Between the first two Critiques, Kant wrote what he called a “conjectural history” of the development of human freedom through a reading of Genesis. In the essay, reason itself is conceived of in terms of its “genesis,” and Kant primarily reads “Genesis” as an account of reason’s ascension or becoming. Just as humankind becomes itself through the Fall, so too does reason simultaneously come into its own. Adam indeed acts as a template for the conception of moral agency that Kant will go on to develop in much more detail in the second critique. More significantly, however, as I argue below, the “genesis” and ascension of reason is only made possible through Eve’s covering up of herself. I argue that the act naturalizes both shame and clothing onto a feminine body conceived as un-reasonable. It is against this foil of unreason that reason (through Adam) is able to reach its own heights. I argue that Kant’s reading of Genesis in the “Conjectures” naturalizes women and clothing as superfluous: to humankind and to the ascent of reason alike. However, their function as the condition of possibility for Kant’s own system will show that they are anything but superfluous. Rather, they are essential.

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