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Kant’s Rejection of the Right of Revolution

(Original title: Kant’s Rejection of the Right of Revolution)
Filozofia, 2009, vol. 64, No 6, pp. 592-603.
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Kant’s denial of right of revolution has bewildered many Kant’s scholars. Kant sympathizes with French, American, and Irish revolutionaries. But in his Metaphysics of Morals he rejects the right of revolution. Apparently, his stance represents a tension or a contradiction. Kant believes that a legitimate government should be based on the consent of the citizens. Thus, logically he is expected to affirm the right of citizens to disobedience. However, he also holds the view that citizens’ moral obligation to obey the law is absolute. I believe that Kant’s rejection of the right of revolution does not represent a contradiction. Rather, it is the necessary consequence of Kant’s metaphysics of subject and the notion of transcendental subjectivity.

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