The Symbol of Justice: Bloodguilt in Kant

Kantian Review 26 (1):79-97 (2021)
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One of the more notorious passages in Kant occurs in the Doctrine of Right where he claims that ‘bloodguilt’ will cling to members of a dissolving society if they fail to execute the last murderer. Although this is the most famous, bloodguilt appears in three other passages in Kant’s writings. These have received little attention in Kant scholarship. In this article, I examine these other passages and argue that bloodguilt functions as a symbol for the demandingness of justice. I then offer a sympathetic interpretation of the passage from the Doctrine of Right.
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Archival date: 2021-11-10
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