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Single Idea 21070

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will]

Full Idea

If the law is such that a whole people could not possibly agree to it …it is unjust.

Gist of Idea

A law is unjust if the whole people could not possibly agree to it

Source

Immanuel Kant (True in Theory, but not in Practice [1792], 2-Concl)

A Reaction

Kant is explicitly trying to approximate Rousseau's general will. The categorical imperative was greatly influenced by Rousseau. The key point is not whether they accept it, but that unanimous acceptance is unthinkable. Unfair laws will fail.

Book Reference

Kant,Immanuel: 'Political Writings', ed/tr. Reiss,Hans [CUP 1996], p.79