On the priority of the right to the good

Kant-Studien 102 (3):316-334 (2011)
Abstract
Rawls's view that the right is prior to the good has been criticized by various scholars from divergent points of view. Some contend that Rawls's teleological/deontological distinction based on the priority of the right is misleading while others claim that no plausible ethical theory can determine what is right prior to the good. There is no consensus on how to interpret the priority of right to the good; nor is there an agreement on the criteria of teleological/deontological distinction. In this article, I argue that the critics' interpretations of the principle of the priority of right to the good as well as their conceptions of the teleological/deontological distinction have serious shortcomings to the extent that they ignore rich theoretical resources we find in Kant's moral and political philosophy. Kant's conception of human dignity and his division of the doctrine of virtue and the doctrine of right supply powerful arguments to clarify and sustain the idea of the priority of right to the good and the teleological/deontological division
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