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Single Idea 21079

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

Full Idea

It is precisely the general will as it is given a priori, within a single people or in the mutual relationships of various peoples, which alone determines what is right among men.

Gist of Idea

The a priori general will of a people shows what is right

Source

Immanuel Kant (Perpetual Peace [1795], App 1)

A Reaction

The clearest quotation for showing Kant's debt to Rousseau. Why should Rousseau bother to have a real assembly of the people, if the General Will can be worked out a priori? Indeed, the a priori version must be deemed superior to any meeting.

Book Reference

Kant,Immanuel: 'Political Writings', ed/tr. Reiss,Hans [CUP 1996], p.123