How do we care well for a human being: ourselves or another? Non-Kantian scholars rarely identify the philosophy of Kant as a particularly useful resource with which to understand the full complexity of human care. Kant’s philosophy is often taken to presuppose that a philosophical analysis of good human life needs to attend only to how autonomous, rational agents ought to act respectfully, and how they can be forced to interact rightfully. Questions involving aspects of human life captured by what Eva Kittay aptly phrased “the fact of dependency” (1999) are therefore commonly thought to be beyond the grasp of Kant and of Kantian philosophy. Against this historically prominent understanding of Kant’s practical philosophy, below I engage and draw upon recent Kant scholarship which shows both the inadequacy of such rationalist readings and the fruitfulness of using Kant’s practical philosophy to enhance our understanding of human care relations. On the conception I am advancing, we are pretty messy, fragile, and vulnerable beings whose projects of caring are difficult, ongoing, and complex. Bringing Kant’s philosophy into dialogue with care theorists, I conclude, advances the insights of both traditions by showing one way to arrive at a multifaceted, yet unified account of human care relations where our embodied, social as well as our rational natures are given due consideration.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCaring for LIberalism
Subtitle of host publicationDependency and Political Theory
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2020


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