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Kant and the Theory and Practice of International Right

Second Edition

This innovative study focuses on the Kantian theory of international relations, a subject which has frequently been either ignored or misunderstood. Kant was criticized by contemporaries who asserted that his political ideas were idealistic and impractical. He countered this accusation by evolving a political philosophy which formed a link between the theoretical doctrine of pure law and the actualities of the real world.

The author argues that Kant’s theory of international relations can be read as an attempt to bring reason and history together. Kant tries to apply the a priori principles of reason to history in general, and to the political conditions of the late eighteenth century in particular, and this volume examines the way in which he attempts to mediate between theory and practice.

In this stimulating and lucid work, Cavallar provides one of the first comprehensive examinations in English of Kant’s theory of international right.

288 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4

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"This is the definitive source on Kant’s international relations theory and it has played a significant role in informing my own thinking. Updated and expanded, this new edition adds considerable material to an already powerful first edition, including an expanded analysis of Kant’s practical politics, his thinking in response to his contemporaries, key political and legal methodological considerations, and how Kant might be best understood within modern global debates."

Garrett Wallace Brown, University of Leeds

"Georg Cavallar’s new book is a skillful and sophisticated linking of Kant’s theory to humanitarian intervention, democracy and peace, cosmopolitanism and patriotism, among other topics. An original argument is refined by a serious and impressive engagement with two decades of debate framed by the book’s first appearance in 1999."

Antonio Franceschet, University of Calgary

"When the first edition of this book came out just over two decades ago it quickly became a must-read for anyone who was interested in Kant’s ideas about the theory and practice of international relations. This new edition brings it up to date, and adds material that will make it a necessary reference in the decades to come."

John Christian Laursen, University of California, Riverside

Table of Contents

Introduction: Mediating Between Pure Reason and Practice
The Contemporary Context: Kant’s Judgement on Frederick’s Enlightened Absolutism
Kantian International Right: Background and Paradigm Shift
Judging War
Does Republicanism Promote Peace?
Non-intervention, Humanitarian Intervention and Failed States
Conflicts in Kant’s Account of the Right to Go to War
The Unjust Enemy
Kant’s Society of Nations: Free Federation or World Republic?
Moving Beyond Nationalism: Constitutional
Patriotism and Cosmopolitan Enthusiasm in Kant
Conclusion: A Theory for our Times

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