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BY 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2018

Radical and Moderate Enlightenment? The Case of Diderot and Kant

From the book Philosophy of Globalization

  • Roberto R. Aramayo


I propose the hypothesis that, just as Hume woke him from his dogmatic slumber, and Rousseau revealed the universe of morality to him, Diderot left his mark on the political philosophy of Kant (as George Cavallar and Sankar Muthu note) upon detecting the coincidences between the two authors regarding their cosmopolitanism and anti-i.mperialism. Here, I begin with the distinction between a radical Enlightenment and a moderate Enlightenment, in order to show that in Kant both tendencies could have coexisted; which would explain the different readings of his thought, as is borne witness to by Heine’s famous parable or Kant’s continual dialogue with Spinoza. Despite having very different styles, the Kant of the 1790s could have been strongly influenced by the anonymous Diderot of the Encyclopédie or the History of the Two Indies. It seems quite clear that the critique of colonialism of Diderot-Raynal could have had a notable influence on the Kant of that decade-he of Theory and Praxis, Perpetual Peace, The Conflict of the Faculties and the Doctrine of Right (that is, the second part of the Metaphysics of Morals).

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