Kantian Conversations (Virtually Speaking): Sofie Møller: “Whose Progress? Kant on Cultural Hierarchy and Human Development” (27 May, 15:00-17:00 GMT))

We are glad to give notice that the second seminar of the online seminar series “Kantian Conversations (Virtually Speaking)” of the ECPR Standing Group on Kantian Political Thought will be given by Sofie Møller (Frankfurt) on Whose Progress? Kant on Cultural Hierarchy and Human Development, on 27 May, 15:00 – 17:00 GMT (16:00 – 18:00 CET). Commentator will be Chris Meckstroth (Cambridge). The seminar series is co-organised by Macarena Marey (CONICET), Zachary Vereb (University of Mississippi), and Christoph Hanisch (Ohio University).

For further information, please visit the ECPR website.

To join the seminar, please complete and submit the online form.



For Kant, history shows humanity progressing toward perfection. Yet this progress need not include all human beings; it is enough for certain individuals in certain cultures to advance while others are left behind. The vocation of the individual is to be part of the overall development which Kant conceives in analogy with a single organism. He describes humanity’s cultural development in three stages: hunter societies, pastoral societies and agricultural societies. This cultural history is the background of Kant’s description of certain peoples as lazy savages and their cultures as lacking in discipline, which he sees as a necessary condition of progress.

In this talk, speaker Sofie Møller investigates the problematic role of culture as the connection between nature and freedom and shows how the role played by culture in forwarding human progress intertwines with Kant’s description of a racial hierarchy and supplements it with a hierarchy of cultural development.

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