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Ethical and Politico-juridical Norms in the 'Tugendlehre'


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Kant’s view of the relation between ethical and politico-juridical norms has been debated in the literature,
especially his view in the Rechtslehre. Apart from the exegetical question about the accurate interpretation of
Kant’s practical philosophy, at stake is also the general issue of the kind of politico-juridical normgiving we
think we should have in our society. I have claimed that the fundamental positions in the literature on Kant can
be reconciled, and, on the basis of Kant’s claims in the Introduction to the Metaphysics of Morals, I have
argued that ethical principles formulate in a complex way certain requirements that politico-juridical principles
will have to meet in order to be appropriate principles for a society. I have also shown that the direct
independentist position, according to which politico-juridical principles cannot be derived from the ethical
ones, holds only when we regard principles from the perspective of subjective validity. In this paper, I examine the relation between ethical and politico-juridical principles on the basis of Kant’s claims in the Tugendlehre. My claim is that the interpretation of his view needs to be adjusted in order to accommodate his claims in the Doctrine of Virtue. We will end up with an even more complex relation; on this revised interpretation, Kant would still regard politico-juridical principles as dependent in a complex way on ethical principles, but only on a specific subset of ethical principles. This will mean that the other ethical principles will not ground politicojuridical principles; the latter will be independent from the former, and this will be additional support for the independentist position.


Baiasu. (2016). Ethical and Politico-juridical Norms in the 'Tugendlehre'. Studi Kantiani, 39, 59-76.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 23, 2016
Publication Date Nov 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2023
Journal Studi Kantiani
Print ISSN 1123-4938
Electronic ISSN 1724-1812
Publisher Fabrizio Serra editore
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Pages 59-76
Keywords Immanuel Kant, Marcus Willaschek, Tugendlehre, normativity, ethics and right, normative dependence
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