Constructing the Global Constitution: Kant’s Cosmopolitan Right

MultiRights seminar with Postdoctoral Research Fellow Claudio Corradetti, where he presents his most recent work following his article on Kant's 'transitional' cosmopolitanism.

In this MultiRights seminar Postdoctoral Research Fellow Claudio Corradetti will presents his most recent work following his article on Kant's 'transitional' cosmopolitanism. The two papers will be completed by, a yet to be elaborated, chapter on the legacy of 18th century scholarship with regard to contemporary structural changes in the conception of sovereignty, legitimacy and the unity of international law. This presentation will attempt to draw an initial connection with contemporary problems of global (or cosmopolitan) constitutionalism and the role of international Courts.


The question I address concerns the relation between Kant’s cosmopolitan right, as the right to visit or more in general the right to present a communicative claim etc., and its generation of a cosmopolitan constitution — what Kant calls in Theory and Practice a “cosmopolitan constitution”, or in the Perpetual Peace a global “civil constitution”. Particularly in the Perpetual Peace it is evident the connection between cosmopolitan right and the construction of the cosmopolitan constitution. The relation I investigate finds also extensive consideration in Kant’s latest writing on cosmopolitan law and particularly in the Doctrine of Right. There are two further related corollaries connected to the main question: on concerns the way in which the right to visit is deducted from the idea of an original community of interaction and the other relates to what is the normative import of cosmopolitan law for the constitutionalization of international law. In the following sections I will argue against the thesis of a presumed change of mind in Kant with regard to the ultimate subjects of cosmopolitan right — something that would have arguably occurred in between the writing of the Perpetual Peace and the Doctrine of Right. Furthermore, I criticize the interpretation of the notion of “Verkehr” (commerce) in terms of a collective right and as a right whose content is exhausted by the idea of trade.

I will argue, instead, that for “commercium” Kant had in mind a more complex concept. My thesis, therefore, articulates along these fundamental lines: a) it defends a unitarian view of Kant’s cosmopolitan right to visit and b) it enquiries upon the nature - whether positive or natural - of cosmopolitan law c)it suggests an interaction-based theory of the cosmopolitan project.


The MultiRights seminars are organised by the MultiRights project on the multi-level human rights judiciary. They provide a forum for discussions for researchers from various backgrounds, including law, philosophy and political science. The seminars take place on a regular basis on Tuesdays and are open for all.

Tags: Human Rights
Published Jan. 19, 2016 2:16 PM - Last modified Sep. 1, 2016 2:57 PM