Kant, Immanuel (1724–1804)
William B. Ewald
Some contemporary philosophers consider Immanuel Kant the most influential philosopher of law of modern times. Although he was not trained as a jurist, he regularly lectured on natural law throughout his career, and he was familiar with both legal terminology and legal reasoning. His most extensive discussion of law is to be found in the first half of his Metaphysics of Morals. This work, published in 1797, has often been dismissed as a product of Kant's old age, and it certainly lacks the philosophical depth of the writings of his prime. Nevertheless, when one adds to it the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), the Critique of Practical Reason (rev. 2d ed. 1788), and a series of Kant's shorter works on political and legal topics, they comprise ...