USING PEOPLE WELL, TREATING PEOPLE BADLY. Towards a Kantian Realm of Ends and Means

Our project will develop a Kantian account of mistreating persons alongside an account of treating persons well. According to a well-known principle of Kant’s ethics, we should never use people merely as means. This is the wrong of instrumentalization. However, Kant also insists on our duties to act as means for one another.

We explore two connections between these ideas. First, we analyse forms of mistreatment beyond instrumentalization, such as exclusion and paternalism. In particular, we emphasise that many forms of mistreatment deny people opportunities to act as means for others. This is the second connection. To affirm people’s status as ends-in-themselves, we must recognise their abilities and responsibilities to act as means. As such, we explore an overlooked dimension of Kant’s ideal „realm of ends.“ People should relate to each other, not only as ends-in-themselves, but also as means.

The project is funded by a collaboration of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DfG). The project team is Corinna Mieth and Ewa Wyrębska-Đermanović (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Martin Sticker (University of Bristol) and Garrath Williams (Lancaster University). The project began in February 2023 and will run until January 2026.

More information on this project can be found on the following website: