Kant and the Perpetual Peace Summary

immanuel Kant


The Perpetual Peace Project : A philosophical pacifist manifesto

The work of Kant Perpetual Peace Project is one of the greatest works of political philosophy and politic science.

Kant starts from the following point: states are either at war or living in a de facto peace, unstable and precarious.

But peace makes not law.

Kant‘s intention is to get out states to their natural state, that is to say a state of conflict, permanent war, of the fittest. Kantian realism, far from smug irenicism that often leads to Kant, is clear: war is natural. But this does not make naturalness provided by legitimate or just or moral.

Kant does not present an immediate program of peace, but they represent a distant, yet achievable. He wants to transform the state of peace in a state of law, juridicialisant relations between states.

Kant and the state of political nature:

The state of peace is not a state of nature, which is rather a state of war, so must the state of peace is established” (Kant quotes)

States are naturally inclined to warmongering. Defense of sovereignty takes precedence over moral issues. They know only the force and hostility, ignoring the law. Secrecy and reasons of state reign supreme in diplomatic relations.

The state of nature means the reports of non-legal states among themselves, in which there is no higher authority to resolve conflicts.

In the same way that individuals leave their natural state through the social contract, states can not be satisfied with this belligerent and must enter into relations with other states.

Kant and the federation of states:

The main items donated by Kant for the gradual construction of perpetual peace:

– Civic constitution of each State shall be republican

– The right people must be based on a federalism of free states

– Cosmopolitan law should be limited to conditions of universal hospitality

Kant rejects outright the idea of ​​a world state because it blurs the differences inherent in the cultures and negate the concept of sovereignty. The idea of ​​one people is absurd. Only an association, a federation is possible.

To make possible the association of states, reform within states, by making them adopt a republican constitution. Kant argues that only the republic is the rule of law, because it implies the separation of the legislative and executive branches. If the people are associated with power, he can not want war because they should suffer the consequences. In despotic regime, in which executive and legislative powers are embodied in the person of Prince, the war only depends on the goodwill of the ruler, who may despise the interests of his people. Therefore, peace can be built on the republicanization State

Then may be considered an alliance between sovereign states who work together in peace as dependent on each other. Thus the spirit of commerce takes hold of peoples, which can not coexist with war.

Conclusion of the overview of the Perpetual Peace Project

The idea of ​​peace is a regulative ideal toward which we must strive. It is built and can not be decreed.

The war thus becomes a subject of veto moral imperative of peace a political reason, a political duty.

“But morally practical reason sets us irresistible veto: There shall be no war, nor that between you and me in a state of nature, nor us as States, which, although ‘ inwardly they are legal state, however, are outside (in their mutual relationship) in a state without laws – because this is not the way everyone should look right. So the question is not whether peace Perpetual is something real or if it is a chimera, and if we are not mistaken in our decision theory, when we assume the first case, but we must act as if the thing that perhaps will not should be, and to establish its founding constitution (perhaps the republicanism of all States together in particular) that seems most able to carry on and end the warfare lacks hello , to which all States without exception, have now led to their domestic preparations, as to their ultimate end. And if our end in terms of its implementation, is still wishful thinking, we are certainly not wrong in admitting maxim to work tirelessly, since it is a duty


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