Cover image for Unnecessary evil : history and moral progress in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant
Unnecessary evil : history and moral progress in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant
Anderson-Gold, Sharon, 1947-
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiii, 138 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


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B2799.E8 .A63 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Demonstrates the systematic connection between Kant's ethics and his philosophy of history.

Author Notes

Sharon Anderson-Gold is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Kant championed individual autonomy, but in his Religion Within the Limits of Pure Reason, he says that man is radically evil. Many readers of Kant, including Goethe, have found Kant's claims contradictory, but in her first book Anderson-Gold reconciles them. In her view, Kant thought that radical evil was a social phenomenon. It arises from the fact that people live in society and does not as such limit freedom of choice. Autonomy can thus coexist in peace with radical evil. But evil cannot effectively be opposed by uncoordinated action. The good is for Kant a matter that demands collective resolution; in deciding on a proper course of conduct, one cannot rely on the vagaries of individual assessment. Artfully reconciling Kant's ethics and pholosopy of history, this well-written book makes an important contribution to understanding the former and is highly recommended.DDavid Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: Brief History of the Criticism of Moral Progress in Historyp. 1
1 Purposiveness and Cognitionp. 13
2 From Autonomy to Radical Evil: The Social Context of Virtue and Vicep. 25
3 Radical Evil and the Ethical Commonwealthp. 33
4 Cultural Differentiation: The Origins of Historyp. 53
5 Purposiveness and Political Progress Law, and Human Rightsp. 85
Conclusionp. 101
Notesp. 111
Bibliographyp. 127
Indexp. 131