Dino Galli

Illumination and Secrecy in Kant, Between Ethics and Politics

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This essay aims to analyse the status of secrecy in Kant’s moral and political philosophy. The first part of the essay follows the development of the notion of Publizität and shows how the two formulations of the principle of publicity (especially the second, positive, one) determine the exclusion of secrecy from political activity. The second part of the essay shows how the principle of publicity also applies in the ethical sphere, although various forms of secrecy (such as reticence and discretion) are considered by Kant to be ethically permissible and, in certain circumstances, obligatory, because of the distinction between truthfulness (Wahrhaftigkeit) and candour (Offenherzigkeit).


  • Kant
  • Secrecy
  • Publicity
  • Truthfulness


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