Kant in Auschwitz: morality and institutions



The article examines the problems with moral interaction raised where systematic state violence substitutes the institutions of law. It is argued that practical deeds, because of presupposed unity of subjective willing and objective moral aim, need some publicity principles of normativity which can be realized in social and political institutions. If, therefore, regulative rules could not be based upon unity of the will of a community of possible moral actors, the core of categorical imperative would be deprived of its universal positive lawmaking power. The author issues the challenge, what if Kant himself could follow his ethical prescriptions having no rights and sufficient trust between him and his participants in a moral deal, i.e. in the realm of total unpublicity. A kind of such possibility was entirely fulfilled in conditions of concentration camps. The camp world, the so called death-world,
existed as absolute privacy without structures of solidarity and criteria of human dignity. A world like this ruins institutions for self-realization of a rational human moral nature, as reason itself. It is suggested that Kant’s idea of anthroponomy may involve, albeit not worked-out enough, a good ground to connect subjective freedom with both (a) the metaphysics of morality and (b) nonremovability of political struggle.

Author Biography

Vyacheslav Tsyba, Nizhyn Gogol State University

PhD, Assistant Professor of History and Law Sciences Department


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How to Cite

Tsyba, V. (2016). Kant in Auschwitz: morality and institutions. Filosofska Dumka, (1), 64–74. Retrieved from https://dumka.philosophy.ua/index.php/fd/article/view/3



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