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Perpetual Peace: Derrida Reading Kant

  • Jacques de VilleEmail author
Article
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Abstract

Kant’s 1795 essay on perpetual peace has been lauded as one of his most important and influential political texts as well as one of the most important (modern) texts on peace. Kant’s text was largely forgotten until the 1980s and 1990s, with numerous commentaries appearing around the time of its 200 years existence. The French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s interest in Kant’s text appears to have arisen around the same time, and his analyses of this text continued after the turn of the century. The references to Kant’s essay in Derrida’s texts appear mostly in the context of a discussion of the concept of hospitality. The latter concept is understood by Derrida as including both (1) a demand for absolute hospitality, that is, hospitality without the imposition of any limitations, as well as (2) a demand, in the interests of survival, for such limitations or conditions. A negotiation between these dimensions of hospitality is ultimately required. The aim of this article is to elucidate Derrida’s analysis of Kant’s essay, specifically his recasting of the concept of peace as absolute hospitality, as well as to briefly outline its implications for international and cosmopolitan law.

Keywords

Derrida Kant Levinas Hospitality Peace 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The financial contributions of the National Research Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are gratefully acknowledged.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa

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