Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy

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9780674035065: Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy

A prominent feature of the landscape in moral philosophy and its history during the past forty years has been the simultaneous flowering of scholarship on Kant, alongside Kantian approaches to contemporary ethical theory. Kant s legal and political philosophies have fared less well, however. With some notable exceptions, they have attracted less sustained scholarly interest and inspired nothing like the contributions to current debates of Kantian moral philosophers such as Herman, Hill, and Korsgaard. Arthur Ripstein s "Force and Freedom "goes a long way to redressing this imbalance. It provides both a beautifully clear and insightful interpretation of the relevant Kantian texts as well as a sympathetic and forceful presentation of their central claims and arguments as Ripstein interprets them. It is a remarkable achievement.--Stephen Darwall"Legal Theory" (03/01/2013)

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In this masterful work, both an illumination of Kant's thought and an important contribution to contemporary legal and political theory, Arthur Ripstein gives a comprehensive yet accessible account of Kant's political philosophy. Ripstein shows that Kant's thought is organized around two central claims: first, that legal institutions are not simply responses to human limitations or circumstances; indeed the requirements of justice can be articulated without recourse to views about human inclinations and vulnerabilities. Second, Kant argues for a distinctive moral principle, which restricts the legitimate use of force to the creation of a system of equal freedom. Ripstein's description of the unity and philosophical plausibility of this dimension of Kant's thought will be a revelation to political and legal scholars. In addition to providing a clear and coherent statement of the most misunderstood of Kant's ideas, Ripstein also shows that Kant's views remain conceptually powerful and morally appealing today. Ripstein defends the idea of equal freedom by examining several substantive areas of law - private rights, constitutional law, police powers, and punishment - and by demonstrating the compelling advantages of the Kantian framework over competing approaches.

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