Kantian philosophy of history: teleology, anthropology and cosmopolitanism in “Idea for a universal history with a cosmopolitan aim” (1784)

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posted on 2022-03-28, 23:58 authored by Brendan Paul Burnett
This thesis is a work in the history of philosophy and philosophy of history of Immanuel Kant. It provides a reading of Kant’s Idea for a Universal History witha Cosmopolitan Aim (1784) as a theoretical philosophical history which is intended to be practical. The thesis may be broken down into five parts. In the Introduction, the argument of the Idea essay is introduced and summarised. In Chapter One (Universal History), a definition of universal history as a theory of the natural teleology of human action is defended. In Chapter Two (Social Antagonism), the counterintuitive concept of unsociable sociability is explained as a mechanism for human development through conflict. In Chapter Three (Cosmopolitan Constitution), the concept of the civil constitution is explained as a step towards the cosmopolitan political order envisioned by Kant. In the Conclusion, the thesis is summarised and a brief philosophical evaluation of the Idea essay is proposed.


Table of Contents

Chapter One. Universal history -- Chapter Two. Social antagonism -- Chapter Three. Cosmopolitan constitution -- Conclusion -- Bibliography.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 79-85

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Michael J. Olson


Copyright Brendan Paul Burnett 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (85 pages)

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