empirical crust of events towards the genuine essence of history, the general narrative ( Geschichte ) behind day-to-day events ( Historie ). In the sphere of European nations, this secret teleology had its telos in the development of civic constitution; on the global level, this development would have led to the republican order of states, which would dispense with the emergence of conflicts. 15 In relation to Rousseau, Kant was of course an idealist who believed in the power of “providence” ( Vorsehung ) in the course of history. World history, including European history, was essentially righteous; its peaceful future was guaranteed by nature itself ( natura daedala rerum ). 16 This idealism did not mean, however, that Kant would have turned his back on the empirical phenomena of his time – or that he would have completely dismissed the concrete political conditions for the constitution of the European confederation. In the 1795 essay Towards Perpetual Peace Kant emphasized the role of economic ties in the constitution of the European peace. “As the power of money 14 “Es ist hier keine Auskunft für den Philosophen, als daß, da er bei Menschen und ihrem Spiele im Großen gar keine vernünftige eigene Absicht voraussetzen kann, er versuche, ob er nicht eine Naturabsicht in diesem widersinnigen Gange menschlicher Dinge entdecken könne; aus welcher von Geschöpfen, die ohne eigenen Plan verfahren, dennoch eine Geschichte nach einem bestimmten Plane der Natur möglich sei." Kant, Akad.-A VIII, 18. 15 Kant, Akad.A VIII, 351ff. 16 Kant, Akad.A VIII, 360.
is perhaps the most dependable of all the powers included under the state power,” Kant wrote, “states see themselves forced, without any moral urge, to promote honorable peace and by mediation to prevent war wherever it threatens to break out.” 17 In other words, the secret plan of nature was dependent on a very concrete mode of co- operation, “the spirit of commerce,” which was to show the irrationality of European conflicts. Whereas for Rousseau Europe was a particular entity which represented some universal traits of historical development, for Kant Europe was a unique particular that embodied a specific role within universal history. In other words, Kant’s Europe was also a practical idea , which presented a normative obligation to strive for the natural telos of human history. Hegel: The Particular Universal This tension between the particular and the universal manifested perhaps most vividly in the in the works of G.W.F. Hegel. In his famous lectures on the history of philosophy – delivered between 1821 and 1831 – Hegel presented the threefold schema “Africa–Asia– Europe” as a complementary description to the better known division of historical development through the Oriental, Greek, Roman and Modern (Germanic) worlds. 18 For Hegel, Europe did not signify merely a culture which would have represented the general historical development; on the contrary, Europe denoted a specific world-
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