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Kant on Traveling Blacksmiths and Passive Citizenship

Authors
  • Moran, Kate A.1
  • 1 Department of Philosophy, 415 South Street, MA 02453 , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Kant-Studien
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Mar 09, 2021
Volume
112
Issue
1
Pages
105–126
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/kant-2021-0004
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Kant makes and elaborates upon a distinction between active citizenship and passive citizenship. Active citizens enjoy the right to vote and rights of political participation generally. Passive citizens do not, though they still enjoy the protection of the law as citizens. Kant’s examples have left commentators puzzling over how these distinctions follow from his stated rationale or justification for active citizenship, namely, that active citizens possess a kind of political and economic self-sufficiency. This essay focuses on one subset passive citizenry – that of traveling blacksmiths, barbers, and day laborers in order to examine Kant’s distinctions. I argue that these examples show that Kant’s concerns regarding dependence are, at least in some cases, pragmatic rather than political.

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