Statehood and Justice

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Does the state have a characteristic role in the lives of its subjects, assuming officials are not utterly corrupt? And is that role consistent with its being a potential force for justice? The question is important if, as realists hold, the state is ineliminable. The paper sketches a genealogical way of approaching the issue and gestures at an answer: that whether it is actually just or not, the state’s role is to entrench laws that give at least an elite citizenry a range of rights, however limited. This fits with Kant’s notion of the civil as distinct from the rightful condition: the ideal of statehood as distinct from justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • Analytical philosophy
  • Bernard Williams
  • Genealogy
  • H. L. A Hart
  • Justice
  • Kant
  • Liberalism
  • Modern state
  • Political theory
  • Rawls
  • Realism
  • Statehood


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