All Kings in the Kingdom of Ends

18 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018 Last revised: 1 Aug 2018

See all articles by Jeremy Waldron

Jeremy Waldron

New York University School of Law

Date Written: July 3, 2018


Kant’s “kingdom of ends” formulation uses a political model to illuminate some moral ideals. Kant scholars have mostly failed to explore what we might think of as the politics of the kingdom of ends, and how far it reflects Kant’s own political ideas — his Rousseauian and republican ideas. My paper will look at the kingdom of ends through the eyes of a political philosopher. Among other things, the paper will consider Kant’s view that a king — if there is one — ought to rule in a republican spirit. And it will reject the interpretation that sovereignty in the kingdom of ends is reserved for God: the whole point of the model is that people should think of themselves as sharing in sovereignty. There is also a question about the relation between the kingdom of ends and Kant’s observations on dignity in the Groundwork. Is dignity a concept within the model — the dignity of a law-maker — or is it something with real application in moral life, which the kingdom-of-ends model helps illuminate? I shall argue that it is both of these.

Keywords: Categorical Imperative, Citizenship, Constitutionalism, Dignity, End-In-Itself, Kant, Kingdom Of Ends, Law, Legislation, Monarchy, Morality, Republicanism, Sovereignty

Suggested Citation

Waldron, Jeremy, All Kings in the Kingdom of Ends (July 3, 2018). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-39. Available at SSRN: or

Jeremy Waldron (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics