Article | De Ethica. A Journal of Philosophical, Theological and Applied Ethics | Unethical Laws and Lawless Ethics: Right and Virtue in Kant’s Rechtslehre
De Ethica
A Journal of
Philosophical,
Theological and
Applied Ethics

Title:
Unethical Laws and Lawless Ethics: Right and Virtue in Kant’s Rechtslehre
Author:
Jenna Zhang: Duke University, Durham, USA
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.174221
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Abstract:
In this paper, I examine the relation between law and morality within the context of Kant’s late work The Metaphysics of Morals. I argue that Kant’s conception of the law is based on a fundamental distinction between Right and Virtue, which respectively correspond to his legal-political theory and moral philosophy. My analysis is two part: in the first part, I examine the relationship between the Doctrines of Right and Virtue within the Kantian architectonic; in the second, I evaluate two cases of adjudication in the Rechtslehre that exemplify the distinction between law and morality explicated in the preceding section. I begin by showing that Kant’s legal and moral philosophies are normatively distinct, insofar as Right and Virtue belong to incommensurable realms of freedom and necessity. From this distinction, I derive Kant’s conception of the legal state as principally concerned with external freedoms and the preservation of the lawful condition itself. The second part of this paper analyzes Kant’s views on two cases of criminal justice, revealing his prioritization of the political over independent ethical considerations in juridical decision-making. Here, the conceptual barrier between law and morality serves as a caveat against facile recourses to Kantian ethics as means of legitimizing juridico-political decisions.
Keywords:
Immanuel Kant; The Metaphysics of Morals; Right; Virtue; Rechtlehre; Law and Morality
Year:
2017
Volume:
4
Issue:
2
Pages:
21-34
No. of pages:
14
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2017-08-23

Volume 4, Issue: 2, Article 4, 2017

Author:
Jenna Zhang
Title:
Unethical Laws and Lawless Ethics: Right and Virtue in Kant’s Rechtslehre:
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.174221
References:

Engstrom, Stephen. ‘Introduction to Critique of Practical Reason,’ in Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Practical Reason, translated by Werner Pluhar. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 2002, pp. i-liv.

Guyer, Paul. ‘Kant’s Deductions of the Principle of Right’, in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: Interpretive Essays, edited by Mark Timmons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 25-67.

Hill, Thomas. ‘Kant on Wrongdoing, Desert, and Punishment’, Law and Philosophy 18:4 (1999), pp. 407-441. DOI: 10.2307/3505232

Horn, Christoph. ‘Kant’s Political Philosophy as a Theory of Non-Ideal Normativity’, Kant-Studien 107:1 (2016), pp. 89-110. DOI: 10.1515/kant-2016-0005

Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Practical Reason, translated by Werner Pluhar. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 2002.

Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511804649

Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals, translated by Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511809644

Kant, Immanuel. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, translated by James Ellington. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993.

Kelsen, Hans. General Theory of Law and State, translated by Anders Wedberg. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1945.

Kelsen, Hans. Pure Theory of Law, translated by Max Knight. London: University of California Press, 1970.

Kersting, Wolfgang. ‘Kant’s Concept of the State’, in Essays on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992, pp. 143-166.

Pogge, Thomas. ‘Is Kant’s Rechtslehre a Comprehensive Liberalism?’, in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, edited by Mark Timmons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 133-158.

Rosen, Allen. Kant’s Theory of Justice. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993.

Schmitt, Carl. Political Theology, translated by George Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Shklar, Judith. Legalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964.

Waldron, Jeremy. ‘Kant’s Legal Positivism’, Harvard Law Review 109:7 (1996), pp. 1535-1566. DOI: 10.2307/1342024

Willaschek, Marcus. ‘Right and Coercion: Can Kant’s Conception of Right be Derived from his Moral Theory?’, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17:1 (2009), pp. 49-70. DOI: 10.1080/09672550802610982

Willaschek, Marcus. ‘Why the Doctrine of Right Does Not Belong in the Metaphysics of Morals—On Some Basic Distinctions in Kants Moral Philosophy’, Annual Review of Law and Ethics 5:205 (1997), pp. 205-227.

Wood, Allen. ‘The Final Form of Kant’s Practical Philosophy’, in Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals: Interpretive Essays, edited by Mark Timmons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 1-21.

Wood, Allen. ‘Kant’s Practical Philosophy’, in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism, edited by Karl Ameriks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 57-76.


Volume 4, Issue: 2, Article 4, 2017

Author:
Jenna Zhang
Title:
Unethical Laws and Lawless Ethics: Right and Virtue in Kant’s Rechtslehre:
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.174221
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
No citations available at the moment