The Kantian Imperative: Humiliation, Common Sense, Politics


305 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-3882-4
DDC 193




Reviewed by Leonard Adams

Leonard Adams is a professor of French Studies at the University of


In a book not intended for readers uninitiated in the more complex
notions of ontology and politics, Saurette launches a detailed
re-examination of the ongoing debate over the main elements of Kantian
philosophy. He does not hesitate to probe the fundamental meaning of
Kant’s categorical imperative, the pros and cons of its many
interpretations, and its application to modern events. These are
exhaustively examined as the author pursues his principal objective,
which develops as a thorough analysis of Kant’s political thought, its
influence on contemporary thinkers, and the arguments of his disciples
and detractors.

Saurette’s book also provides perceptive synopses of Kant’s major
works, such as his Critique of Practical Reason. Among the wide range of
subjects discussed are the teaching of virtue and other similar issues,
which are carefully revisited, including arguments for and against the
use of humiliation and its effects on human beings, and Kant’s ideas
on the effectiveness of education and educational methods. A product of
intensive and extensive reading and reflection, this work requires
careful thought and much patience if it is to be fully appreciated.
Indeed, Saurette’s resolution of certain complicated problems becomes
more accessible if the reader is prepared to take the time to reread his
assertions from time to time. His discussion of subjects such as the
limits and nature of patriotism shows some interesting insights. The
occasional convoluted sentence does not diminish the usefulness of this
well-executed work.


Saurette, Paul., “The Kantian Imperative: Humiliation, Common Sense, Politics,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,