Kant's Typo, and the Limits of the Law
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CitationNewhouse, Marie E. 2013. Kant's Typo, and the Limits of the Law. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation develops a Kantian philosophical framework for understanding our individual obligations under public law. Because we have a right to do anything that is not wrong, the best interpretation of Immanuel Kant's Universal Principle of Right tracks the two ways--material and formal--in which actions can be wrong. This interpretation yields surprising insights, most notably a novel formulation of Kant's standard for formal wrongdoing. Because the wrong-making property of a formally wrong action does not depend on whether or not the action in question has been prohibited by statute, Kant's legal philosophy is consistent with a natural law theory of public crime. Moreover, because the law can obligate us only by establishing a universal external incentive to obey its commands, statutes that impose only fines on nominal violators do not constrain our lawful options. Instead, if they are otherwise just, such statutes must be regarded as rightful permissive laws, according to which we may incur liabilities through our voluntary choices.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11158257
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