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Abstract

This paper responds briefly to four reviews of Force and Freedom. Valentini and Sangiovanni criticize what they see as the excessive formalism of the Kantian enterprise, contending that the Kantian project is circular, because it defines rights and freedom together, and that this circularity renders it unable to say anything determinate about appropriate restrictions and permissions. I show that the appearance of circularity arises from a misconstrual of the Kantian idea of a right. Properly understood, Kantian rights are partially indeterminate, but not in a way that causes problems for the account. Ronzoni and Williams seek to broaden the reach of public right, arguing that Kant's abstract approach overlooks pressing questions of social and political life, (Ronzoni) and that public right should allow for democratic deliberation about purposes that go beyond the requirement that a state provide a rightful condition for its members (Williams). I argue that the Kantian view makes room for these factors, but that each must be understood in relation to the formal constraints of right.