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Besides the Categorical Imperative, what important political philosophy did Immanuel...

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amerie | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:27 AM via web

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Besides the Categorical Imperative, what important political philosophy did Immanuel Kant contribute to the pool of common knowledge about govenment?

Looking for his more practical and less dogmatic ideas.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM (Answer #1)

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Kant's ideas on politics are very similar to those of other Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke.  He stressed, for example, freedom as the only moral basis for a government.  As an outgrowth of this idea, Kant was a strong proponent of the idea of limited government.  This is his most important idea that might be called "practical" rather than philosophical.

Kant believed that a government needed to have a written constitution.  This constitution needed to protect the rights of its citizens from government violations.  He believed that a government could not simply be given unlimited powers.  Instead, those powers had to be limited by the rules set out in the constitution.   Similarly, Kant did not believe in direct democracy.  This, he felt, would be too likely to allow the majority to tyrannize others.  Instead, he believed that a system needed to be set up in which there would be checks on the power of the majority.  Kant's major point of view with regard to government, then, was that government must be limited by a written constitution so that it could not violate the rights of its people.


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