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External Freedom in Kant's "Rechtslehre": Political, Metaphysical

Jennifer K. Uleman
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 68, No. 3 (May, 2004), pp. 578-601
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40040746
Page Count: 24
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External Freedom in Kant's "Rechtslehre": Political, Metaphysical
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Abstract

External freedom is the central good protected in Kant's legal and political philosophy. But external freedom is perplexing, being at once freedom of spatio-temporal movement and a form of noumenal or 'intelligible' freedom. Moreover, it turns out that identifying impairments to external freedom nearly always involves recourse to an elaborated system of positive law, which seems to compromise external freedom's status as a prior, organizing good. Drawing heavily on Kant's understanding of the role of empirical 'anthropological' information in constructing a Doctrine of Right, or Rechtslehre, this essay offers an interpretation of external freedom that makes sense of its simultaneous spatio-temporality, dependence on positive law, intelligibility (or 'noumenality'), and a priority. The essay suggests that this account of Kantian external freedom has implications both for politics and for the metaphysics of everyday objects and institutions.

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