Open Journal Systems

The Right vs. the Good: Kant vs. Rawls

Patricia Kitcher


Rawls regarded the priority of the right over the good as the characteristic feature of Kantian constructivism. I have four goals in the paper. First, I try to refute Rawls’s reading of Kant on the relation between the right and the good. Second, I fill out Kant’s picture of the rational natures that have intrinsic value: They have the law of duty within, are predisposed to respect themselves and others who have the law of duty within, and belong to a community of rational natures. Third, I argue that because Kant thought that the right and the good were coeval, he is not a constructivist, but a kind of realist. Finally, I use my examination of the good, the intrinsically valuable in Kant, to reject any temptation to regard his ethics as dependent on his teleological claim that human nature is the end of nature.


Rawls, right, good, constructivism, motivating ground, moral community.

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Allison, Henry E. (2011). Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary. Oxford University Press.

Gregor, Mary, trans. and ed., (1996). Immanuel Kant. Practical Philosophy. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, P. Guyer and A. W. Wood, gen. eds., New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kant, Immanuel (1900- ). Kants gesammelte Schriften, Akademie Ausgabe, edited by the Koeniglichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 29 vols. Walter de Gruyter and predecessors, 1900-.

Korsgaard, Christine (1986). “Kant’s Formula of Humanity.” Kant-Studien 77, Heft 2, (April 1986): 183-202.

Mill, John Stuart (1861/1991). On Liberty and Other Essays. John Gray, ed., Oxford World Classics.

Pluhar, Werner, trans. (1996). Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason: Unified Edition. Indianapolis: Hackett.

Pluhar, Werner, trans. (2002). Immanuel Kant. Critique of Practical Reason. Hackett.

Pluhar, Werner, trans. (2009). Immanuel Kant. Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason. Hackett.

Rawls, John (1980/1999). “Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory” in Collected Papers. Samuel Freeman, ed. Harvard University Press.

Rawls, John (2000). Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy. Barbara Herman, ed. Harvard University Press.

Stern, Robert (2013). “Kant, Moral Obligation, and the Holy Will.” In Kant on Practical Justification, Mark Timmons and Sorin Baiasu, eds., Oxford University Press, 125-152.

Willaschek, Marcus (1992). Praktishe Vernunft: Handlungstheorie und Moralbegründungbei Kant. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler.

Wood, Allen W. (1999). Kant’s Ethical Thought. Cambridge University Press.



  • Não há apontamentos.