Kant’s Menschheit and Its Interpretations

Vadim Chaly


This paper offers a contextual, textual and conceptual study of Kant’s notion of humanity and its current interpretations. Its argument is directed against the interpretation of humanity as merely “the capacity to set oneself an end - any end whatsoever”. Kant’s sources, his usage of the word ‘Menschheit’ and its conceptual functions suggest a more complex reading that includes not only individualist (‘any end whatsoever’), but also collectivist, essentialist and personalist meanings. These four meanings are separated – and brought together – by insurmountable metaphysical divides between the phaenomenal and the noumenal, as well as between part and whole. The paper begins by a survey of recent interpretations, then proceeds to explicate the contextual background for Kant’s concept, then draws attention to various use ‘Menschheit’ finds in Kant’s texts. The conclusion points at the potential Kant’s substantial and complex notion of humanity has for enriching our understanding of many pressing issues of today.

Palabras clave

humanity; individualism; collectivism; essentialism; personalism

Texto completo:



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DOI (HTML): https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5776039

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