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:



Caygill, Howard. 1995. A Kant Dictionary. Wiley.

Dean, Richard. 2006. The Value of Humanity in Kant’s Moral Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Eisler, Rudolf. 1930. Kant-Lexikon: Nachschlagewerk zu Kants sämtlichen Schriften, Briefen und handschriftlichem Nachlass. Hildesheim, Zurich, New York: G. Olms.

Gerhardt, Volker. 2009. “Die Menschheit in der Person des Menschen. Zur Anthropologie der menschlichen Würde bei Kant.” In Kant und die Zukunft der europäischen Aufklärung, edited by Heiner Klemme, 269–91. De Gruyter. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110217285.2.269/pdf.

Glasgow, Joshua. 2007. “Kant’s Conception of Humanity.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2): 291–308. https://doi.org/10.1353/hph.2007.0033.

Guyer, Paul. 2005. Kant’s System of Nature and Freedom : Selected Essays. Clarendon Press.

Hill, Thomas E. 1980. “Humanity as an End in Itself.” Ethics 91 (1): 84–99. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2380373.

Kant, Immanuel. 1996a. Religion and Rational Theology. Edited by Allen W. Wood and George Di Giovani. Cambridge University Press.

———. 1996b. Practical Philosophy. Edited and translated by Mary J. Gregor. Cambridge University Press.

———. 2007. Anthropology, History, and Education. Edited by Günter Zöller and Robert B. Louden. Translated by Mary J. Gregor, Paul Guyer, Robert B. Louden, Holly L. Wilson, Allen W. Wood, Günter Zöller, and Arnulf Zweig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

———. 2012. Kant: Natural Science. Edited by Eric Watkins. Translated by Martin Schönfeld, Jeffrey B. Edwards, Olaf Reinhardt, and Lewis White Beck. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Klemme, Heiner, ed. 2000. Reception of the Scottish Enlightenment in Germany: six significant translations, 1755-1782. Thoemmes.

Korsgaard, Christine M. 1986. “Kant’s Formula of Humanity.” Kant-Studien 77 (1–4): 183–202. https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.1986.77.1-4.183.

———. 1996. The Sources of Normativity. Cambridge University Press.

Kuhn, Thomas S. 1993. “Metaphor in Science.” In Metaphor and Thought, edited by Andrew Ortony, 2nd ed., 533–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139173865.024.

Møller, Sofie. 2020. Kant’s Tribunal of Reason: Legal Metaphor and Normativity in the Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108682480.

Pocock, J. G. A. 1997. “Enthusiasm: The Antiself of Enlightenment.” Huntington Library Quarterly 60 (1/2): 7–28. https://doi.org/10.2307/3817830.

Printy, Michael. 2013. “The Determination of Man: Johann Joachim Spalding and the Protestant Enlightenment.” Journal of the History of Ideas 74 (2): 189–212. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43291298.

Rawls, John. 1999. A Theory of Justice. Revised edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Redekop, Benjamin W. 1999. Enlightenment and Community. McGill-Queen’s Press - MQUP.

Schönfeld, Martin, and Michael Thompson. 2014. “Kant’s Philosophical Development.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Winter 2014. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/kant-development/.

Thorpe, Lucas. 2015. The Kant Dictionary. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Willaschek, Marcus, Jürgen Stolzenberg, Georg Mohr, and Stefano Bacin. 2015. Kant-Lexikon. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110443998.

Wood, Allen W. 2008. Kantian Ethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Zammito, John H. 2017. The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling. University of Chicago Press.

Zöller, Günter. 2001. “Die Bestimmung Der Bestimmung Des Menschen Bei Mendelssohn Und Kant.” In Kant Und Die Berliner AufklärungAkten Des IX. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. Bd. I: Hauptvorträge. Bd. II: Sektionen I-V. Bd. III: Sektionen VI-X: Bd. IV: Sektionen XI-XIV. Bd. V: Sektionen XV-XVIII, Reprint 2013. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110874129.2458.

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

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Creative Commons by-nc 3.0 Logo

ISSN: 2386-7655

URL: http://con-textoskantianos.net

  Scimago Journal & Country Rankscopus logo


DOAJ LogoErih Plus LogoCitefactor logoredib Logo

LatIndex LogoISOC Logo MIAR Logo
MLA LogoZenodo Logo
ESCI LogoEBSCO LOGOWeb of Science