A Kantian argument against world poverty

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Abstract

Immanuel Kant is recognised as one of the first philosophers who wrote systematically about global justice and world peace. In the current debate on global justice, he is mostly appealed to by critics of extensive duties of global justice. However, I show in this paper that an analysis of Kant's late work on rights and justice provides ample resources for disagreeing with those who take Kant to call for only modest changes in global politics. Kant's comments in the Doctrine of Right clarify that he thinks we need a coercively enforced global civil condition. But his work also contains ideas that imply that within such a global legal order there must be no extreme forms of poverty and inequality, and that the current holdings of states are by no means conclusive possessions without confirmation by the global legal order we have a duty to establish. Thus, this paper challenges the prevailing interpretation of Kant as a conservative thinker about global justice that is held, for instance, by the leading contemporary liberal thinkers such as John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, and Ronald Dworkin.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-507
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date12 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Kant's Doctrine of Right , global property scheme, world poverty , cosmopolitanism , global distributive justice