Duties to Oneself in Kant

John Finnis

in Human Rights and Common Good

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580071
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729393 | DOI:
Duties to Oneself in Kant

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The chapter's examination of the foundations of Kant's moral and legal theory is prefaced with critiques of the objections to (broadly speaking) paternalism, and the ‘harm principle’ and/or the doctrine of state ‘neutrality’, offered by Rawls, Dworkin, and (claiming Kantian auspices) David Richards. The examination of Kant shows the severe limits to the ‘autonomy’ and ‘rights to freedom’ espoused by Kant, and its radical differences from that espoused by Richards and Robert P. Wolff. Kant is shown to have included duties to oneself within his framing of ‘juridical duties’, and an effort is made to explain how and why this could be so. The limitations of Kant's ethical theory are indicated, along with his acceptance of some of the factual claims involved in classical paternalism. An endnote qualifies some of the chapter's statements of that paternalism.

Keywords: Kant; Rawls; Dworkin; Richards; Wolff; autonomy; harm principle; state neutrality; juridical duties; paternalism

Chapter.  12660 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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