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Kant and the global standpoint

Huber, Jakob (2017) Kant and the global standpoint. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.hl0qfqymjosa


Two interpretive trends have driven the recent revival of Kant’s political philosophy. On the one hand, a focus on his cosmopolitanism as providing a normative agenda for a global political order. On the other hand, a turn to Kant as a theorist of a distinctly state-centred political morality, based on his much debated property argument. This thesis argues that these interpretive trends have sidetracked us from Kant’s most sustained, systematic and original cosmopolitan vision as it is laid out in the Doctrine of Right. I develop this framework through the notion of a global standpoint as a distinctly first-person perspective from which agents reflexively recognise their systematic interdependence in a world of limited space. The global standpoint binds what I call ‘earth dwellers’ – corporeal agents who concurrently coexist on the earth’s spherical surface – to a certain kind of comportment towards distant strangers. It is a standpoint from which we must interact with others with the aim of finding shared terms of coexistence. What is particularly fascinating about this cosmopolitan vision and of continuing relevance is the way in which Kant folds it into his account of juridical statehood. The global standpoint is not only predicated on the existences of states. Despite being concerned with our comportment beyond borders, the ensuing obligations are also to be implemented within the state context. Kant’s cosmopolitanism as conceived from the global standpoint is not directed at a global institutional order, but a world of distinctly outwardlooking states that bind themselves (and their citizens) to rightful comportment towards other states and non-state peoples of their own accord. We take up the global standpoint from within states by transforming them into cosmopolitan agents.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Jakob Huber
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Flikschuh, Katrin

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