The Progress of Absolutism in Kant's essay What is Enlightenment?

In Elisabeth Ellis (ed.), Kant's Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications. Pennsylvania State University Press (2012)
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Abstract
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this chapter that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers but also a representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest.
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2012-01-24

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