Critical Dialogue on Helga Varden’s book ‘Sex, Love, and Gender

A Kantian Theory’ (2020)





Love, Gender, kantian Theory


Helga Varden’s book ‘Sex, Love, and Gender: A Kantian Theory’ (2020) can be viewed as a pioneering work which provides a comprehensive examination of Kantian philosophy in terms of the thematic areas of love, sexuality and gender. Varden’s object is “to bring out the productiveness of Kant’s approach” (15). Gaining an overall view of Kantian thinking on these topics is a desideratum of Kantian research. Varden not only fills this gap but also goes beyond it, insofar as she takes Kant as the starting point for her attempt to find solutions to current philosophical problems in the above-mentioned thematic areas. She thus thinks outside of the Kantian box, making a decisive contribution to philosophical solutions for today’s problems, whereby theory and political practice are viewed as being closely related. Varden’s objective is to employ Kant’s works as a tool to critically appraise existentialist, postmodern and scientific approaches to theories on love, sexuality and gender theory as well as to overcome their shortcomings. Drawing on Kantian concepts she develops a theory of sexuality, love and gender which revises Kant’s philosophy, focusing on his image of humanity; his postulate of freedom and his political and legal-philosophical viewpoints when doing so. She references Kant’s ideas about human nature when assuming that there are three anthropological dimensions: a predisposition to animality which enables us to be ‘living beings’, or animals; the predisposition to humanity, which enables us to be ‘rational beings’, or to use reason to set off our own and to have a social sense of self; and the predisposition to personality, which enables us to be ‘responsible beings’ in that we can act as our practical reason deems necessary (R 6: 26). (36)







Autor encontra críticos / Author meets critics

Como Citar

Critical Dialogue on Helga Varden’s book ‘Sex, Love, and Gender: A Kantian Theory’ (2020). (2023). Estudos Kantianos [EK], 11(1), 137.