The Promise and Limit of Kant’s Theory of Justice: On Race, Gender and the Structural Domination of Labourers

Kantian Review 27 (4):541-555 (2022)
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This article applies Charles W. Mills’ notion of the domination contract to develop a Kantian theory of justice. The concept of domination underlying the domination contract is best understood as structural domination, which unjustifiably authorizes institutions and labour practices to weaken vulnerable groups’ public standing as free, equal and independent citizens. Though Kant’s theory of justice captures why structural domination of any kind contradicts the requirements of justice, it neglects to condemn exploitive gender- and race-based labour relations. Because the ideal of civic equality must position all persons as co-legislators of the terms of political rule, the state must dismantle exploitive race- and gender-based labour relations for all persons to command political power as civic equals.

Author's Profile

Elvira Basevich
University of California, Davis


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