Free «Kant's Doctrine of Republican Peace and Its Reconsideration by Habermas» Essay Paper
Kant’s conception of perpetual peace deals with the description of the conditions of possible legal state in the world policy that excludes wars and violation from universal supreme moral principle. In addition, this doctrine presupposes the international citizenship and peace as the result of the establishment of the republican order that is the best decision for the global community. Moreover, it can lead to the realization of human’s freedom and natural rights as well as guarantee peace in the world.
According to the philosopher, the republican order is a perfect state organization because it implements the principles of pure law such as personal freedom of every individual, their equal status as well as validation and following the set of juridical norms. Therefore, the gist of the suggested Kant’s conception is the necessity to accept freedom of every citizen on the international level and worthiness of every nation and state due to its independence and uniqueness in comparison to others. Furthermore, the international law and supremacy of the universal moral rule is the guarantor of the harmonious international relationships. Such a world order is the purpose of humankind’s development directed at perpetual peace as Kant it perceives.
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According to Kant, the outlook that separates the spheres of public life from the moral regulation is not valid because the universal moral law is the embodiment of the most significant values all other norms have to reflect. Therefore, the philosopher states that, “the idea of a cosmopolitan right is no fantastic and exaggerated way of representing right; it is, instead, a supplement to the unwritten code of the right of nations necessary for the sake of any public rights of human beings and so for perpetual peace” (Kant 330).
Consequently, the realization of human rights and freedom is the way to perpetual peace. The essential condition of its establishment is also the acceptance of these ideas on the level of collective consciousness and after that – the state order, which presupposes the society as a whole. Such a social development has to lead to formation of the civil state, the backgrounds of which are the notions of civil equality and personal freedom that enables all citizens to realize their will via the elections.
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Thus, as Kant states, the republican order is the only possibility of making actual the idea of perpetual peace due to respect to the human rights. However, such a goal is not easy to reach since it is not a decision of one person. Moreover, people consider the republican state order to be utopian because of the large democratic opportunities it emphasizes. In addition, the perpetual peace is a difficult task to accomplish regarding the necessity of the collective efforts that may result in such a state and world organization. Kant argues that human beings are too selfish to be capable of quick transformation of consciousness so as to form this constitution (335).
However, the philosopher does not perceive the republican state and perpetual peace to be utopian scenery for the humankind, even though such objectives are not easy to attain. Kant considers practical life to be the judge of time meaning that every nation has an idea of perpetual peace as an ultimate goal of the international relations, and via their development and occurrence of the civil society this idea becomes probable in the future.
In the 20th century, Kant’s conception of perpetual peace becomes relevant because of the drastic political and social transformations. Due to the general expectations, it was significant to evaluate the potential of Kant’s ideas and their possible realization. Habermas reconsiders Kant’s doctrine in the context of the happenings in the modern society and its perspectives. He perceives perpetual peace to be anachronistic and irrelevant because it contradicts “the background of the specific historical experiences of his time. Both now separate us from Kant” (Habermas 166).
According to Habermas, Kant’s conception is idealistic because the philosopher appeals to the rational necessity of the republican order and further establishment of perpetual peace. Kant as a classical representative of the Enlightenment does not suggest any practical mechanisms of obtaining perpetual peace and its maintenance in the global community.
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In addition, Habermas considers that the discovery of the multicultural character of modern global community can be challenging for implementing Kant’s idea. The plurality of cultures and nations makes their communication difficult due to the distinct background representations and expectations. Thus, the establishment of perpetual peace may become problematic.
Furthermore, Habermas argues that the republic is not the only way to apply perpetual peace to the modern society. The United Nations is an organization that has a purpose to be the guarantor of peace and realization of human right as an alternative to the republic order. According to Habermas, perpetual peace has to be the task of professional international organizations but not the national states.
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To summarize, Kant stresses the necessity of the humankind to strive for the republican order and perpetual peace. Although the philosopher fails to justify the mechanisms of implementations of such happenings, he manages to demonstrate the advantages of such a development. However, Habermas reconsiders Kant’s conception and concludes that Kant’s ideas are the regulative principles impossible to realize in the modern society.