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On revolution in Kant and Marx

Ypi, Lea (2014) On revolution in Kant and Marx. Political Theory, 42 (3). 262 - 287. ISSN 0090-5917

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0090591714523138


This essay compares the thoughts of Kant and Marx on revolution. It focuses in particular on two issues: the contribution of revolutionary enthusiasm to the cause of emancipatory political agents and its educative role in illustrating the possibility of progress for future generations. In both cases, it is argued, the defence of revolution is offered in the context of illustrating the possibility of moral progress for the species, even if not for individual human beings, and brings out the centrality of collective agency in moving toward universal moral goals. Discussing the implications of these points is of significant historical interest: it allows us to defend an interpretation of Kant’s political thought which is sensitive to the material conditions of historical development and to rescue Marx from an amoral reading of his philosophy of history. Reflecting on the role and preconditions of transformative collective agency is also of normative interest: it allows us to better evaluate the significance of political events that, firstly, re-shape the boundaries of political feasibility and, secondly, play a crucial educative role in motivating future progressive initiatives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2016 12:07
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:13

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