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Title: Kant & the Commons: Understanding Anthropocentrism in Kant’s Philosophy of Right
Authors: Suarez Müller, Fernando
Keywords: KantIdealismCommonsTheory of RightEthicsPrivate PropertyAnthropocentrismTheory of ResponsibilityCommunity
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Fernando Suarez Müller, "Kant & the Commons: Understanding Anthropocentrism in Kant’s Philosophy of Right" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2018, pp. 781-814
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
The idea of a preliminary commons – a sphere of common property prior to private property – is present in Kant’s philosophy of right where, with his theory of natural law, he first makes a move towards a still underdeveloped kind of ‘objective idealism’. But he cannot transform the idea of a preliminary commons into a theory of right that legitimates social institutions or a sphere of positive law because he soon turns back to the subjective idealism of his previous work in which he takes the world to be a transcendental construction of human subjects. Kant’s anthropocentrism and the highlighting of private property are a direct consequence of this subjective transcendentalism. Kant’s return to subjective idealism also makes it impossible for him to conceive a theory of right based on ‘serviceable stewardship’ and ‘responsibility’ rather than on private property. My claim is that in order to pass from a discourse of possession to one of responsibility it is necessary to emphasize and enlarge his theory of natural law which, I argue, tends towards ‘objective idealism’. Such idealism takes ‘objective reason’ to be manifesting itself in the world in an almost Hegelian way – and it is not confined to the subjective consciousness of humans. Things in the world can then be endowed with intrinsic rights. It is a further claim of this paper that a consequent theory of the commons needs this transcendental complement endowing things with intrinsic rights. Alternative positions like naturalism or subjective idealism place objects in a domain ‘beyond right’ condemning nonhuman beings to become merely potential private property. A remodelling of Kantianism would constitute the main layer of a renewed humanism based on an enlarged idea of community and a corresponding idea of responsibility for Being.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
DOI: 10.13137/1825-5167/22637
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3

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