Kant's Pragmatic Anthropology

Its Origin, Meaning, and Critical Significance

By Holly L. Wilson

Subjects: History Of Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791468500, 180 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791468494, 180 pages, August 2006

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Table of contents

Key to References, Sources, Abbreviations, and Translations
Table of the Moral and Natural Destinies of Human Beings
1. The Rise and Origin of Kant’s Lectures on Anthropology

The Physical Geography Lectures and the Rise of the Anthropology Lectures
The Debate Concerning the Origin of Kant’s Anthropology Lectures
Did Kant Intend His Anthropology Lectures be Empirical Psychology?

2. The Character and Content of the Anthropology

The Meaning of Pragmatic Anthropology
Teleological Clues in the Characteristic of Kant’s Anthropology

3. Kant’s Theory of Human Nature
4. Kant’s Theory of Human Nature as Natural Predispositions

The Predisposition to Animality
Evolutionary Theory and Animality
The Technical Predisposition
The Pragmatic Predisposition to Humanity
The Moral Predisposition
Education and the Predispositions
Kant’s Theory of Education and Behaviorism

5. The Critical Foundations of the Anthropology

Teleology as a Research Program
The Critical Faculty of Teleological Judgment
Pleasure and Displeasure
Nature Does Nothing in Vain

6. Kant’s Pragmatic Anthropology as Popular Philosophy

Is Popular Philosophy a Noble Endeavor?


The first comprehensive examination in English of Kant’s Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.


This book offers the first account in English of the origin, meaning, and critical significance of Immanuel Kant's Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Kant's book is not empirical psychology, but rather a type of cosmopolitan philosophy meant to teach students to think for themselves and thus be free to actualize their full human destiny. Author Holly L. Wilson innovatively explores how the "philosophical anthropology" exhibited in Kant's Anthropology challenges contemporary theories of human nature, including behaviorism and evolutionary theory. She also details how Kant based his work on the critically grounded faculty of teleological judgment and how this type of philosophy of experience is consistent with Kant's overall critical theory. The portrait of Kant that emerges is one of a humane teacher who cared about his students and their acquisition of prudence and wisdom.

Holly L. Wilson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.