Freedom and the State: Kant on Revolution and International Interface
Author(s)Gremba, Karen M.
Contributor(s)AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
Humanities and History
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AbstractAnyone familiar with Kant's moral theory might guess that he would support resistance or opposition to a government that fails to respect the autonomy of its citizens. At the heart of Kant's moral theory we find the autonomous agent, the person who acts out of an obligation to duty, without regard to external incentives or inclinations. Rather than associating the dignity of a person with wealth or social status, Kant maintains that every person has dignity because each has the capacity to rationally determine the moral law. It follows from this that the Kantian state is one in which everyone is entitled to equal respect before the law. In fact, Kant contends that the rational nature of humanity "is the supreme limiting condition of every man's freedom of action" Thus, Kant contends that coercion by the state should only be used insofar as it is necessary in order to protect each person's freedom.