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Welfare in the Kantian State$
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Alexander Kaufman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294672

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294670.001.0001

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A Kantian Model for Social Welfare Theory

A Kantian Model for Social Welfare Theory

(p.135) 6 A Kantian Model for Social Welfare Theory
Welfare in the Kantian State

Alexander Kaufman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Kant's explicit account of the state's responsibility for welfare, in the Rechtslehre, is cryptic and incomplete. Kant does suggest, however, that: (1) provision for those unable to provide for themselves is implicit in the idea of a social contract; and (2) the sovereign, as ‘proprietor of the land’, possesses authority to intervene in civil society to guarantee the necessary conditions for the exercise of their purposive faculties. These elements of Kant's argument seem most plausibly justified by the teleological judgement that the sovereign must strive to realize a ‘rightful condition’ in which members of society are ensured equal opportunity to realize their purposive faculties. In order to secure such a condition, the Kantian sovereign must intervene to guarantee conditions assuring that agents are equal in their ability to pursue their individual ends. Such a Kantian egalitarian policy, Chapter 6 argues, should focus on the equalization of capabilities rather than of: (1) welfare, or (2) resources.

Keywords:   capabilities, equality, metaphysical principles of right, proprietor of the land, purposiveness, reflective judgement, resources, social contract, teleological judgement, welfare

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