The Intrinsic Normativity of Law in Light of Kant's Doctrine of Right

Demiray M. R.

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, pp.161-187, 2016 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.5281/zenodo.55112
  • Page Numbers: pp.161-187


This paper claims that a particular interpretation of Kant's legal-political philosophy, as it is presented in his Doctrine of Right, provides us with the much needed resolution to the question of the normativity of law, precisely because it brings in a perspective that avoids both positivism and ethicism. This particular interpretation follows a strategy of argumentation that I call the "argument for the intrinsic normativity of law", i.e., the argument that law is defined and justified on its own grounds, without any need to refer to ethics, or rational/enlightened self-interest. This argument highlights the concept of legal person with the innate right to freedom as the necessary presupposition of legal practices, and sets forth a fundamental sense of justice inherent to the concept of law that consists in the reciprocal recognition of legal personality. In the end, I come up with a distinctive conception of law that I formulate as a last resort of normativity in the face of a conflict wherein an ethical solution does not appeal to all parties.