Call for abstract. Panel on: Kant and Human Rights

We are pleased to announce the call for abstract for the panel on Kant and Human Rights:

European Consortium for Political Research
8th General Conference
3 – 6 September 2014



Panel on: Kant and Human Rights:

Panel Chairs: Eric R. Boot (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Harry Lesser (University of Manchester)

Section: Kant and Kantian Constructivism in Moral and Political Philosophy
(organized by the ECPR Kantian Standing Group)
Section chairs: Sorin Baiasu (Keele University and University of Vienna) and Alice Pinheiro Walla (Trinity College Dublin)

To what extent does Kant’s understanding of human dignity conform to the use of “human dignity” in contemporary human rights documents? In what manner are we to understand Kant’s “one innate right,” which he discusses in The Metaphysics of Morals? Does this inborn right to freedom give rise merely to negative rights and correlative negative duties of forbearance, or is a more robust reading of “freedom” possible, which could imply positive rights, for example socio-economic rights, and correlative positive duties?

Some contemporary Kantians, led by Onora O’Neill, have doubts concerning the desirability of the predominance of a human rights perspective in contemporary moral philosophy, and argue that Kant’s work encourages us to make duties rather than rights the fundamental moral category. Others, in contrast, maintain that Kant’s work stands at the basis of our modern human rights discourse.

As these brief sketches of current debates illustrate, the implications regarding human rights to be drawn from Kant’s practical philosophy are far from unambiguous. This panel therefore welcomes papers, which can shed light on these and similar contentious issues. The focus may be on Kantian exegesis, on debates within contemporary Kantian philosophy concerning human rights, or on both.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 400 words to: no later than February 7, 2014.

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