‘A Superior Anthropological Perspective.’ On Kant’s Anthropo-cosmological Conception of Ideal (279-291)

Fernando Silva

ABSTRACT: The topic of the ideal, that is, the topic of the possible or impossible human attainment of the absolute is ascribed divergent treatments throughout Kant’s work. Namely, it is either promptly accepted as possible by the critical Kant, and seen as something attainable by a means other than an infinite approximation (which would indeed imply a violation of autonomy, but denies the genuineness of the ideal), or it is rejected as impossible by the non-critical Kant, that is, it is seen as something attainable only through an infinite approximation (which would involve an unconditional acceptance of heteronomy, but safeguards the authenticity of an aspiration to the ideal). Yet, the topic of the ideal receives a new, if not conciliatory, at least mutually explanatory approach in Kant’s Anthropology. Here – such is our proposition – Kant proposes a terminus medius between both conceptions of ideal, insofar as he is led to ponder on the mutual benefits of an autonomic possibility and an heteronomic impossibility of an infinite progression in thought; something which Kant proposes under the form of an almost-infinite, or an almost perennial, yet finite duration, to be endured until the attainment of an almost unreachable, yet indeed reachable practical ideal. A terminus medius which, we hope to prove, is none other than that at the root of Kant’s proposition of Pragmatic Anthropology as a mediating science in Kant’s fundamental scheme of human knowledges, and which therefore may be ultimately seen as the embodiment of Kant’s anthropo-cosmological, or indeed cosmopolitical dimension of thought, as expressed in Kant’s political and/or historical writings.

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