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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2019
This article discusses Luigi Caranti’s Kant’s Political Legacy, which argues, among other things, that a Kantian reconstruction of dignity can provide a foundation for human rights. Caranti’s book is one of the most powerful recent reconstructions of Kant’s political philosophy. Four main points are argued in response. First, to what extent can dignity understood as a value ground the essentially relational character of human rights claims? Second, does Caranti explain why our mere rational capacity to set moral ends has dignity rather than the realization of that capacity in a morally righteous will? Third, how can the argument provided avoid the conclusion that, because people’s capacities vary, their dignity varies too? Fourth, is Kant’s political philosophy incompatible with our modern understanding of human rights and, in particular, their function in international law and practice?