Helga Varden

Helga Varden
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | UIUC · Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy
See my personal website for more information: helgavarden.com

About

62
Publications
12,251
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
273
Citations

Publications

Publications (62)
Book
Full-text available
Sex, Love, and Gender is the first volume to present a comprehensive philosophical theory that brings together all of Kant's practical philosophy — found across his works on ethics, justice, anthropology, history, and religion — and provide a critique of emotionally healthy and morally permissible sexual, loving, gendered being. By rethinking Kant'...
Article
Full-text available
Contrary to the received view, I argue that Kant, in the “Doctrine of Right”, outlines a third, republican alternative to absolutist and voluntarist conceptions of political legitimacy. According to this republican alternative, a state must meet certain institutional requirements before political obligations arise. An important result of this inter...
Chapter
Full-text available
Robert Nozick initiated one of the most inspired and inspiring discussions in political philosophy with his 1974 response in Anarchy, State, and Utopia to John Rawls’s 1971 account of distributive justice in A Theory of Justice. These two works have informed an enormous amount of subsequent, especially liberal, discussions of economic justice, wher...
Article
Full-text available
In our societies today, the prevalence of serious, untreated trauma means that we cannot reliably expect to receive or give unconditional love, understood as love which functions within a normative framework to protect each and all of us as having dignity. Serious, untreated trauma makes unconditional love, so understood, unreliable because each ti...
Article
Full-text available
This review locates Bhandary’s Freedom to Care in the history of philosophy, notes some of the theory’s distinctive features that clearly advance the care theory tradition, and raises some puzzles and questions regarding specific elements of the theory. My remarks focus mostly on Part I of the book and on the following four topics: (1) Bhandary’s R...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper provides an entrance into central discussions regarding Kant’s account of property. The first section shows how Kant engages and transforms important, related proposals from Hobbes and Locke as well as how the ‘libertarian’ and ‘liberal republican’ interpretive traditions differ in their readings on these points. Since Kantian theories f...
Article
Full-text available
Preprint.
Article
Full-text available
Open access available here: https://www.idunn.no/eprint/5BKGIAYZM8MWDQQGX2J8/full In Kant’s “Doctrine of Right” there is a philosophical and interpretive puzzle surrounding the translation of a key concept: Gewalt. Should we translate it as “force,” “power,” or “violence”? This raises both general questions in Kant’s legal-political philosophy as...
Chapter
Full-text available
An enduring source of skepticism towards Kant’s practical philosophy is his deep conviction that morality must be understood in terms of universality. Whether we look to Kant’s fundamental moral principle (the Categorical Imperative) or to his fundamental principle of right (the Universal Principle of Right), universality lies at the core of the an...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper considers why obtaining and sustaining a good sexual life tends to be so challenging and why the temptation to settle for a bad one can be so alluring. We engage these questions by cultivating ideas found in the traditions of feminist philosophy and the philosophy of sex and love in dialogue with the works of two unlikely, canonical bedf...
Article
Full-text available
Link to online version here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/7CKUINUCX3KZQYYV53ST?target=10.1111/1467-9752.12621 Kant’s life shows us that it is possible to be a philosopher who revolutionises our thinking about morality in terms of freedom—in fact, to be the first to propose that treating others morally is to treat them with respect...
Article
Full-text available
hese are replies to my critics at at Society for German Idealism and Romanticism (SGIR) Author-Meets-Critics session, Pacific APA 2021. Published version of the full symposium is available here: https://nebula.wsimg.com/081dbeb03524f8b281780c71acd0fb66?AccessKeyId=ADFD9C28516D9C6780F7&disposition=0&alloworigin=1
Article
Full-text available
This paper critiques Locke’s account of private property. After sketching its basic principles as well as how contemporary Lockeans have developed them, I argue that this account doesn’t and cannot work philosophically. The main problem is that the account requires the determination of objective value of resources in historical time, but this doesn...
Chapter
Full-text available
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper I argue for two things. First, many concerns we have regarding privacy—both regarding what things we do and do not want to protect in its name—can be explained through an account of our moral (legal and ethical) rights. Second, to understand a further set of moral (ethical and legal) concerns regarding privacy—especially the temptatio...
Chapter
This chapter links Kant’s account of human nature to unruly sexual activity and to the consequences of sexual or gendered violence and oppression. I use the account to explore the temptation of engaging in sexual violence and oppression, the damage sexual wrongdoing can do, why and how we can heal from sexual violence, why there are historical patt...
Chapter
To conclude this first part of the book, let me revisit a core challenge mentioned in the general Introduction. ¹ Insofar as Kantians humanize their agents by showing them to be more embodied and social (and not only rational), as I have done, they appear to encounter a new problem: their accounts of human agency appear not to be distinctively Kant...
Chapter
This chapter presents a Kant-based account of the challenges involved in realizing affectionately loving, sexual, and gendered lives in ways that are emotionally healthy and morally responsible. To this end, I introduce and make use of Kant’s accounts of the predisposition to good, the propensity to evil, the faculty of desire, truthfulness as our...
Chapter
This chapter argues that in order to overcome the problems haunting Kant’s own account, we simply need to do what he should have done. We need to correctly incorporate Kant’s complex account of human nature and freedom into our theory of sex, love, and gender. Kant’s writings can show us a way to rethink sexual or gender identity and sexual orienta...
Chapter
In his marginalia in his copy of Achenwall, Kant says, The great difficulty in the problem of establishing a civil constitution is: that the human being is an animal that demands rights and yet does not willingly concede his right to anyone else, who thus has a need of a master who in turn can always only be a human being. From such crooked timber...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter provides an interpretation of Kant’s own account of the traditional genders (man and woman) with particular attention to the historically oppressed gender (woman). I explain how Kant’s full account of human nature, including his teleological arguments, in combination with how we use the imagination aesthetically when being sexual, lovi...
Chapter
This chapter engages complexities concerning systemic justice in relation to sex, love, and gender. It shows how philosophical ideas in Kant’s account of public right in combination with his full account of human nature, yields a position that can take on systemic issues of dependency (including the state’s right and duty to fight poverty) and oppr...
Chapter
This chapter provides a Kantian account of private right in relation to marriage and trade in sexual services. I argue that in addition to various non-ideal reasons and reasons based on equality that make same-sex couples want to have a right to marry, there are ideal reasons why they want such a right. I also extend this argument to defend the rig...
Chapter
This chapter presents a Kantian account of innate right in relation to the issues of abortion, sodomy, and obscenity laws. At first blush, Kant does not appear to have much to offer as we seek plausible philosophical accounts of the legal permissibility of abortion, authorizing consent for sexual activities, and the use of erotica. I demonstrate th...
Chapter
It is our capacity to act truly freely that makes it possible for us to be morally responsible for our actions. It is what sets us apart from all other living creatures we have encountered so far in the universe and enables us to be autonomous, self-governing through practical reason. In turn, understanding Kant’s conception of freedom requires us...
Chapter
When critiquing the conditions characteristic of everyday experiences of women and sexual or gendered minorities, capturing the nature of human embodiment and dependency relations is a principal interest. Analyses of embodiment and dependency relations are, for example, naturally at the center of critiques of abortion, domestic violence, systemic i...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter claims that Kant has a consistent and not counterintuitive account of why we have the moral attitudes we do about animals and of how it is that these attitudes have the appearance of being about the animals themselves. It argues that Kant can explain why it doesn’t follow from this that these moral attitudes arise from attributing mora...
Article
Full-text available
How do we care well for a human being: ourselves or another? Non-Kantian scholars rarely identify the philosophy of Kant as a particularly useful resource with which to understand the full complexity of human care. Kant's philosophy is often taken to presuppose that a philosophical analysis of good human life needs to attend only to how autonomous,...
Article
Full-text available
This is a lexicon entry for the Cambridge Kant Lexicon, ed. Julian Wuerth (2021), on Kant's essay "On a supposed right to lie from philanthropy."
Article
Full-text available
This paper starts by sketching Kant’s four ideal legal and political conditions—'anarchy,’ ‘despotism,’ ‘republic,’ and ‘barbarism’—before showing their usefulness for analyzing different political forces that may operate in any given society. Contrary to the common tendency in political philosophy to view our societies as either in the so-called ‘...
Article
Full-text available
Kant on sex gives most philosophers the following associations: a lifelong celibate philosopher; a natural teleological view of sexuality; a strange incorporation of this natural teleological account within his freedom-based moral theory; and a stark ethical condemnation of most sexual activity. Although this paper provides an interpretation of Kan...
Chapter
Full-text available
Kant’s comments on sexuality are commonly found to be at best perplexing and at worst extraordinarily unenlightened and morally offensive. Varden starts by reconstructing what seems to be Kant’s view on sexuality as well as providing an overview of the main, existing Kantian philosophical responses and alternative proposals to this account. In the...
Article
Full-text available
Political philosophers darkly joke that after a revolution they will be among the first to be thrown onto the bonfi re. Both those who have political power and those who lack it can fi nd political philosophy threatening, which occasionally makes being a political philosopher a risky affair. John Locke experienced the danger that can accompany the...
Chapter
Full-text available
Kant ’s practical philosophy is a philosophy of freedom. For Kant, it is our ability to be free that sets us apart from all other living creatures, and makes it possible for us to act normatively, including be ethically and legally responsible for our actions. The concept of freedom is central to all of Kant ’s practical works, regardless of whethe...
Article
Full-text available
Kant's conception of women is complex. Although he struggles to bring his considered view of women into focus, a sympathetic reading shows it not to be anti-feminist and to contain important arguments regarding human nature. Kant believes the traditional male-female distinction is unlikely to disappear, but he never proposes the traditional gender...
Chapter
Full-text available
This is a short lexicon piece on the Rawls-Nozick debates.
Article
Full-text available
In this article I critically engage some of the philosophical ideas Kleingeld presents in Kant and Cosmopolitanism, namely patriotism, poverty and global justice. Against Kleingeld, I propose, first, that perhaps democracy is less important and affectionate love more so to both Kant himself as well as to an account that can successfully refute a Be...
Article
Full-text available
Liberal theories of justice have been rightly criticized for two things by care theorists. First, they have failed to deal with private care relations’ inherent (inter)dependency, asymmetry and particularity. Second, they have been shown unable properly to address the asymmetry and dependency constitutive of care workers’ and care-receivers’ system...
Chapter
Full-text available
Pregnant women and persons engaging in homosexual practices compose two groups that have been and still are among those most severely subjected to coercive restrictions regarding their own bodies. From an historical point of view, it is a recent and rare phenomenon that a woman's right to abortion and a person's right to engage in homosexual intera...
Article
Full-text available
I start this article by addressing Kant's question why rightful interactions require both domestic public authorities (or states) and a global public authority? Of central importance are two issues: first, the identification of problems insoluble without public authorities, and second, why a domestic public monopoly on coercion can be rightfully es...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper I provide an interpretation of Kant’s conception of free speech. Free speech is understood as the kind of speech that is constitutive of interaction respectful of everybody’s right to freedom, and it requires what we with John Rawls may call ‘public reason.’ Public reason so understood refers to how the public authority must reason in...
Article
Full-text available
Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individua...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, I present and defend Kant's non-voluntarist conception of political obligations. I argue that civil society is not primarily a prudential requirement for justice; it is not merely a necessary evil or a moral response to combat our corrupting nature or our tendency to act viciously, thoughtlessly or in a biased manner. Rather, civil s...
Article
This paper argues with Kant that the only justifiable basis for a legal system is an innate right to freedom, which is defined as the right to be subject only to universal law and not to the arbitrary choices of others. Since rightful interaction is possible only within public institutional frameworks, we cannot respect one another's innate right t...
Article
Over the last few years, there has been intense political debate concerning the rightful use of coercion in the international sphere. Strong political forces have maintained that in addition to being inefficient, the current international authority, the United Nations (UN), is neither necessary nor desirable for the realization of international jus...
Article
Full-text available
Saurette's alternative reading of Kant aims to bring to light the 'subterranean Kantian logic' – what he calls the 'Kantian Imperative' – which drives Kant's moral and political project. The 'Kantian Imperative' places common sense and the affect of humiliation at the centre of Kant's moral and political theory. Kant is seen as using common sense t...
Article
Full-text available
Contrary to much Kant interpretation, this article argues that Kant's moral philosophy, including his account of charity, is irrelevant to justifying the state's right to redistribute material resources to secure the rights of dependents (the poor, children, and the impaired). The article also rejects the popular view that Kant either does not or c...

Network

Cited By