Many philosophical accounts of human rights are currently presented as Kantian or strongly based on Kant’s assertion of human beings’ inherent worth. Many more are fashionably announced as anti-Kantian, or at least post-Kantian, for their firm refusal of adopting tentatively universal yet ultimately parochial standards of normativity. Despite this vast array of positive and negative references, it is surprising that no commentator has ever attempted to reconstruct what would be an authentically Kantian theory of human rights. To be sure, we have at our disposal sophisticated interpretations of Kant’s theory of justice (Recht), of rights in general, of cosmopolitan law, of humanity and of many other concepts that are clearly relevant for any theory of human rights. Yet, with the exception of few remarks scattered here and there, no one has ever read Kant’s moral and political thought to find in it what we would call today a philosophical theory of human rights. The present paper offers the first step toward a Kantian foundation of human rights. Our main ambition is the identification of the material from which such a theory could be developed. The paper will thus analyze, in the first part, Kant’s idea that we have an innate right to freedom by virtue of our humanity. In the second, the focus will be on our “capacity to set ourselves ends” that Kant considers definitional of our “humanity”. In particular, we will deal with the question whether this “capacity” is best understood as a form of practical freedom or rather of autonomy, two kinds of freedom quite different for Kant. Thirdly, we will argue that Kant identifies our ability to be moral agents, i.e. our autonomy, as the ultimate ground on which the innate rights to external freedom and formal equality rest. In the attempt to spell out precisely how autonomy grounds these rights, we will conclude by proposing an argument that mediates between two opposed hermeneutical schools.
|Titolo:||Kant's Theory of Human Rights|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|