Monday, 10 August 2009

Publicity (II)

The first set of postings on the topic of publicity centred on the use of the formulas of publicity in Perpetual Peace. The reason for beginning with this was that it was with the negative formula given there that Axel Gosseries focused discussion in his article on the topic for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. As shown in the last set of postings on this topic the treatment of both the examples in Perpetual Peace and the exclusive focus on the negative formula are distinct limitations of Gosseries' analysis. However, not only is this the case but the discussion of publicity by Kant is much wider than would be suggested by just looking at the role of these formulas in Perpetual Peace. (Perpetual Peace itself would also require a much longer analysis than is suggested by just focusing on these formulas.)

In addition to Perpetual Peace, Kant also discusses publicity notably in What Is Enlightenment?, his essay on the unauthorized publication of books, the account of the French Revolution in The Conflict of the Faculties, the account of sensus communis in the Critique of Judgment and, most importantly of all, in the Doctrine of Right. In fact, as will become clearer when we eventually look at the Doctrine of Right, understanding the role of publicity in Kant's account of Right will be essential to the interpretation of Kant's overall political philosophy. Not only is this the case but the examples we treated in Perpetual Peace are also re-treated in these other works with some marked distinctions involved between the varied treatments in different works. So to form a response to Kant's view of publicity will require investigation both of the treatments of it in these different works and an account of the relationship of the works to each other. All of this suggests that, whilst responding to Gosseries' article was suggestive for a beginning treatment of publicity, there is much serious philosophical work that goes beyond that article's analysis.

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