Favourite Kant Footnotes, #2

Alright, so my favourite Kant footnotes are the same as everyone else’s. I’m not bothered. Here’s another one:

He who does a piece of work can sell it to someone else, just as if it were his own property. But guaranteeing one’s labour is not the same as selling a commodity. The domestic servant, the shop assistant, the labourer, or even the barber, are merely labourers, not artists (artifices, in the wider sense) or members of the state, and are thus unqualified to be citizens. And although the man to whom I give my firewood to chop and the tailor to whom I give material to make into clothes both appear to have a similar relationship towards me, the former differs from the latter in the same way as the barber from the wig-maker (to whom I may in fact have given the requisite hair) or the labourer from the artist or tradesman, who does a piece of work which belongs to him until he is paid for it. For the latter, in pursuing his trade, exchanges his property with someone else, while the former allows someone else to make use of him. But I do admit that it is somewhat difficult to define the qualifications which entitle anyone to claim the status of being his own master.”

Yes, that’s the footnote to the essay “On the Common Saying That This Might be True in Theory But That It Does Not Apply In Practice”, in which Kant explains why wig-makers should have the vote, and barbers shouldn’t, with a nice acknowledgement of the complexity of the question at the end.More soon, possibly.

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