Where to begin? First, we must point out Wilder Publications’ strange certainty that a hypothetical Kant of today would express his ideas in tolerant and liberal language. The supposition has the effect of patronizing the dead philosopher and of absolving him of any responsibility for his blind spots and prejudices, assuming that he meant well but was simply a blinkered and unfortunate “product” of his time.
But who’s to say that Kant didn’t damn well mean his comments that offend our sensibilities today, and wouldn’t still mean them now were he somehow resurrected and forced to update his major works? Moreover, why assume that all current readers of Kant do not share his more repugnant views? Secondly, who is this edition for? Philosopher Brian Leiter, who brought this to our attention, humorously titles it “Kant’s 3 Critiques—rated PG-13.” One would hope that any young person precocious enough to read Kant would have the ability to recognize historical context and to approach critically statements that sound unethical, bigoted, or scientifically dated to her modern ears. One would hope parents buying Kant for their kids could do the same without chiding from publishers.