Kant on the Highest Moral-Physical Good: The Social Aspect of Kant's Moral Philosophy

Kantian Review 15 (1):1-36 (2010)
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Abstract

Kant identifies the “highest moral-physical good” as that combination of “good living” and “true humanity” which best harmonises in a “good meal in good company”. Why does Kant privilege the dinner party in this way? By examining Kant’s accounts of enlightenment, cosmopolitanism, love and respect, and gratitude and friendship, the answer to this question becomes clear. Kant’s moral ideal is that of an enlightened and just cosmopolitan human being who feels and acts with respect and love for all persons and such an ideal is temporarily manifested in the sort of social interaction achievable at a good dinner party.

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Paul Formosa
Macquarie University

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