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Profile: Helga Varden (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of Toronto)
  1. Kant and Lying to the Murderer at the Door... One More Time: Kant's Legal Philosophy and Lies to Murderers and Nazis.Helga Varden - 2010 - Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (4):403-4211.
    Kant’s example of lying to the murderer at the door has been a cherished source of scorn for thinkers with little sympathy for Kant’s philosophy and a source of deep puzzlement for those more favorably inclined. The problem is that Kant seems to say that it’s always wrong to lie – even if necessary to prevent a murderer from reaching his victim – and that if one does lie, one becomes partially responsible for the killing of the victim. If this (...)
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  2.  62
    Rawls. Vs. Nozick Vs. Kant on Domestic Economic Justice.Helga Varden - 2016 - In Kant and Social Policies. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 93-123.
    Robert Nozick initiated one of the most inspired and inspiring discussions in political philosophy with his 1974 response in Anarchy, State, and Utopia to John Rawls’s 1971 account of distributive justice in A Theory of Justice. These two works have informed an enormous amount of subsequent, especially liberal, discussions of economic justice, where Nozick’s work typically functions as a resource for those defending more right-wing (libertarian) positions, whereas Rawls’s has been used to defend various left-wing stances. Common to these discussions, (...)
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  3. A Kantian Critique of the Care Tradition: Family Law and Systemic Justice.Helga Varden - 2012 - Kantian Review 17 (2):327-356.
    Liberal theories of justice have been rightly criticized for two things by care theorists. First, they have failed to deal with private care relations’ inherent (inter)dependency, asymmetry and particularity. Second, they have been shown unable properly to address the asymmetry and dependency constitutive of care workers’ and care-receivers’ systemic conditions. I apply Kant’s theory of right to show that current care theories unfortunately reproduce similar problems because also they argue on the assumption that good care requires only virtuous private individuals. (...)
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  4.  89
    Kant's Non-Voluntarist Conception of Political Obligations: Why Justice is Impossible in the State of Nature.Helga Varden - 2008 - Kantian Review 13 (2):1-45.
    This paper presents and defends Kant’s non-voluntarist conception of political obligations. I argue that civil society is not primarily a prudential requirement for justice; it is not merely a necessary evil or moral response to combat our corrupting nature or our tendency to act viciously, thoughtlessly or in a biased manner. Rather, civil society is constitutive of rightful relations because only in civil society can we interact in ways reconcilable with each person’s innate right to freedom. Civil society is the (...)
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  5.  30
    G. A. Cohen's Rescuing Justice and Equality - A Critical Engagement.Helga Varden - 2010 - Social Philosophy Today 26:175-189.
    This paper critically engages Cohen’s rejection, in Rescuing Justice and Equality, of Rawls’s conception of redistributive justice. I argue that Cohen’s reading of Rawls is flawed and that his suggested revisions to Rawls’s theory are no improvement. The better interpretation involves seeing Rawls’s project as closer to Kant’s than, as Cohen assumes, to libertarians and egalitarians of his own stripe. Once we interpret Rawls as providing a so-called “public right” account and we add Kant’s account of “private right”, Rawls escapes (...)
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  6.  73
    Kant and Women.Helga Varden - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2).
    Kant's conception of women is complex. Although he struggles to bring his considered view of women into focus, a sympathetic reading shows it not to be anti-feminist and to contain important arguments regarding human nature. Kant believes the traditional male-female distinction is unlikely to disappear, but he never proposes the traditional gender ideal as the moral ideal; he rejects the idea that such considerations of philosophical anthropology can set the framework for morality. This is also why his moral works clarifies (...)
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  7.  32
    A Kantian Conception of Rightful Sexual Relations: Sex, (Gay) Marriage and Prostitution.Helga Varden - 2006 - Social Philosophy Today 22:199-218.
    This paper defends a legal and political conception of sexual relations grounded in Kant’s Doctrine of Right. First, I argue that only a lack of consent can make a sexual deed wrong in the legal sense. Second, I demonstrate why all other legal constraints on sexual practices in a just society are legal constraints on seemingly unrelated public institutions. I explain the way in which the just state acts as a civil guardian for domestic relations and as a civil guarantor (...)
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  8.  19
    Review of Martha C Nussbaum's Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice. [REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 3 (34):10-11.
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  9.  15
    John Locke - Libertarian Anarchism.Helga Varden - 2014 - In Guttorm Fløistad (ed.), Philosophy of Justice. pp. 157-176.
  10.  41
    Self-Governance and Reform in Kant’s Liberal Republicanism - Ideal and Non-Ideal Theory in Kant’s Doctrine of Right.Helga Varden - 2016 - Dois Pontos 13 (2).
    Received 05 November 2015. Accepted 30 January 2016.doispontos:, Curitiba, São Carlos, volume 13, número 2, p. 39-70, outubro de 201639Self-governance and reform in Kant’s liberal republicanism – ideal and non-ideal theory in Kant’s Doctrine of RightHelga Vardenhelga.vargen@gmail.comUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, EUAAbstract: At the heart of Kant’s legal-political philosophy lies a liberal, republican ideal of justice understood in terms of private independence (non-domination) and subjection to public laws securing freedom for all citizens as equals. Given this basic commitment of Kant’s, it (...)
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  11. A Kantian Conception of Global Justice.Helga Varden - 2011 - Review of International Studies 37 (05):2043-2057.
    I start this paper by addressing Kant’s question why rightful interactions require both domestic public authorities (or states) and a global public authority? Of central importance are two issues: first, the identification of problems insoluble without public authorities, and second, why a domestic public monopoly on coercion can be rightfully established and maintained by coercive means while a global public monopoly on coercion cannot be established once and for all. In the second part of the paper, I address the nature (...)
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  12.  41
    Kant's Non-Absolutist Conception of Political Legitimacy – How Public Right 'Concludes' Private Right in the “Doctrine of Right”.Helga Varden - 2010 - Kant-Studien 101 (3):331-351.
    Contrary to the received view, I argue that Kant, in the “Doctrine of Right”, outlines a third, republican alternative to absolutist and voluntarist conceptions of political legitimacy. According to this republican alternative, a state must meet certain institutional requirements before political obligations arise. An important result of this interpretation is not only that there are institutional restraints on a legitimate state's use of coercion, but also that the rights of the state (‘public right’) are not in principle reducible to the (...)
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  13.  34
    Kant and Dependency Relations: Kant on the State's Right to Redistribute Resources to Protect the Rights of Dependents.Helga Varden - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (2):257-284.
    Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant’s moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state’s right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents (the poor, children, and the impaired). The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or cannot justify anything remotely similar to the liberal welfare state. A closer look at Kant’s account of dependency relations in “The Doctrine of Right” reveals an argumentative structure (...)
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  14.  7
    Review: Byrd, Sharon and Hruschka, Joachim, Kant's Doctrine of Right[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2011 - Jurisprudence 2 (2):547-559.
  15.  78
    The Terrorist Attacks in Norway, July 22nd 2011— Some Kantian Reflections.Helga Varden - 2014 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 49 (3-4):236-259.
    This paper provides a Kantian interpretation of core issues involved in the trial following the terrorist attacks that struck Norway on July 22nd 2011. After a sketch of the controversies surrounding the trial itself, a Kantian theory of why the wrongdoer’s mind struck us as so endlessly disturbed is presented. This Kantian theory, I proceed by arguing, also helps us understand why it was so important to respond to the violence through the legal system and to treat the perpetrator, Anders (...)
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  16.  6
    Locke's Waste Restriction and His Strong Voluntarism.Helga Varden - 2006 - Locke Studies 6:127-141.
    This paper argues that there is a conflict between two principles informing Locke’s political philosophy, namely his waste restriction and his strong voluntarism. Locke’s waste restriction is proposed as a necessary, enforceable restriction upon rightful private property holdings and it yields arguments to preserve and redistribute natural resources. Locke’s strong voluntarism is proposed as the liberal ideal of political obligations. It expresses Locke’s view that each individual has a natural political power, which can only be transferred to a political body (...)
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  17.  8
    Kant's Non-Absolutist Conception of Political Legitimacy –– How Public Right ‘‘Concludes’’ Private Right in the ““Doctrine of Right””.Helga Varden - 2010 - Kant-Studien 101 (3):331-351.
    Contrary to the received view, I argue that Kant, in the “Doctrine of Right”, outlines a third, republican alternative to absolutist and voluntarist conceptions of political legitimacy. According to this republican alternative, a state must meet certain institutional requirements before political obligations arise. An important result of this interpretation is not only that there are institutional restraints on a legitimate state's use of coercion, but also that the rights of the state are not in principle reducible to the rights of (...)
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  18.  5
    Immanuel Kant - Justice as Freedom.Helga Varden - 2014 - In Guttorm Fløistad (ed.), Philosophy of Justice. Springer, Germany. pp. 213-237.
  19.  5
    Review: Ellis, Elizabeth, Kant's Political Theory: Interpretations and Applications[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013 (22):10-11.
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  20.  66
    Coercion and the State.Helga Varden - 2011 - Jurisprudence 2 (2):547-559.
    Intentions, Blame, and Contractualism: A review of Tim Scanlon, Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame by Jussi Suikkanen.
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  21.  43
    The Lockean Enough-and-as-Good Proviso: An Internal Critique.Helga Varden - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (3):410-442.
    A private property account is central to a liberal theory of justice. Much of the appeal of the Lockean theory stems from its account of the so-called `enough-and-as-good' proviso, a principle which aims to specify each employable person's fair share of the earth's material resources. I argue that to date Lockeans have failed to show how the proviso can be applied without thereby undermining a guiding intuition in Lockean theory. This guiding intuition is that by interacting in accordance with the (...)
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  22.  4
    Review: Hay, Carol, Kantianism, Liberalism, and Feminism: Resisting Oppression[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 11 (05):10-11.
  23.  4
    Review: Saurette, Paul, The Kantian Imperative: Humiliation, Common Sense, Politics[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2007 - University of Toronto Quarterly 76 (1):305-307.
  24.  79
    A Kantian Conception of Free Speech.Helga Varden - 2010 - In Deidre Golash (ed.), Free Speech in a Diverse World. Springer.
    In this paper I provide an interpretation of Kant’s conception of free speech. Free speech is understood as the kind of speech that is constitutive of interaction respectful of everybody’s right to freedom, and it requires what we with John Rawls may call ‘public reason’. Public reason so understood refers to how the public authority must reason in order to properly specify the political relation between citizens. My main aim is to give us some reasons for taking a renewed interest (...)
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  25.  3
    Diversity and Unity An Attempt at Drawing a Justifiable Line.Helga Varden - 2008 - Archiv fuer Rechts- und Sozialphilosphie 94 (1):1-25.
    This paper argues with Kant that the only justifiable basis for a legal system is an innate right to freedom, which is defined as the right to be subject only to universal law and not to the arbitrary choices of others. Since rightful interaction is possible only within public institutional frameworks, we cannot respect one another's innate right to freedom simply by interacting as virtuous individuals or as just states. In fact, only public authorities can have coercive authority, the rightfulness (...)
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  26.  78
    A Feminist, Kantian Conception of the Right to Bodily Integrity: The Cases of Abortion and Homosexuality.Helga Varden - 2012 - In Sharon Crasnow & Anita Superson (eds.), Out of the Shadows: Analytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Pregnant women and persons engaging in homosexual practices compose two groups that have been and still are amongst those most severely subjected to coercive restrictions regarding their own bodies. From an historical point of view, it is a recent and rare phenomenon that a woman’s right to abortion and a person’s right to engage in homosexual interactions are recognized. Although most Western liberal states currently do recognize these rights, they are under continuous assault from various political and religious movements. Moreover, (...)
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  27.  4
    Kant and Dependency Relations.Helga Varden - 2006 - Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie 45 (2):257-284.
    ABSTRACT: Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant’s moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state’s right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents. The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or cannot justify anything remotely similar to the liberal welfare state. A closer look at Kant’s account of dependency relations in “The Doctrine of Right” reveals an argumentative structure sufficient for a public institutional (...)
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  28.  67
    Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist.Helga Varden - 2009 - Law and Philosophy 28 (6):585 - 616.
    Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy (...)
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  29.  2
    A Kantian Critique Of The Care Tradition: Family Law And Systemic Justice.Helga Varden - 2012 - Kantian Review 17 (2):327-356.
    Liberal theories of justice have been rightly criticized for two things by care theorists. First, they have failed to deal with private care relations’ inherent dependency, asymmetry and particularity. Second, they have been shown unable properly to address the asymmetry and dependency constitutive of care workers’ and care-receivers’ systemic conditions. I apply Kant’s theory of right to show that current care theories unfortunately reproduce similar problems because they also argue on the assumption that good care requires only virtuous private individuals. (...)
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  30. Diversity and Unity: An Attempt at Drawing a Justifiable Line.Helga Varden - 2008 - Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 94 (1):1-25.
    This paper argues with Kant that the only justifiable basis for a legal system is an innate right to freedom, which is defined as the right to be subject only to universal law and not to the arbitrary choices of others. Since rightful interaction is possible only within public institutional frameworks, we cannot respect one another's innate right to freedom simply by interacting as virtuous individuals or as just states. In fact, only public authorities can have coercive authority, the rightfulness (...)
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  31.  2
    Otfried Höffe’s Kant’s Cosmopolitan Theory of Law and Peace. [REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2008 - Symposium 12 (1):168-174.
  32.  31
    Nozick's Reply to the Anarchist What He Said and What He Should Have Said About Procedural Rights.Helga Varden - 2009 - Law and Philosophy 28 (6):585-616.
    Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy (...)
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  33.  24
    Otfried Höffe's Kant's Cosmopolitan Theory of Law and Peace.Helga Varden - 2008 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 12 (1):164-174.
  34.  6
    Otfried Höffe’s Kant’s Cosmopolitan Theory of Law and Peace.Helga Varden - 2008 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 12 (1):168-174.
  35.  13
    Patriotism, Poverty, and Global Justice: A Kantian Engagement with Pauline Kleingeld's Kant and Cosmopolitanism.Helga Varden - 2014 - Kantian Review 19 (2):251-266.
    In this article I critically engage some of the philosophical ideas Kleingeld presents in Kant and Cosmopolitanism, namely patriotism, poverty and global justice. Against Kleingeld, I propose, first, that perhaps democracy is less important and affectionate love more so to both Kant himself as well as to an account that can successfully refute a Bernard Williams style objection to Kantian patriotism; second, that guaranteeing unconditional poverty relief for all its citizens is constitutive of the minimally just state for Kant; and, (...)
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  36.  16
    Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice—Some Kantian Rejoinders.Helga Varden - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:217-232.
  37.  12
    Lockean Freedom and the Proviso's Appeal to Scientific Knowledge.Helga Varden - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (1):1-20.
    This paper argues that Locke and contemporary Lockeans underestimate the problems involved in their frequent, implicit assumption that when we apply the proviso we use the latest scientific knowledge of natural resources, technology and the economy’s operations. Problematic for these theories is that much of the pertinent knowledge used is obtained through particular persons’ labour. If the knowledge obtained through individuals’ labour must be made available to everyone and if particular persons’ new knowledge affects the proviso’s proper application, then some (...)
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  38.  14
    Review: Hill (Ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Kant's Ethics[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2010 - Ethics 120 (4):860-864.
  39.  10
    Rescuing Justice and Equality—A Critical Engagement.Helga Varden - 2010 - Social Philosophy Today 26:175-189.
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  40.  7
    Review of Jan Narveson, James P. Sterba, Are Liberty and Equality Compatible?[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2010 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (8).
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  41.  1
    Amartya Sen’s The Idea of Justice—Some Kantian Rejoinders.Helga Varden - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:217-232.
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  42.  4
    Review: Guyer, Paul, Kant[REVIEW]Helga Varden - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (2).
  43. Amartya Sen’s The Idea of Justice—Some Kantian Rejoinders.Helga Varden - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:217-232.
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  44. Kant and Dependency Relations: Kant on the State’s Right to Redistribute Resources to Protect the Rights of Dependents.Helga Varden - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (2):257-284.
    ABSTRACT: Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant’s moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state’s right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents. The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or cannot justify anything remotely similar to the liberal welfare state. A closer look at Kant’s account of dependency relations in “The Doctrine of Right” reveals an argumentative structure sufficient for a public institutional (...)
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  45. Kant and Dependency Relations: Kant on the State's Right to Redistribute Resources to Protect the Rights of Dependents*: Dialogue.Helga Varden - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (2):257-284.
    ABSTRACT Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant's moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state's right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents. The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or cannot justify anything remotely similar to the liberal welfare state. A closer look at Kant's account of dependency relations in “The Doctrine of Right” reveals an argumentative structure sufficient for a public institutional (...)
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  46. Kant and Social Policies.Helga Varden - 2016 - Palgrave Macmillan.
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  47. Lockean Freedom and the Proviso’s Appeal to Scientific Knowledge.Helga Varden - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (1):1-20.
    I argue in this paper that Locke and contemporary Lockeans underestimate the problems involved in their frequent, implicit assumption that when we apply the proviso we use the latest scientific knowledge of natural resources, technology, and the economy’s operations. Problematic for these theories is that much of the pertinent knowledge used is obtained through particular persons’ labor. If the knowledge obtained through individuals’ labor must be made available to everyone and if particular persons’ new knowledge affects the proviso’s proper application, (...)
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  48. Rescuing Justice and Equality—A Critical Engagement.Helga Varden - 2010 - Social Philosophy Today 26:175-189.
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