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Kant: Toward Perpetual Peace

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Toronto

Toronto, ON

Canada

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Perpetual Peace is a seminal piece by Immanuel Kant that deeply influenced the vision of the fathers' of the post-WWI League of Nations, the preamble to the Charter to the United Nations, the grounds for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the contours of the contemporary debate in cosmopolitanism. The essay is also the basis for democratic peace theory (http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756223/obo-9780199756223-0014.xml) in the modern-day study of politics and international relations.

Perpetual Peace opens with Kant alluding to a satirical inscription of "perpetual peace" on a signboard that a Dutch innkeeper has put up along with the picture of a graveyard. He continues that "we shall not trouble to ask whether it applies to men in general, or particularly to heads of states (...) or only to the philosophers so blissfully dream of perpetual peace". Kant's own view is that perpetual peace is not a chimera but a possibility, and the very fact of its possibility obliges us to work towards it as a shared goal of humanity.

Some of the influential claims that Kant advances in this work are that states should have a republican constitution, there should be no standing armies, a federation of states would be required to ensure a perpetual peace, and every world citizen has a right to hospitality. Notably, the first claim about the republican constitution has stirred much debate about promoting democracies in other states, the third claim about the federation of states is ambiguous (as Kant also alludes to the world government as another possible road to global peace), and the last claim about the right to hospitality has been recently revived by many philosophers in the debates on recent refugee crises.

In relation to Kant's claims, some thought-provoking questions arise: Is Kant arguing for a federation of states or a world government; which one of the two will ensure a global perpetual peace? Should we promote or enforce democracies in other states for sake of global peace? Do refugees have any special human rights to hospitality on the host country? Should sovereign states be able to decide who they want to allow an entry into their territory? In this meet-up, we shall discuss these questions which relate to some controversial contemporary issues.

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For further details and to RSVP, go to https://www.meetup.com/The-Toronto-Philosophy-Meetup/

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Toronto, ON

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