Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions


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Department of Education and Psychology

But a union of the same which is an end in itself that each ought to have [ As the text above points out, Kant believes that the inclination of human beings to interact with others encourages the beginnings of culture.

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Even though Kant acknowledges that this inclination is also capable of unleashing an enormous violence, he argues that it deserves to be considered the source of a "[ Thus, although the state might be based upon social and economic inequality, civil equality will not be affected.

Yet, it is striking the fact that Kant does not express any fear about the possibility that the "order of finances", which Rousseau condemned as a hateful economic system, could prevent some people from attaining the status of active citizens.

Indeed, this assumption of the immunity of political rights from any social pressure gives our author licence to claim that inequality is the "[ Hence, the nature of rights requires that, regardless of social relations having been shaped by an unequal economic status between individuals, the kind of community that free rational human beings are called to set up ought to be governed only by practical reason.

Indeed, human beings would prefer to graze like sheep and to be led comfortably by a wise shepherd into a dream world that conceals despotism, cowardice and immaturity, but Nature forces them to strive by themselves to achieve their own social identity, as the Idea of a universal history highlights:. Nature should thus be thanked for fostering social incompatibility, enviously competitive vanity, and insatiable desires for possession or even power.

Without these desires, all man's excellent natural capacities would never be roused to develop. Man wishes concord, but nature, knowing better what is good for his species, wishes discord. Man wishes to live comfortably and pleasantly, but nature intends that he should abandon idleness and inactive self-sufficiency and plunge instead into labour and hardships, so that he may by his own adroitness find means of liberating himself from them in turn.

The natural impulses which make this possible, the sources of the very unsociability and continual resistance which cause so many evils, at the same time encourage man towards new exertions of his powers and thus toward further development of his natural capacities 7. Put differently, the autonomy of the legal-political sphere stems according to Kant from the recognition of a general will, with which every legislative operation should conform. Conformity to this general will ensures the property of every citizen and allows each of them to leave a situation where he or she is only acquainted with the mere fact of possession, because only a legal right can make someone the rightful owner of a specific asset.

Thus, the perspective opened by the lawgiver acts as a key operator for civil dynamism:. Now, a unilateral will cannot serve as a coercive law for everyone with regard to possession that is external and therefore contingent, since that could infringe upon freedom in accordance with universal laws. So it is only a will putting everyone under obligation, hence only a collective general common and powerful will, that can provide everyone this assurance.

But the condition of being under a general external i. So only in a civil condition can something external be mine or yours. If it must be possible, in terms of rights, to have an external object of one's own, the subject must also be permitted to constrain everyone else with whom he comes into conflict about whether an external object is his or another's to enter along with him into a civil constitution 8. This appraisal of the civil union makes the lawgiver the "supreme owner" of the state territory, i. Furthermore, the lawgiver is authorised to compel the citizens with the largest properties to use their surplus wealth to improve the conditions of the needier members of the population.

Yet this measure should be considered as a mere parergon or secondary activity for guaranteeing the survival of the civil community as a whole:. On this supreme proprietorship also rests the right to administer the state's economy, finances, and police. Police provide for public security, convenience, and decency, for, the government's business of guiding the people by laws is made easier when the feeling for decency sensus decori , as negative taste, is not deadened by what offend the moral sense, such as begging, uproar on the streets, stenches, and public prostitution venus volgivaga.

Other passages of the Metaphysics of Morals point towards Hegel, especially in the Philosophy of Right , where he draws attention to the risks that the political exclusion of significant parts of society would entail for the state.

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In such a context, in Kant's view, taxing those layers of the citizenry that enjoy civil independence would not be an outcome directly following from the nature of political right, but a consequence derived indirectly from the duties that the lawgiver has to abide:. To the supreme commander there belongs indirectly, that is, insofar as he has taken over the duty of the people, the right to impose taxes on the people for its own preservation, such as taxes to support organizations providing for the poor, founding homes, and church organizations, usually called charitable or pious institutions.

The general will of the people has united itself into a society which is to maintain itself perpetually, and for this end it has submitted itself into the internal authority of the state in order to maintain themselves. For reasons of state the government is therefore authorized to constrain the wealthy to provide the means of sustenance to those who are unable to provide for even their most necessary natural needs Scholars who have dealt with these passages in Kant, such as Allen D.

Rosen, have classified the state's indirect duty to support the poorest people as a duty of beneficence , which would enlarge the scope covered by the duty of benevolence set out in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals 11 , though assigning it in this case to the state as a person, supplied with its own duties just like an individual.

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Ido Liviatan

But one should not forget that, when one is concerned with right, "[ Therefore, it is not surprising that, according to Kant, only temporary contributions should be enforced by the legal state. In fact, "[ It is worth noting that this passage from the Metaphysics of Morals does not take into account the material conditions necessary for the individual citizens' survival, but only those required for the survival of civil unity, for the citizenry considered as one indivisible body.

Naturally, it is difficult to separate completely the survival of the civic body and that of the citizens , but it is crucial for the Kantian argument that one or the other has the priority.

Kant & Categorical Imperatives: Crash Course Philosophy #35

Since the state must guarantee the survival of the citizenry, in extreme circumstances it can be necessary to control the expansive dynamics of economic development. Thus, because the state must proceed to preserve the whole civic body, it cannot ignore the material life conditions of each citizen. Kant puts this in terms very similar to those in which he argues, in the Doctrine of Virtue, that there is a moral obligation to take care of one's own body.

Nonetheless, it must be recognized that when citizens' lives are a concern in the public sphere, one can be sure that politics has fallen into a period of possibly fatal crisis, since this demonstrates that economic activity has become a serious threat to the civil condition. This is all that Kant has to say about the attention that the state ought to pay to the overall economic status of its population, a task that has nothing to do with the alleged hypothesis that the state should despotically shape the happiness of citizens. Salus civitatis and Happiness. The enigmatic passage in which Kant defines the right of the state to tax the citizenry in order to support the poorest people does not aim at blurring the tasks that the jus publicum has to take over with those of the institutions charged with supplying every citizen with the conditions for happiness that he is entitled to Other of Kant's texts, such as the following, keep carefully separated the spheres of external freedom and the struggle for happiness:.

The concept of an external right derives entirely from the concept of freedom in the external relations of human beings to one another and has nothing whatever to do with the end that all human beings have by nature the goal of happiness. Indeed, any state providing such treatment to their citizens would convey an unbearable paternalistic agency Kant does not spare appeals to the poor in order to convince them to resolve the problem of educating their offspring on their own, since attaining economic autonomy is equated with claiming one's own civil maturity:.

In the right of the state the principle of the constitution is not the happiness of citizens for they can take care of it by themselves , but their rights. The welfare of the whole is only the means to secure the right and place them under the conditions by which they could make themselves happy in every possible way. Hence, the poor also have to deal with the maintenance of schools and they have to educate their children themselves, besides having the freedom to determine for themselves their religion, and only change it by consent In fact, the welfare of the state is not identical with that of individuals, and thus while dealing with the private happiness of one's subjects could be part of the merits of a prince, it will be hardly one of his duties.

But although public welfare, attained by the rule of justice, and individual well-being are not identical, it is unsurprising that in order to achieve public welfare one must sometimes takes measures to improve the welfare of particular citizens. The state should not proceed in this way to please human beings for sentimental reasons, but with the intention of providing the state with the cohesion necessary in every commonwealth. This particular issue is emphasized in this excerpt from Theory and Practice :. If the supreme power makes laws directed primarily toward happiness the prosperity of citizens, increasing population, and so on , this does not happen because it is the purpose of establishing a civil constitution.

Instead, it is merely a means for securing the state of right , especially against the people's external enemies. These texts demonstrate the legitimacy of the supreme lawgiver to survey and alter the economic situation of some citizens, in order to correct hazardous social disadvantages for the civil community as a whole. However, is Kant's commitment to republicanism clear enough to embrace the coordinates of corrective or distributive justice, as formulated by authors such as J.

Dr. Ido Liviatan

Rawls or T. We cannot share the ease with which V. Gerhardt, for example, states that actions in line with a Welfare State follow naturally from the tenets of Kant's doctrine of right Kersting and B. Ludwig 19 , amongst other Kant scholars, have delivered accounts that have problematized Kant's attitude toward the Welfare State. Consider the following remarks by Kersting:.

The Kantian state is, to be sure, limited to the functions of the realization of right and the protection of freedom, but when one considers the dangers that threaten right, freedom, and the dignity of humans from a marketplace unsupervised by a social state and from radical libertarianism's politics of minimal state restriction, then one sees that the philosophy of right must require a compensatory extension of the principle of the state or right through measures toward a social and welfare state in the interest of the human right of freedom itself.

Kant's philosophy of right is thoroughly compatible with the concept of a social state in the service of freedom. But this extension of Kant's philosophy of right by no means revokes its pervasive antipaternalism Kersting's convincing argument indicates the shortcomings of Kant's doctrine of right from the point of view of social justice, insofar as he ascribes only a prudential aim to the public duty to support poor people. Here it should not be forgotten that while Kant considers social inequality to be a result of differences in the development of human potential, as stated earlier, that social inequality is not regarded as threatening the autonomy of the political sphere, since only the latter can provide meaningful and purposive equality.

Considerations of social justice change, however, when what is at stake is ensuring the survival of the community see AA 08, p. The interests of the individual self-preservation only call the attention of the philosophy of law when their negligence could destabilize the community and jeopardize the conservation of right. Therefore, the assistance of the welfare state is not grounded on a right to the livelihood of individuals, but on the right of subsistence of the right itself, which, in turn, is exclusively the institutional expression of law principles of freedom.

The indirect duty of the state to preserve the existence of dispossessed citizens is the price to be paid by the right itself, in case he wishes to be applied in a concrete space and time, and in case it wishes to gain power of organization and to exist under different empirically verifiable conditions. But that means that the welfare state is not a legal concept, but only a prudent instrument, that is, attentive to the reality of the exercise of right. Thus, social inequality will be tolerated provided that it does not endanger the equality of citizens before the law, which is one of the bases of civil union.

Hence, the supreme owner will not be acting against right and justice if he decides to redistribute wealth because he judges such an action to be necessary for the survival of those who have nothing or little Were the supreme lawgiver to take the same decision on behalf of the happiness of a group of human beings, it would be a clear meddling in the economic life of the population, and consequently, the movement of right into bio-politics, a danger which Kant was not even remotely able to forecast.

So long as the lawgiver is only reacting to an extreme social situation, his measures toward the civil body are an effort to keep itself alive, just as one would an organism. It should not be forgotten that Kant compares the constitution of a nation into a state with the development of a living organism, in the third Critique However, Kant's theoretical construction protects politics from such social interferences:.

This uniform equality of human beings as subjects of a state is, however, perfectly consistent with the utmost inequality of the mass in the degree of its possessions, whether these take the form of physical or mental superiority over others, or of fortuitous external property and of particular rights of which there may be many with respect to others.

Thus the welfare of the one depends very much on the will of the other the poor depending on the rich , the one must obey the other as the child its parents or the wife her husband , the one serves the labourer while the other pays, etc. Nevertheless, they are all equal as subjects before the law, which, as the pronouncement of the general will, can only be single in form, and which concerns the form of right and not the material or object in relation to which I possess rights.

The reluctance displayed by scholars like Ludwig and Kersting regarding the place that public care of the poorest should have within Kant's theory of the legal state is supported by Kant himself, as the previous extract shows clearly. As I claimed above, the point here is not the intention of one private subject to benefit another, but a much more impersonal measure of balances, almost mechanical ones, whose aim is to protect the whole body of a state.

More accurately, one may say that the systematic character of public attention devoted to poverty leads Kant to distrust the benefits of charity, since the latter describes an operation little interested in the common good and, to this extent, unable to fight against the state's tolerance for inequality. According to Kant's argument, without a better solution, wealthy citizens should undertake this task, since such behaviour would partially correct the injustice of monopolized wealth That said, individuals could never take over a function that the State ought to properly carry out The texts quoted above have shown by that Kant's theory rejects every form of paternalism.

Yet, it provides a crucial link between, on the one hand, the right of every human being to secure their existence and on the other hand, the creation of a state that cannot remain indifferent to the fact that certain individuals lack all access to the struggle for civil independence. The point is not that the state should turn passive citizens into active ones, to citizens who would be "co-legislators" of the state MM, AA 06, p.

Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions

If political institutions did this, they would be encroaching on the functions of free human agency. On the contrary, the state ought rather to be responsible for preventing a situation wherein entire sections of society would lack any possibility of gaining political agency. Those who are not their own master can be only subjects of the state, as part of the community and co-beneficiaries of its protection, but not really members of it. Of course, this presupposes that the acquisition of active citizenship is a desirable goal for all rational beings.


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How might this agree with Kantian republicanism? This behavior developed thus confused on 2 January , at The Justice will interchange with monumental ideas which suppose this ' socialist, philosophical, and other to an REEES-related Marxism-Leninism ' risk-capital a major communism of Russia.


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    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions
    Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions

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