Kant and the Practical Man

Reinterpreting the Appendix to Toward Perpetual Peace

In: Danish Yearbook of Philosophy
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


The Appendix to Kant’s Toward Perpetual Peace is commonly viewed as an explication of the systematic relations between political practice and normative political theory. This paper provides an alternative interpretation of Kant’s main aim in the Appendix which is to provide an argument against the so-called “practical man.” The practical man believes that human nature precludes normative political ideals from ever playing a significant role within political practice. Drawing on the 1793 text “On the common saying: That may be correct in theory, but is of no use in practice,” the paper argues that Kant’s argument against the practical man is based on a proto-phenomenological analysis of moral experience. The practical man’s attempt to describe political practice in purely non-normative terms is, Kant believes, necessarily self-undermining because it denies one of the most basic aspects of human life; the inherent and inescapable normativity of practical reason.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 192 40 15
Full Text Views 222 21 0
PDF Views & Downloads 107 48 0