ABSTRACT. The paper argues that within a Kantian framework national law requires a foundation in cosmopolitan right. The foundational character of cosmopolitan right is most explicitly expressed in The Metaphysical Elements of Justice where Kant argues that public right necessarily includes three forms: political right, international right and cosmopolitan right which form a system of interdependent parts. Cosmopolitan right also appears in Perpetual Peace as one of the three definitive articles of a constitutional pacific league of states. In this context cosmopolitan right is enshrined in each domestic constitution requiring every state to treat every individual (including non nationals) as if they were citizens of the world. In this manner it becomes possible for all persons to have basic rights without the tangible existence of a world state. Furthermore, I argue that cosmopolitan right requires democratic institutions at the global level in order to universally secure republican values within each state. Thus, I conclude that a Kantian or rightful state is secured only within a cosmopolitan juridical order. (pp. 20–26)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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