Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-5nwft Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-19T14:48:51.798Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Kant's Liberalism: A Reply to Rolf George

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2010

Leslie Green
Affiliation:
York University

Extract

In his thoughtful paper, “The Liberal Tradition, Kant, and the Pox”, Rolf George joins the venerable argument about whether Kant should be accounted friend or foe of liberals. But this is not just a rehearsal of the debate over the compatibility of the Old Jacobin's defense of civil liberties and government by consent with his notoriously unpleasant doctrines of the absolute duty to obey the law or his ruthlessly retributive view of punishment. George advances the debate by suggesting that elements of Kant's moral theory are deeply incompatible with liberalism. And this is particularly striking when liberals like John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin and Robert Nozick are quick to invoke Kant's name in defense of their own views. The attraction of Kant for these modern (and American) liberals is clear, for they hold individualistic moral theories and they reject utilitarianism. But, if George is right, there are aspects of Kant's thought which make him an unsuitable mascot.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Philosophical Association 1988

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)