Volume 70, 2018
Renaissance and Modern Philosophy
Kant’s Revolutionary Metaphysics as a New Policy of Reason
Kant’s critical project has been understood as a description of the functioning of knowledge (Strawson). Such an understanding of the first Critique seems however limited, especially if we consider Kant’s frequent use of political analogies. These analogies suggest another reading in which Kant’s critical project emerges as an attempt to overcome a state of nature in reason (marked by unavoidable conflict) through the institution of a legal state in and by reason itself. Seen in this perspective, Kant’s critical metaphysics can be considered revolutionary, because it assumes the issues of the two revolutions of modernity, the political and the scientific one: from the former, Kant adopts the conviction that a conflict can be settled only through the separation and reciprocal limitation of powers, as theorized by Locke and Montesquieu - and thus neither by force nor by the establishment of an absolute power; from the latter, he acquires a model of proof, which is based, not on description, but on the elaboration of an explicative hypothesis (of a condition of possibility). The Critique of Pure Reason, then, is not a mere treatise of epistemology or of descriptive metaphysics, but the attempt of setting up a policy of reason at the service of peace and civil communal life.