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5. Immanuel Kant und die Friedensvorstellungen im Denken der Aufklärung

From the book Handbuch Frieden im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit / Handbook of Peace in Early Modern Europe

  • Thomas Schölderle


Immanuel Kant and Peace in Enlightenment Thought The Enlightenment was not only a period of war but also generated a rich abundance of concepts of peace. Immanuel Kant’s essay On Eternal Peace is the most famous example. Kant alludes to his predecessors with quiet irony, but he pursues the same goal. In the name of human rights, he calls for the establishment of a League of Nations to ensure lasting peace. In contrast to many of his predecessors, however, he considers this to be possible only as the result of a historical process. Kant presents his text in the form of a peace treaty with nine articles (six prohibitions and three commandments). He published his it at a time when he believed that human development - after the event of the French Revolution - was entering a crucial historical stage. His idea that the institution in all states of a republican form of government characterized by the separation of executive and legislative power was the prerequisite for lasting peace was highly influential. Indeed, the theory of “democratic peace” experienced a significant revival after the end of the East-West conflict.

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