Engaging with Forst's 'Right to Justification': Kantian Analogies and the Problem of Subjectivity

18 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2017  

Claudio Corradetti

University of Rome

Date Written: June 6, 2017


In the following sections I engage with Forst’s treatment of justification and how this relates to a fundamental “duty” to justification. I raise doubts on the equation that he establishes between the unconditionality of a Kantian moral imperative and the pretense of unconditionality of the duty to justification (§1). As a result, I contest that the right to justification stands as a “fundamentum inconcussum” of a justificatory theory of justice and suggest, alternatively, that the Kantian account takes the justification of morality and law as elements of a cooperative scheme of justice. A corollary to this point is the problem of pluralism and the dialogical nature of reason as a capacity to take the standpoint perspective of the other (§1.1). I will argue that at times, Forst’s moral grounding of justice might raise concerns with a truly post-metaphysical doctrine of justice. Attached to this point and to the charge of selectivity is the problem of legal subjectivisation that arises for those “affected subjects” in a Forstian sense, that might nevertheless never enter into a process of justification of justice.

Therefore, secondly, and connected to the first point I hold that Forst’s justificatory theory of justice needs a more robust theory of subjectivity, one that is capable of accounting why and how individuals become moral subjects in a full concrete way, that is, as subjects of these societies. Since the political terrain appears to be crossed by a radically irreconciliable dichotomy between the social processes of subject formation and the formulation of justificatory claims of justice, Forst’s preordained conception of individuality faces the risk of becoming a non-starter for a socially embedded justification of justice that is incapable of including the rightless other as a subject of law (§2).

Keywords: Forst, The Right to Justification, Kant, Theory of Justice

Suggested Citation

Corradetti, Claudio, Engaging with Forst's 'Right to Justification': Kantian Analogies and the Problem of Subjectivity (June 6, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981817

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