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Immanuel Kant on Social Goods - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 309
Public Goods/Community Goods/Kant/Höffe: According to the international law teacher Hugo Grotius (1583 - 1645) and his powerful treatise on the law of war and peace(1), the earth and its fruits are first and foremost a common property of mankind. Private property is created through a contractual transfer of certain parts of it.
LockeVsGrotius: In contrast, Locke claims what Rousseau follows in the social contract: According to the model of agriculture and craftsmanship, property is acquired through work, with which the object is prepared according to needs.
KantVsGrotius: Kant agrees with Locke's view that primary ownership does not arise from contractual agreement, but from an original acquisition. He rejects the labour theory, however. The work presupposes a material that must already belong to someone, so that it does not establish an original legal title.
Real Estate/Population: Kant criticizes the widespread notion of originally ownerless land. In truth, the first buyer does not encounter no-man's land, but common property, i.e. not objects that are free of rights,
Höffe I 310
but that are in the community of all co-owners. To the question of how private property can then come about, Kant answers: only unilaterally, as appropriation (occupation).
VsKant: Critics see in this view the partisanship for a right of the fist. In truth, the very first appropriation is not the taking away of something from someone else, but the original appropriation of something that does not yet belong to any private person.
Right of residence: Before all customary legal acts humans have the right to be there "where nature, or chance (without their will) has placed them"(2).


1. H. Grotius, De jure belli ac pacis, 1625, II, Chap. 2-3
2. Kant, Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre § 13


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
I. Kant
I Günter Schulte Kant Einführung (Campus) Frankfurt 1994
Externe Quellen. ZEIT-Artikel 11/02 (Ludger Heidbrink über Rawls)
Volker Gerhard "Die Frucht der Freiheit" Plädoyer für die Stammzellforschung ZEIT 27.11.03
Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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