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