A Kantian Defense of Self-Ownership

Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (1):65-78 (2004)
Many scholars, including G. A. Cohen, Daniel Attas, and George Brenkert, have denied that a Kantian defense of self-ownership is possible. Kant's ostensible hostility to self-ownership can be resolved, however, upon reexamination of the Groundwork and the Metaphysics of Morals. Moreover, two novel Kantian defenses of self-ownership (narrowly construed) can be devised. The first shows that maxims of exploitation and paternalism that violate self-ownership cannot be universalized, as this leads to contradictions in conception. The second shows that physical coercion against rational agents involves a profound status wrong--namely, their treatment as children or animals--and that this system of differential status and treatment (including self-ownership rights for rational agents) can be morally justified by our capacity for autonomy.
Keywords self-ownership  autonomy  Immanuel Kant
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2004.00191.x
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William Glod (2013). Against Two Modest Conceptions of Hard Paternalism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):409-422.

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