Volume 48, Issue 3, Fall 2018
Kant’s Reformulation of the Concept of Ius Naturae
Like previous theorists of natural law, Kant believes in the possibility (and necessity) of a rational theory of ius, but also claims that the very concept of ius naturae and the method of investigation of its principles must be thoroughly reformulated. I will maintain that Kant solves the methodological problem of natural law theories by stating that a rational doctrine of Right concerns pure rational knowledge. Right must be conceived as a metaphysical doctrine in which its principles and laws are determined a priori. By conceiving the idea of a “metaphysics of morals” and linking Right with it, he finds a way both to conserve the notion of ius naturae (i.e., rational and “immutable principles for any giving of positive law” (RL, AA 06: 229)) and to purify it from any empirical or anthropological element.