Humanity’s Moral Trajectory: Rossi on Kantian Critique


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After summarizing the content of Philip Rossi’s book, The Ethical Commonwealth in History: Peace-Making as the Moral Vocation of Humanity, I pose two main questions. First, does politics or religion play a more important role in Kant’s philosophy when it comes to the task of ushering humanity to the realization of its ultimate vocation, the establishment of a lasting peace for human society? I argue that Kant portrays politics as a means to a religious end, whereas Rossi tends to reverse their Kantian order of priority. Second, what concrete details does Kant give in defense of his theory that establishing an ethical community is a universal duty of humankind? As Rossi tends to overlook Kant’s details, I provide an overview. Kant argues that the ethical community can only be established in the form of a church and that the rational content constituting the core of the true church consists of four requirements: universality, integrity, freedom, and unchangeableness. After challenging Rossi’s claim that Kantian hope is necessarily social, I conclude with two minor questions: Is Kant’s theory of human nature dualist or monist? and Must the church create a political form of peace that applies to all human beings?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1900
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Issue number5
Early online date27 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Church
  • Ethical commonwealth or ethical community
  • Hope
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Religion and politics
  • War and peace


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