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Kant and Dependency Relations: Kant on the State's Right to Redistribute Resources to Protect the Rights of Dependents*

  • Helga Varden (a1)

Abstract

Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant's moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state's right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents (the poor, children, and the impaired). The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or cannot justify anything remotely similar to the liberal welfare state. A closer look at Kant's account of dependency relations in “The Doctrine of Right” reveals an argumentative structure sufficient for a public institutional protection of dependents and evidence that Kant identifies concerns of economic justice as lying at the heart of the state's legitimacy.

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