Max Planck Lecture Series

Rightful Relations with Distant Strangers:
Kant, the EU, and the Wider World

Thursday, 6 May 2021, 17:00 - 18:30

Dr Aravind Ganesh

Vice Chancellor‘s Research Fellow in Law at Oxford Brookes University


Aravind Ganesh is the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Law at Oxford Brookes University, as well as a Reconstitution Fellow for 2020-21. His research interests include EU law, public international law, private law theory, and the legal and political philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In June 2019, Aravind obtained a PhD (cum laude) from the Faculty of Law, VU Amsterdam. In addition, he possesses degrees from King’s College London (LLB), Columbia Law School (JD), and Oxford (BCL). From 2015 to 2019, Aravind worked as a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. Besides, he has also worked as a Research Associate for the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, practiced as a Corporate Lawyer in New York, as well as volunteered in South Africa in that country‘s premier public interest law firm. Aravind has held visiting fellowships at UCLouvain (2009-2010) and Tel Aviv University (2014-2015), and his work has been published in journals such as Legal Theory and the Michigan Journal of International Law. A monograph based on his PhD thesis was just published in March 2021 by Hart/Bloomsbury as the 12th title under the “Law and Practical Reason“ series.

Prof. Mattias Kumm

Professor of Law at New York University and Humboldt University


Mattias Kumm is the Inge Rennert Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, as well as a Research Professor on “Globalization and the Rule of Law“ at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) and Humboldt University in Berlin. He has taught and lectured at leading universities worldwide and was a Visiting Professor and John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization at Harvard Law School. Prof. Kumm holds a JSD from Harvard Law School and has pursued studies in law, philosophy and political sciences at the University of Kiel, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Harvard University. Prof. Kumm is on the editorial board of several journals. His research and teaching focuses on basic issues in global, european and comparative public law. His work emphasizes the analytical and normative connection between law, claims to legitimate authority and public reason and the institutional conditions under which such claims can be made plausible. Prof. Kumm argues for the need to reconceive the liberal-democratic constitutional tradition in cosmopolitan and pluralist terms. Among his intellectual influences are Hans Kelsen, Robert Alexy, and Ronald Dworkin.

This book provides a philosophical critique of legal relations between the EU and 'distant strangers' neither located within, nor citizens of, its Member States. Starting with the EU's commitment in Articles 3(5) and 21 TEU to advance democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in 'all its relations with the wider world', Ganesh examines in detail the salient EU and international legal materials and thereafter critiques them in the light of a theory of just global legal relations derived from Kant's philosophy of right. In so doing, Ganesh departs from comparable Kantian scholarship on the EU by centering the discussion not around the essay Toward Perpetual Peace, but around the Doctrine of Right, Kant's final and comprehensive statement of his general theory of law.

The book thus sheds light on areas of EU law (EU external relations law, standing to bring judicial review), public international law (jurisdiction, global public goods) and human rights (human rights jurisdiction), and also critiques the widespread identification of the EU as a Kantian federation of peace.

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