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Kant & Post-Kantian German Philosophy Group Talk (Alice Pinheiro Walla, McMaster)

Friday October 21, 2022, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Kant & Post-Kantian German Philosophy Research Interest Group welcomes Alice Pinheiro Walla, a professor of Philosophy at McMaster University. Alice Pinheiro Walla’s research applies Kantian philosophy to contemporary issues in political and moral philosophy, and the philosophy of law. Previously, she has been based at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and Trinity College, Dublin.

Talk Title

Bridging the Juridical Gap: Ethical and Juridical Duties in the Absence of Political Institutions

Talk Abstract

Kant posits a duty of right to leave the state of nature and enter a civil condition with all others with whom external interaction cannot be avoided. However, while there is a duty to bring about juridical institutions and improve them over time as to approach Kant’s ideal of a just legal-political association (the ideal republic), individuals find themselves internationally in a “relative state of nature” (regarding other polities) and internally in constant transition (towards better political institutions).

The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, I analyze the need to satisfy duties of right as a matter of personal virtue in the absence of or under defective juridical institutions. I argue that this introduces complications in Kant’s account, and that respecting the dignity of those to whom the juridical duty is owed requires treating their claims as a matter of right and not of ethics. Secondly, I clarify the implications of “provisionality” for Kant’s account of juridical duties and argue that the problem is not that duties themselves are provisional, but that ethics is called to address matters of right when we are bridging the juridical gap.

For questions or to register, please contact Ethan Millar-Virkutis.


The Kant & Post-Kantian German Idealism Group is a a subgroup of the History of Philosophy Research Group, which focuses on European philosophy in Kant and post-Kantian traditions.



Friday October 21, 2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Nick Stang
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