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International Conference: “Law and Morality in Kant” (Göttingen, 14-16 July, 2022)

International Conference: “Law and Morality in Kant” (Göttingen, 14-16 July, 2022)

We are glad to give notice of the international conference Law and Morality in Kant which will take place at the Georg-August-University Göttingen (Alte Mensa, Wilhelmsplatz 3, 37073 Göttingen) on July 14th-16th, 2022.

The event is organized by Dr. Martin Brecher, Dr. Dr. Philipp-Alexander Hirsch and Prof. Dr. Bernd Ludwig.

The conference flyer is available at this link.

To register, please write to

Below you can find the general presentation of the conference and the program of the event.


How do law and morality relate to each other? Does legal philosophy merely apply general moral principles to particular circumstances which give rise to the need for law and its institutions? Or does law have its own kind of normativity that cannot be reduced to morals?
In current scholarship, Kant is often cited as holding the latter view according to which law is independent of morality, and some scholars consider this asserted independence of his legal philosophy from his moral philosophy and its metaphysical premises as the key for building on Kant in developing present-day accounts of law. But is such a separation of Kant’s philosophy of law from central tenets developed in the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason feasible, both exegetically and philosophically? Is Kant’s legal philosophy as it is presented in the first part of the Metaphysics of Morals, the Doctrine of Right, an integral part his overall moral philosophy or not?
The conference “Law and Morality in Kant” will address those questions about the normative foundations of Kant’s legal philosophy and its relation to Kant’s overall moral philosophy, confronting the most important positions regarding this topic, in order to explore and critically reflect on the strength and potential of the various interpretative accounts. The talks will not only address interpretative issues but also the systematic potential of Kant’s thinking for contemporary legal and political philosophy. In particular, the conference wants to bring together renowned experts who have already developed paradigmatic interpretations as well as young researchers who challenge these views and propose alternative accounts. Therefore we invite all scholars and students working in the field to participate in the conference.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome and Introduction

Derivation or Separation?

Derivational Readings of Kant’s Legal Philosophy

9:30 – 10:00 Paul Guyer (Providence): “Morality, Right, and Responsibility”
Comment by Michael Gregory (Groningen)

11:00 – 12:15 Bernd Ludwig (Göttingen): “The Direct Route from the Categorical Imperative to the General Principle of Right”
Comment by Çağlar Çömez (Istanbul)

Non-Derivational Readings of Kant’s Legal Philosophy

14:00 – 15:15 Christoph Horn (Bonn): “Is there a Categorical Imperative of Right in Kant?”
Comment by Daniel Ranweiler (Los Angeles)

15:30 – 16:45 Marcus Willaschek (Frankfurt a.M.): “Kant on Moral Universality and the Normative Foundations of Right”
Comment by Stephan Zimmermann (Halle)

17:15 – 18:30 Sorin Baiasu (Keele): “Kant’s Right as Normatively Independent. Three Arguments Considered and Rejected”
Comment by Lara Scaglia (Warsaw)


Friday, 15 July 2022

Systematic Potentials and Limit

What Freedom Is Required for Law?

9:30 – 10:45 James P. Messina (New Orleans): “Two Conceptions of Freedom in Kant’s Political Philosophy”
Comment by Luigi Filieri (Mainz)

11:00 – 12:15 Japa Pallikkathayil (Pittsburgh): “What is External Freedom?”
Comment by Micha Gläser (Zürich)

14:00 – 15:15 George Pavlakos (Glasgow): “The Kantian Legal Relation as Radical Non-Positivism”
Comment by Luke Davies (London)

Law and Morality in the Political Domain

15:45 – 17:00 Alice Pinheiro Walla (Hamilton, Ontario): “Bridging the Gap: Ethical and Juridical Duties in Case of Lacking Political Institutions”
Comment by Daniel Häuser (Hamburg)

17:15 – 18:30 Katrin Flikschuh (London): “Exactitude and Indemonstrability in Kant’s Doctrine of Right: On the Limits of Kant’s Legal Philosophy”
Comment by Sofie Møller (Frankfurt a.M.)


Saturday, 16 July 2022

Tensions and Tangencies Between Right and Morality in Kant

Acting in the Grey Zone of Law and Morality

9:30 – 10:45 Martin Brecher (Mannheim): “Wrong, but Permitted? Kant’s Notion of Permissive Law”
Comment by Jakob Huber (Berlin)

11:00 – 12:15 Ralf Bader (Fribourg): “Morality, Legality, and Luck”
Comment by Marie Newhouse (Guildford)

Sanctions and Coercion – A Problem for a Derivational Reading?

14:00 – 15:15 Kate Moran (Boston) & Jens Timmermann (St. Andrews): “Should Criminals Be Punished for Their Folly? On the Ethical Foundations of Kant’s Legal Philosophy”
Comment by Katja Stoppenbrink (München)

15:30 – 16:45 Philipp-Alexander Hirsch (Freiburg): “Legal Coercion as a Moral Problem? Kant on the Enforcement of Rights and the Limits of Autonomy”
Comment by Fiorella Tomassini (Groningen)

16:45 Closing Remarks

More information at this link.


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