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  • Cited by 4
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010

7 - Kant's kingdom of ends: metaphysical, not political


Much recent writing on Immanuel Kant's 'kingdom of ends' gives it a semi-political interpretation, representing it as the normative ideal of a democratic order of mutually legislating citizens of equal moral standing. This chapter provides remarks on Kant's substantive practical metaphysics. It makes a case for a metaphysical interpretation of the kingdom of ends formulation (FKE) as part of Kant's analysis of the categorical imperative in Groundwork II. The will's power to act in accordance with the representation of laws applies in relation to hypothetical imperatives as well as to categorical imperatives. The chapter gives an idea of a spontaneous ethical order with the constructed, more limited endeavour of Kant's Rechtsstaat, suggesting that we have good reason not to confuse a juridical order with an ethical one. The coercive character of political morality is a corollary of its interpersonal nature.