Event Title

Cosmopolitanism: A Means For Perpetual Peace

Location

SU 218

Start Date

19-4-2019 1:00 PM

Department

Philosophy

Session

Session 9

Description

The structure of the current global order is one that is composed of nation states. These are entities who hold sovereignty over a particular patch of land, and who claim to encompass the interests and values of the inhabitants within them. A resource scarce world, among other things, has led to violent competition between states. With no global hegemon to keep order, nation states are in a state of anarchy with each other. Historically, this has led to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. 18 th century Philosopher, Immanuel Kant, in his essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch”, argued for a confederation of nations as a necessary condition for global peace. Such a union would mean the end of standing armies, economic sanctions, and other means of coercion states inflict on each other. Moreover, he stated that a cosmopolitan order, headed by a global sovereign, would be undesirable. Kant, and those who argue for a thick conception of nationalism, posit that such nations are entitled to self-governance with respect to the lands under their dominion. Though these theorists don’t necessarily discount the significance of universal human rights, they do take issue with a supranational union being the vehicle for enforcing such values. This lecture advances the thesis that only a cosmopolitan sovereign could create and maintain the conditions for human rights and the end to the state of war between nation states. That the union that Kant advances, much less the nationalism of others, are anything but the path to perpetual peace. Cosmopolitanism, the recognition of our common humanity, allows for mutual respect, irrespective of one’s national or cultural origin. Nations already create a sense of solidarity and obligation between its members, cosmopolitanism, would represent an extension of the political community. If such a state of affairs is to be the norm, then it is necessary to create global institutions that can advance such identities. This doesn’t dissolve other identities that one contains within themselves, one can still take pride in their respective regions or histories. Though it would be undesirable to use those narrower identities as the basis of political exclusion, particularly the undermining of human rights. In my attempt to persuade, I don’t mean to suggest that this is something possible within the current state of global affairs. But, that this formulation of cosmopolitanism, represents a possibility worth advancing. And, if allowed to exist, it would allow for a world more apt for human flourishing than the one we currently reside in.

Comments

Tyler Zimmer is the faculty sponsor of this project.

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Apr 19th, 1:00 PM

Cosmopolitanism: A Means For Perpetual Peace

SU 218

The structure of the current global order is one that is composed of nation states. These are entities who hold sovereignty over a particular patch of land, and who claim to encompass the interests and values of the inhabitants within them. A resource scarce world, among other things, has led to violent competition between states. With no global hegemon to keep order, nation states are in a state of anarchy with each other. Historically, this has led to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. 18 th century Philosopher, Immanuel Kant, in his essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch”, argued for a confederation of nations as a necessary condition for global peace. Such a union would mean the end of standing armies, economic sanctions, and other means of coercion states inflict on each other. Moreover, he stated that a cosmopolitan order, headed by a global sovereign, would be undesirable. Kant, and those who argue for a thick conception of nationalism, posit that such nations are entitled to self-governance with respect to the lands under their dominion. Though these theorists don’t necessarily discount the significance of universal human rights, they do take issue with a supranational union being the vehicle for enforcing such values. This lecture advances the thesis that only a cosmopolitan sovereign could create and maintain the conditions for human rights and the end to the state of war between nation states. That the union that Kant advances, much less the nationalism of others, are anything but the path to perpetual peace. Cosmopolitanism, the recognition of our common humanity, allows for mutual respect, irrespective of one’s national or cultural origin. Nations already create a sense of solidarity and obligation between its members, cosmopolitanism, would represent an extension of the political community. If such a state of affairs is to be the norm, then it is necessary to create global institutions that can advance such identities. This doesn’t dissolve other identities that one contains within themselves, one can still take pride in their respective regions or histories. Though it would be undesirable to use those narrower identities as the basis of political exclusion, particularly the undermining of human rights. In my attempt to persuade, I don’t mean to suggest that this is something possible within the current state of global affairs. But, that this formulation of cosmopolitanism, represents a possibility worth advancing. And, if allowed to exist, it would allow for a world more apt for human flourishing than the one we currently reside in.