Selected and introduced by Corey W. Dyck, on behalf of the editors
This year, Kantian Review will complete its 25th volume. Since its founding in 1997, the journal has published leading scholarship in every area of Kant studies, by authors throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. Of course, 2020 has also seen the world confronted with the dual crises of a global pandemic and systemic racism: the former a fast-developing challenge unprecedented in our lifetime, and the latter a longstanding problem the pervasiveness of which has been made undeniable through the recent murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. Though unrelated in nature, these crises are nonetheless intertwined in their effects as it has now been well documented that communities of colour have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.
This virtual special issue of Kantian Review has been curated by way of demonstrating the continuing relevance of Kantian thinking in a time dominated by these twin crises. Each of the previously published articles that it contains has been selected for its illustration of a fruitful way in which philosophers who share Kantian commitments—to the dignity of humanity, to the continual need for humility concerning our appraisals of our own virtue, to optimism concerning the arc of progress in history, to the public character of morality, and to civility and hospitality as an antidote for tribalism and xenophobia—might engage with our current challenges. In addition, the author of the original article has been invited to submit a new, brief paragraph by way of resituating their piece within the current context, and these can be found in the remainder of this introduction.
Yet, of the many challenges, philosophical and otherwise, that Kant engaged with, it may well be suspected that his thinking could bear little relevance to those that we are currently facing, particularly given his own racism and his contributions to the development of scientific racial thinking. There is no question that, quite apart from debates regarding the extent to which this may be ameliorated by doctrines expressed in his later writings, the present moment has nonetheless made clear that Kant scholars have to reckon with Kant’s own failings on matters of race in particular and with the extent to which this may penetrate key aspects of his philosophy. While this is not the purview of this special virtual issue, it is in any case a discussion that the editors of Kantian Review will welcome and indeed encourage to take place within its pages going forward.