Kant and the Environment

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The lack of due attention to the environment in the (Kantian) Western analytic philosophical canon is, this paper starts by arguing, puzzling and disturbing. Exploring reasons why and how philosophy lost its way regarding the environment, as well as the question of how to envision better ideals within a Kantian framework, is the topic of Part 1. I set the stage by drawing on relevant ideas from the work of Hannah Arendt before turning to Kantian scholarship and Kant’s practical philosophy explicitly. Part 2 pushes the analysis further by proposing that, contrary to what many think, modern environmental disasters and modern oppression are not independent phenomena; they are, rather, interrelated. Hence, not only has modernity driven the destruction of the environment (biological life and natural earthly phenomena), but it has also resulted in the subjection of any group of people whose way of life is existentially deeply influenced by, appreciative of, or admiring of earthly being to new levels of suffering, the worst of which are best described as totalizing living death. To bring the existential suffering, especially of oppressed people, attendant to modern environmental destruction into the purview of Kantian philosophy, I propose we revisit and redeploy Kant’s account of depravity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages21
JournalStudi Kantiani
StatePublished - 2022


  • Immanuel Kant
  • Environment
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Modernity
  • human nature
  • European colonialism
  • evil


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