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Democratic Peace Beyond Westphalia: Kang and Kant

Lookup NU author(s): Daniel Hutton FerrisORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This piece brings into dialogue two philosophically profound and hugely influential texts on the nature and requisites of international peace: Immanuel Kant’s “Towards Perpetual Peace” (zum Ewigen Frieden) and Kang Youwei’s 康有为 Book of Great Unity 大同书. Both texts articulate bold visions of a world without international war and embed concrete institutional plans for establishing peace within strongly progressivist philosophies of history. But Kang and Kant disagree in some crucial respects. Most significantly: whilst Kant imagines a liberal peace between sovereign states, Kang argues that enduring pacification would have to be enforced by a communitarian and deliberative democratic polity spanning the earth. Reading the Book of Great Unity alongside “Perpetual Peace” raises timely and challenging questions for contemporary Kantians and, more generally, for liberal internationalist political theorists and scholars of international relations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hutton Ferris D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Comparative Political Theory

Year: 2023

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 08/03/2023

Acceptance date: 01/03/2023

Date deposited: 13/04/2023

ISSN (print): 2666-9765

ISSN (electronic): 2666-9773

Publisher: Brill


DOI: 10.1163/26669773-bja10042

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/dqbg-5873


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