Völkerrecht as Staatenrecht. Unpacking Kant’s definition of cosmopolitan right

Gualtiero Lorini*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


The paper aims to investigate the role played by the concept of Völkerrecht in Kant’s public right. The first part of the paper provides the sketch of an overview concerning the origin of the expression Völkerrecht. The goal of this brief reconstruction is to outline the reasons why this German technical expression has survived in the juridical domain, without absorbing the tendency to speak of an “international right”. This serves as a premise to properly assess the relevance of Kant’s claim on the necessity of at least bearing in mind the distinction between Völkerrecht and Staatenrecht, from which our analysis departs. The second part illustrates and tries to clarify some potential misunderstandings concerning the possibility of pairing the departure of human beings and States from the state of nature. This methodological clarification allows us to understand the reasons why the acknowledgment of States as juridical subjects represents a crucial assumption in order to appraise the peculiar characters of Kant’s cosmopolitan right, which in no way can be reduced to the framework of international right. The leading hypothesis is that a proper understanding of the meaning and value of a right regulating the relationships between States enables a richer assessment of cosmopolitan right, which is the further and final step of Kant’s public right.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteCosmos, Cosmopolitanism and Cosmopolitics throughout History
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Public Right, International Right, Cosmopolitan Right, Peace, Law


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