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Kant's Political Writings (Cambridge Studies in the History and Theory of Politics) Hardcover – 2 May 1970


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (2 May 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521077176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521077170
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,932,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"For new students of Kant's political philosophy, Reiss's new edition is very helpful in offering an accessible but thorough editorial introduction to Kant's political thought; a fairly comprehensive selection of Kant's political work; and an up-to-date, detailed bibliography." Canadian Philosophical Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A new, expanded edition in which two important texts illustrating Kants's view of history are included for the first time. Also contains such useful student aids as notes on the texts and a comprehensive bibliography. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Whatever conception of the freedom of the will one may form in terms of metaphysics, the will's manifestations in the world of phenomena, i.e. human actions, are determined in accordance with natural laws, as is every other natural event. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Peter Coville on 13 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Better known for his long and difficult "critiques", Kant was also a truly brilliant essay writer. This collection comes with all the useful academic apparatus typical of this excellent series and is a wonderful collection on quite a variety of subjects : "What is enlightenment?" ; "Idea for a universal history..." ; "Perpetual peace" ; "What is orientation in thinking"...all minor classics! This is also the most accessible work of Kant and shouldn't pose any problems for anyone with a GCSE level education. Don't hesitate!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book for a course on the 'History of Political Thought', and it is quite honestly, not only great political philosophy by Kant, but also a very good collection, accompanied by a highly useful introduction and postscript (which goes into more specific detail) by Reiss.
Being more familiar with Kant's more esoteric writings such as the 'Critique of Pure Reason', I expected a dry jargon-laden (though brilliant) text which would be hard to get to grips with, but was surprised to find that this selection was not only easy to read, but also written very persuasively, and required little background knowledge of Kant;s other work on metaphysics/morals in order to comprehend it.

But the best thing about this text is the postscript, which is basically a condensed, yet still detailed, commentary providing relevant background on events in Kant's life (the few events that actually occured) and explains in concise detail the overriding themes of these works when taken as a whole.

I would recommend this book to any student contemplating buying the texts seperately, or just buying a couple of them - buy all of them in one volume, as these texts support each other and thoughts in one are often clarified by arguments in the others.

(*note that this selection does not include the whole of the 'Metaphysics of Morals', only around half of it).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fabmark on 30 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kant takes his ethical teachings and applies them to the world of politics, sometimes highly illuminatingly, sometimes perhaps more disturbingly.

As the originator of the Categorical Imperative, Kant establishes, as you would imagine, a set of a priori ground rules and structures for the morally just state, and it is here that he is illuminating and indeed can be seen as one of the godparents of the modern liberal constitutional polity. This practical application of the Categorical Imperative, one of the most obscure yet important concepts in the history of moral philosophy, also makes this key concept more approachable (very useful for those of us who had to fight their way through the Critique of Practical Reason).

As always with Kant however, there is a conflict with some of his more-teleologically based doctrines and here that conflict is more pronounced than elsewhere in his writings - and this is where he is more disturbing than insightful. The idea that even the gravest shortcomings of human history and society are somehow leading us to the ideals he outlines would not only seem to conflict with the freedom that his ethical doctrines open up for humanity, but also to pre-figure some of the worst aspects of Hegelian historicism.

As for the quality of this edition, it is as per usual with this series, excellent, and the postscript provides a useful summary and set of topics to reflect on.
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By Paola R. on 17 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the books is in book conditions although it's been worked through (loads of hand writing in 2 sections in particular)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Best collection I've seen in English 19 Dec 1999
By Steven J. Heikkila - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the best affordable paperback collection of Kant's essays on politics and the philosophy of history. You get Perpetual Peace, Idea for a Universal History, Contest of the Faculties, The End of all Things, Theory and Practice, What is Enlightenment and several other essays. Hans Reiss' introduction is well written and illuminating as well. There is another, cheaper collection published by Hackett Publishing Co. (Perpetual Peace and Other Essays). However, it is smaller and less comprehensive than this edition.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A very useful substitute for the common image on Kant 24 Aug 2012
By N. Coppedge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most students are pounded with the same material over and over again. The categorical imperative, with that understanding, is never so original as it is projected in these essays. The context of political thought is a neglected area that certainly must be considered a part of Kant's working process. I believe the essay on Universal Peace in particular brings neglected areas to light, about a kind of categorical perspective not only on class systems (opportunity, viability, flexibility speaking in intuitive terms) but also the natural order, and how nature intuitively reflects the rational mind's categories.

I would highlight that categorical thought is the crowning achievement of Immanuel Kant, and as such one or two of these essays are very useful in the appreciation of that area. Even so, although these essays are relatively lucid (by comparison to the Critique of Pure Reason, some may disagree with me, preferring his most popular form of language) most of these essays were not wholely enlightening. But by the standard of the excessive consistency of most works about Kant, the striking impression is one of originality and ingenuity not encountered elsewhere in his work.

For the most part, these essays have not been available to students of Kant's work. Consequently, I recommend this book as necessary to any student of Kant, because of its breadth and inclusiveness.

Another possible book to pursue in the area of categorical knowledge is my own book, The Dimensional Philosopher's Toolkit, which outlines the method of categorical deduction as an expansion on Kant's imperatives, to areas other than ethics, and as a kind of information theory. While my book is less specialized and academic than Kant's book, in some ways it has more technical things to say. Nonetheless Kant's book is recommended for its importance in the study, historical or otherwise, of Kant's under-riding theories.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The ideas in this book are revolutionary!! 16 Jun 2008
By dirtymc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The ideas that Immanuel Kant wrote about are truly groundbreaking. The concept of a cosmopolitan existence can arguably be seen in the existense of the European Union. Really amazing stuff! Now you may ask "why then are there only four stars?". The reason that I have given this book four stars is that it captured Kant's words beautifully, but somehow forgot to dissect their meaning for the reader. The concept of rights can be very confusing and without a thorough explanation can leave the passive reader (and for that matter even an active reader at times)confused and frustrated. The price for the book itself is reasonable and I feel that it most definately will give you your money's worth.
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not my type of book,. 13 Feb 2013
By Adam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't the type of book i would list as light reading. It was for a class, and went well. Book was in great condition.
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