Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 March 2021
This chapter examines the relationship between Kant’s political thought and that of Elise Reimarus (1735-1805), a prominent member of the Hamburg Enlightenment. Kant and Reimarus both ground their political philosophies on the concept of freedom. Yet, although Kant grounds his political philosophy on freedom, he also controversially claims that people must live in obedience to unjust states and may not rebel against them. This chapter argues against a prior interpretation from Curtis-Wendlandt that assimilates Elise Reimarus’s own views regarding rebellion to those of Kant. The chapter argues that Elise Reimarus’s views regarding rebellion differ significantly from Kant’s own and provide an interesting 18th-century alternative for people attracted to Kant’s emphasis on freedom but skeptical of his views regarding obedience and rebellion.
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