Kant's non-voluntarist conception of political obligations: Why justice is impossible in the state of nature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In this paper, I present and defend Kant's non-voluntarist conception of political obligations. I argue that civil society is not primarily a prudential requirement for justice; it is not merely a necessary evil or a moral response to combat our corrupting nature or our tendency to act viciously, thoughtlessly or in a biased manner. Rather, civil society is constitutive of rightful relations among persons because only in civil society can we interact in ways reconcilable with each person's innate right to freedom. Civil society is the means through which we can rightfully interact even on the ideal assumption that no one ever succumbs to immoral temptation. Kant's account, therefore, provides ideal reasons to support the claim that voluntarism cannot be the liberal ideal of political obligations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-45
Number of pages45
JournalKantian Review
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

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Political Obligation
Immanuel Kant
Justice
Civil Society
State of Nature
Conception
Person
Temptation
Voluntarism
Ideal
Evil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Kant's non-voluntarist conception of political obligations : Why justice is impossible in the state of nature. / Varden, Helga.

In: Kantian Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2008, p. 1-45.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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