What is a black radical Kantianism without Du Bois? On method, principle, and abolition democracy

Journal of Social Philosophy 55 (1):6-24 (2023)
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This essay argues that a black radical Kantianism proposes a Kantian theory of justice in the circumstances of injustice. First, I describe BRK’s method of political critique and explain how it builds on Kant’s republicanism. Second, I argue that Kant’s original account of public right is incomplete because it neglects that a situated citizenry’s adoption of an ideal contributes to its refinement. Lastly, with the aid of W.E.B. Du Bois’s analysis of American Reconstruction and his proposal of an “abolition democracy,” I offer my refined universalizable standard for political critique. Du Bois reconceptualizes the requirements of justice to protect the political liberties and productive powers of black freedmen and the working poor. While originating with the political demands of black freedmen during the Reconstruction era, the universal protection of political liberties and productive powers offers a novel public standard for political judgment that should still anchor deliberation today.


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Author's Profile

Elvira Basevich
University of California, Davis

References found in this work

The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
The souls of Black folk.W. E. B. Du Bois - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Utopophobia: On the Limits (If Any) of Political Philosophy.David M. Estlund - 2019 - Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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