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Relating Philosophical Concepts of Kant, Sandel, and Arendt Term Paper

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Various political philosophers have developed different concepts to help in the definition of moral limits of a liberal ethical approach, among other factors. This paper is an analysis of how different but relatively related concepts designed by three authors, viz. Immanuel Kant, Michael Sandel, and Hannah Arendt affect each other. These concepts include transparency as developed by Immanuel Kant, markets coupled with how they govern human lives by Michael Sandel, and human rights as developed by Hannah Arendt. The grounds for the interlink lies in the fundamental moral acceptance of the mainstream state of a person.

This article will argue that these three concepts are centered on the individual right to choose and the legal measures that enhance fair and just environs for facilitating such free will for everyone. The three authors share the theme of communicating political thoughts. Therefore, this article will evaluate the claim that these authors’ various concepts advance moral commitment, which is intertwined with the good livelihood that everyone wishes to pursue. These expectations thrive on the establishment of a community that embraces the moral philosophy concerned with equality and justice for all individuals.

Sandel’s perspective

Does the market develop a diverse set of behaviors, beliefs, and social ties? Upon what type of moral order do markets hold? Do markets provide universal solutions to human problems? These questions will serve as the projection upon which Sandel’s issues evolve. This section evaluates how Sandel’s market concept approaches the association between transparencies and human rights. His line of research views markets as moral projects, and it aims to explore the approaches by which such endeavors are actualized. Contemporary society presents almost everything in the market, meaning that it is possible to buy or sell anything. Gradually, markets are governing humanity in many ways, for instance, a good or service that can be bought, but whose monetary trade is morally debatable (Sandel, 2012).

Sandel gives an example of body organs such as hearts or kidneys. Some individuals promote markets engaged in organs for transplantation. Other people find such markets as morally unacceptable. If it is morally wrong to buy a heart, then money should not serve as a universal solution. In a bid to determine whether markets should serve to unify all moral controversies, Sandel has engaged a moral inquiry by evaluating the claims supporting markets as universal solutions and those against such principles. In a bid to understand such connections, it is good to examine where markets belong and how they should influence human coexistence.

In relation to Arendt’s human rights concept, the moral limits of markets demonstrate that largely contemporary society has failed to honor fair bargaining situations. According to Sandel (2012), the less privileged in society have often been deprived of their basic human rights by the injustices of the market models. Many inequalities have been reflected in the available market choices. The puzzle about how markets should be is actually on how individuals choose to coexist. A poor person may decide to sell his/her organ to cater to the basic needs, but the pressure of the necessities compels this decision. In this perspective, the markets have provided a platform to exploit morality under unfair conditions. However, market choices are neither transparent, nor are their free decisions because some individuals are unfairly poor, and they do not have the potential to bargain on equal grounds.

Kant’s perspective

The concept of transparency is important to anyone interested in the ethics of human dignity and the perpetual peace of Immanuel Kant. This study seeks to emphasize that the concept of transparency that Kant advances helps to understand human interactions in addition to what it takes to experience freedom. Transparency addresses an array of issues ranging from the nature and form of human interactions. Transparency entails what people say, why they say it, and what others translate different meanings. Transparency has been used as a term that defines market behavior, human rights, and integrity in business.

Transparent involvements define individuals as rational and as independent beings. The Kantian understanding of the concept of transparency requires all citizens to reckon the inalienable equality, freedom, and justice for fellow citizens within society (Class, 2012). Such rights do not necessarily need to be expressed in the civil constitutions, but on a personal philosophy, which acknowledges other humanity. Such statements demonstrate the link between the Kantian transparency concepts with Arendt’s human rights phenomenon. Kant argues that a political society must learn how to honor and safeguard human rights. In this perspective, Sandel (2012) suggests that market forces do not protect human rights, and they lack the proper foundation upon which justice is exercised for all regardless of socio-economic and political status.

As noted by Kant that individuals identify themselves with communities in which transparency is advanced coupled with the demonstration of the capacity to grow, Arendt to retaliates this claim. This insight links to Sandel’s idea that non-market interactions are founded on respect for moral self and acknowledgment of human rights in any just community. The Kantian transparency concept reflects the respect for the independence of others and human rights as the only way upon which contemporary states can experience perpetual peace. Relatedly, the market concept as a universal solution underscores the concept of human rights as defined by the moral self.

Arendt’s perspective

Arendt was among the leading political thinkers of the past century. In this work, she relates to most political situations of her time in a bid to get their meaning and associate with other works affecting human moral values and political philosophy. By doing so, she develops a new dimension that illuminates the human situation with regard to human rights. Arendt was a liberal thinker, an advocate for basic human rights, and a critic of public philosophy cemented on ethnic, class, illegitimate, and non-transparent ideals. Her perception of politics was focused on the concept of active public participation in the sense that individuals are free to make collective deliberations about all the issues affecting them as a political community. Political activity is reckoned if it reflects the Kantian transparency concept, which enables every individual to meet his/her needs for freedom (Birmingham, 2006). The contemporary markets favor conditions, which compromise transparency in most institutions, coupled with the inflated exercise of fundamental human rights.

Personal reflections

This section seeks to make several objections to Sandel’s approval of altruism and non-profit driven interactions. It is meaningless to attribute non-market interactions to perpetual peace or an individual’s freedom. The practice of altruism in the markets is not the alternative to markets as a universal solution to human problems. Non-market or rather non-profit driven interactions among individuals do not necessarily mean transparency, freedom, or self-sacrifice, but it might translate to be a usual human trait. Choosing altruism over market benefits leads to a time when one exploits all deposits and thus giving without taking marks an inevitable way to privation. Sandel fails to address much of his claims against markets. He argues that transparency and fairness should only thrive if markets are leveled by embracing work or services for zero profits.

With regard to market morals, it is less controversial if an individual is in a position to support his/her family’s needs by selling an organ. This aspect demonstrates altruism towards the family rather than giving it for free to favor Sandel’s model of non-market interactions. Sandel implies that markets have led to moral damage in the pursuit of happiness at the peril of human well-being. In addition, it is easy for one to acknowledge that capitalist markets have the best available conditions for the realization of personal needs and the distribution of resources. Markets liberate creativity and encourage transparency in most sectors of humanity.

This section disagrees with Kant’s application of transparency and the simplicity that he presumes regarding its adaptability. Nonetheless, his view about Sandel’s conceptualization of markets supports the argument depicted throughout this paper. Perpetual peace developed by Kant was arguably viewed as the basis of the modern liberal perspective. Perpetual peace was identified as a state of affairs where peace flourished in a particular region. Kant overemphasized this model as resulting in transparency, defined human rights, and better markets that factored in the morals of altruism. Even though Kant’s phenomenon of perpetual peace partly advanced contemporary democracy, it differed substantially from democratic values that he claimed to illuminate (Class, 2012). He emphasized on republican states as opposed to democratic ones.

He failed to show how this form of government embraces transparency and human rights. In addition, he fails to address some fundamental issues of modern democracy and even acknowledges that republican governments are insufficient to enhance human rights, peace, and hegemony throughout its structures. Kant differs from Sandel’s conception about markets by arguing that modern commerce and capitalism make stakeholders responsible and war unprofitable even for the victorious side. Therefore, markets make modern states peaceful and reduce the existing controversies about their moral limits.

Arendt’s concept of the human condition serves a major role in the assessment of community political perception. This article disagrees with Arendt’s view, as she seems blindfolded by her opinion, which misleads her to various questionable standpoints. First, Arendt overestimates the role of human rights within the political community. Concerning the market concept by Sandel, she insists on the distinction of the private from the public in a bid to ensure that the poor are not exploited by the markets (Birmingham, 2006).

Arendt is wrong to imply that human life is essentially about capitalism or rather search for dominance at the peril of other people’s freedom. On the contrary, humanity entails a fundamental establishment of what stands out as a desired lifestyle. Second, Arendt perceives that political parties as instruments via which the autonomy of the people is derailed and manipulated. She further identifies that this political organization excludes the majority from public life, coupled with generating indifference to public matters. This notion is lacking since democracy grants the masses the opportunity to exercise their rights and act as independent citizens.


Upon critical examination of the three authors, this article’s point of view is substantially influenced in various ways. First, Sandel’s critique of markets gives the reader new insights to understand how markets have altered the way humans relate with each other. However, as shown earlier, this argument generates a firm position for this article that markets have made contemporary society inherently peaceful, transparent, and free to exercise one’s independence.

Second, the Kantian idea of transparency overestimates the way people should express themselves, as sometimes they may feel constrained by the pressure to conform. The position is this article remains unchanged as it holds that transparency is just but a part of the many attributes that impact on markets and fundamental human rights. Lastly, Arendt’s concept of human rights does little to alter the position of this article. Her calls for free will are excessive and uncontrollable. Assuming that humanity attains all that she describes as fundamental rights, then the state will turn into chaos, and markets become worse since everyone will want to dominate.


As shown throughout this study, the three authors’ concepts form a stable link, which is fundamental to steer the necessary changes for human coexistence and prosperity. However, the communal theme shared by these concepts is questionable due to its limitation to grow and the insecurity to venture into new realms. For instance, Sandel seems constrained by his non-market interaction models, which are subject to decline due to the lack of benefits to ensure sustainability. Generally, inasmuch as these concepts may seem normative, they are limited in scope, hence unsuitable for the ever-evolving complexities in socio-political life.


Birmingham, P. (2006). Hannah Arendt & human rights: The predicament of common responsibility. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Web.

Class, M. (2012). Coleridge and Kantian ideas in England, 1796-1817: Coleridge’s responses to German philosophy. London, UK: Bloomsbury. Web.

Sandel, M. (2012). What money can’t buy: The moral limits of markets. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Web.

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