XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Needs and External Freedom in Kant's Doctrine of Right

Louis-Philippe Hodgson

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Verri
Data: 24 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 13 aprile 2010


Kant takes political philosophy to be exclusively concerned with the conditions under which rational agents can live side by side without undermining one another’s external freedom. To what extent does this narrow focus entail that needs have no role to play in his political philosophy? I argue that, although Kant is probably right to hold that his view does not allow claims of need to play a role in matters of private right, it does not follow that they play no role in matters of public right. More contentiously, against recent interpretations of Kant’s position put forward by Paul Guyer and Arthur Ripstein, I argue that Kant does not have to view the validity of claims of need as parasitic on the presence of a system of property rights. He can make room for an independent obligation of public right to provide for the basic needs of rational agents.