The Early Post-Kantians

The early post-Kantians wrote in the aftermath of Kant’s pathbreaking contributions to moral philosophy—the 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and the 1788 Critique of Practical Reason. These works were widely regarded as inaugurating a revolution in practical philosophy: In opposition to previous philosophers, Kant argued that the principles of morality were not to be sought in an innate moral sense or in the commands of a transcendent God, but in human rationality and freedom. Although Kant inaugurated a revolution, he did not – at least not initially – fully explain its implications for the ‘philosophy of right’ (legal and political philosophy) or provide an unambiguous account of its implications for political practice. The early post-Kantians saw it as their task to complete Kant’s revolution in practical philosophy by deepening his account of morality and by developing an authentically Kantian legal and political philosophy. 

J.G. Fichte

E. Reimarus

A.W. Rehberg

G. Hufeland

F. Gentz

F. Schiller

F.W.J. Schelling

J. Möser

P.J.A. Feuerbach

S. Maimon

F. Schlegel

T. Schmalz

K.L. Reinhold

J.B. Erhard

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