Kant’s theory of cosmopolitanism and hegel’s critique

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (6):609-630 (2003)
Abstract
s theory of cosmopolitan right is widely viewed as the philosophical origin of modern cosmopolitan thought. Hegel’s critique of Kant’s theory of cosmopolitan right, by contrast, is usually viewed as regressive and nationalistic in relation to both Kant and the cosmopolitan tradition. This paper reassesses the political and philosophical character of Hegel’s critique of Kant, Hegel’s own relation to cosmopolitan thinking, and more fleetingly some of the implications of his critique for contemporary social criticism. It is argued that Hegel’s critique was neither regressive nor nationalistic, but rather that he advanced the theory of cosmopolitan right beyond the Kantian framework of formal natural law. The main proposition is that Hegel was not only the first to recognize cosmopolitanism as a definite social form of right, relative to other forms in the modern system of right, but that his ‘scientific and objective’ approach to the issue makes a substantial contribution to restoring the severed connections between the realism of war between nations and the normativism of perpetual peace. Key Words: cosmopolitanism • Habermas • Hegel • Kant • nationalism • peace • right • war.
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