Kant’s non-defense of classical liberalism — my article for Cato Unbound

In the Cato Unbound series, my article “Does Kant Have a Place in Classical Liberalism?” is now up.

Here, courtesy of editor Jason Kuznicki, is an abstract:

Stephen R. C. Hicks argues that if our case for liberty comes from a mysterious other realm, then perhaps we have no case at all. He describes how this was true of Kant’s idea of freedom, which proceeded from the noumenal realm – a realm whose very existence Hicks, like most others, denies. It should be little surprise, then, that Kant himself was a racist, a sexist, a foe of the “commercial spirit,” an enemy of smallpox vaccines, and in many other key respects a proponent of human bondage. Kant’s idea of freedom was otherworldly, and as a result, freedom in this world can be restricted without doing any injury to the “true” freedom of the individuals in question. Beginning from this foundation and proceeding to classical liberalism is arbitrary and unwarranted.

Previously, Mark White published his “Defending Kant’s Classical Liberalism” and Greg Salmieri published his “Is Kant the Ideal Statement of Classical Liberalism?” Forthcoming is an essay by Roderick Long, after which we four professors will discuss and debate themes and arguments in each others’ articles.


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