Immanuel Kant_Perpetual Peace

Immanuel Kant_Perpetual Peace - Immanuel Kant Perpetual...

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Immanuel Kant Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch 1795 PERPETUAL PEACE Whether this satirical inscription on a Dutch innkeeper's sign upon which a burial ground was painted had for its object mankind in general, or the rulers of states in particular, who are insatiable of war, or merely the philosophers who dream this sweet dream, it is not for us to decide. But one condition the author of this essay wishes to lay down. The practical politician assumes the attitude of looking down with great self-satisfaction on the political theorist as a pedant whose empty ideas in no way threaten the security of the state, inasmuch as the state must proceed on empirical principles; so the theorist is allowed to play his game without interference from the worldly-wise statesman. Such being his attitude, the practical politician--and this is the condition I make--should at least act consistently in the case of a conflict and not suspect some danger to the state in the political theorist's opinions which are ventured and publicly expressed without any ulterior purpose. By this clausula salvatoria the author desires formally and emphatically to deprecate herewith any malevolent interpretation which might be placed on his words. SECTION I CONTAINING THE PRELIMINARY ARTICLES FOR PERPETUAL PEACE AMONG STATES 1. "No Treaty of Peace Shall Be Held Valid in Which There Is Tacitly Reserved Matter for a Future War" Otherwise a treaty would be only a truce, a suspension of hostilities but not peace, which means the end of all hostilities--so much so that even to attach the word "perpetual" to it is a dubious pleonasm. The causes for making future wars (which are perhaps unknown to the contracting parties) are without exception annihilated by the treaty of peace, even if they should be dug out of dusty documents by acute sleuthing. When one or both parties to a treaty of peace, being too exhausted to continue warring with each other, make a tacit reservation ( reservatio mentalis) in regard to old claims to be elaborated only at some more favorable opportunity in the future, the treaty is made in bad faith, and we have an artifice worthy of the casuistry of a Jesuit. Considered by itself, it is beneath the dignity of a sovereign, just as the readiness to indulge in this kind of reasoning is unworthy of the dignity of his minister. But if, in consequence of enlightened concepts of statecraft, the glory of the state is placed in its continual aggrandizement by whatever means, my conclusion will appear merely academic and pedantic. 2. "No Independent States, Large or Small, Shall Come under the Dominion of Another State by Inheritance, Exchange, Purchase, or Donation" A state is not, like the ground which it occupies, a piece of property ( patrimonium ). It is a society of men whom no one else has any right to command or to dispose except the state itself. It is a trunk with its own roots. But to incorporate it into another state, like a graft, is to destroy its existence as a moral person, reducing it to a thing; such incorporation thus contradicts the idea of the original contract without which no right over a people can be conceived. 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2012 for the course PHI 363 taught by Professor Davidmorgan during the Spring '12 term at Syracuse.

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Immanuel Kant_Perpetual Peace - Immanuel Kant Perpetual...

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