A Kantian Model for Social Welfare Theory

Alexander Kaufman

in Welfare in the Kantian State

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294672
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599637 | DOI:
 A Kantian Model for Social Welfare Theory

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Kant's explicit account of the state's responsibility for welfare, in the Rechtslehre, is cryptic and incomplete. Kant does suggest, however, that: (1) provision for those unable to provide for themselves is implicit in the idea of a social contract; and (2) the sovereign, as ‘proprietor of the land’, possesses authority to intervene in civil society to guarantee the necessary conditions for the exercise of their purposive faculties. These elements of Kant's argument seem most plausibly justified by the teleological judgement that the sovereign must strive to realize a ‘rightful condition’ in which members of society are ensured equal opportunity to realize their purposive faculties. In order to secure such a condition, the Kantian sovereign must intervene to guarantee conditions assuring that agents are equal in their ability to pursue their individual ends. Such a Kantian egalitarian policy, Chapter 6 argues, should focus on the equalization of capabilities rather than of: (1) welfare, or (2) resources.

Keywords: capabilities; equality; metaphysical principles of right; proprietor of the land; purposiveness; reflective judgement; resources; social contract; teleological judgement; welfare

Chapter.  10615 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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