A Kantian perspective on political violence

Journal of Ethics 1 (2):105 - 140 (1997)
Rejecting Kant''s absolute opposition to revolution, I propose a modified Kantian perspective for reflecting on political violence, drawing from Kant''s basic ideas but abandoning some dubious assumptions. Developing suggestions in earlier papers, the essay sketches a model for moral legislation that combines the core ideas of each of Kant''s formulas of the Categorical Imperative. Though only a framework for deliberation, not a complete decision procedure, this excludes extremist positions, prohibitive and permissive, about political violence. Despite Kant''s hopes, the values implicit in his fundamental principle fail to support easy, inflexible solutions; but they place strong presumptions against lawless coercion and killing, undermining social order, treating persons as dispensable, underestimating options, arrogant faith in one''s own judgment, and reckless simplicity in political thinking.
Keywords categorical imperative  ends in themselves  justice  Kant  Kantian  kingdom of ends  political  resistance  revolution  violence
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