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KANT'S FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS

Leo Rauch and Lieselotte Anderson

The three works recorded here articulate the most fundamental principles of Kant's ethical worldview. "What is Enlightenment?" (1784) and "Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals" (1785) were written in the period between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. "Toward Lasting Peace" was published ten years later, after the French Revolution had turned sour. It foreshadowed the conceptual groundwork for the League of Nations and the United Nations. Taken together they challenge all free people to think about the requirements for self-determination both in our individual lives and in our public and private institutions. According to Kant, freedom of thought leads naturally to freedom of action. When that happens, governments begin to treat human beings, not as machines, but as persons with dignity.

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