Rationality as

Pragmatic Worldly Prudence:

Kant’s Anthropology

and the Modern Social Sciences

DFG Project, May 2021 – April 2024

Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute of Philosophy

Chair of Modern Philosophy (Prof. Dr. Marcus Willaschek)

The physical geography which I am announcing hereby belongs to an idea which I make myself of a useful academic instruction and which I may call the preliminary exercise in the knowledge of the world. This knowledge of the world serves to procure the pragmatic element for all otherwise acquired sciences and skills, by means of which they become useful not merely for the school but rather for life and through which the accomplished apprentice is introduced to the stage of his destiny, namely, the world).


  — Kant, Of the Different Races of Human Beings (1775/1777), AA II: 443

The human being wills concord; but nature knows better what is good for his species: it wills discord. He wills to live comfortably and contentedly; but nature wills that out of sloth and inactive contentment he should throw himself into labor and toils, so as, on the contrary, prudently to find out the means to pull himself again out of the latter.


— Kant, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim (1784), AA VIII: 21

Until now, however, the concept of philosophy has been only a scholastic concept, namely that of a system of cognition that is sought only as a science without having as its end anything more than the systematic unity of this knowledge, thus the logical perfection of cognition. But there is also a cosmopolitan concept (conceptus cosmicus) that has always grounded this term, especially when it is, as it were, personified and represented as an archetype in the ideal of the philosopher.


— Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (2nd ed., 1787), AA III: 542

It is a duty to oneself as well as to others not to isolate oneself (separatistam agere) but to use one’s moral perfections in social intercourse (officium commercii, sociabilitas).


— Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals (1797), AA VI: 473

The human being is destined by his reason to live in a society with human beings and in it to cultivate himself, to civilize himself, and to moralize himself by means of the arts and sciences.


— Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (1798), AA VII: 324-325

18.07.2024 – 19.07.2024

Workshop „Kant’s Applications of Reason in Interplay”



06.07.2023 – 08.07.2023

Workshop „Kant’s Anthropology and the Modern Social Sciences”




29.09.2022 – 01.10.2022

Workshop “Kant’s Anthropology and the Genesis of the Social Sciences”




August 2022

Alexey ZhavoronkovKant’s Pragmatic Use of Reason from a Sociological Point of View: Third Way or Methodological Impasse?



© Alexey Salikov, Thomas Sturm, Alexey Zhavoronkov 2022-2024