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On Perpetual Peace

by Immanuel Kant Broadview Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 136 pages
AU$24.99 NZ$25.21
Product Status: Available in Approx 7 days
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& Academics:
Kant’s landmark essay, “On Perpetual Peace,” is as timely, relevant, and inspiring today as when it was first written over 200 years ago. In it, we find a forward-looking vision of a world respectful of human rights, dominated by liberal democracies, and united in a cosmopolitan federation of diverse peoples.

This book features a fresh and vigorous translation of Kant’s essay by Ian Johnston. And it includes an extended introduction by philosopher Brian Orend, author of the widely-used text, The Morality of War. This extensive, yet highly readable, introduction situates Kant’s essay in its historical context, while also offering a substantial analysis, section-by-section, of the essay itself. In doing so, Orend not only discusses Kant’s personal life and the history of “the perpetual peace tradition,” he also shows how Kant’s provocative ideas have inspired and infused our own time, especially the concept of a global alliance of free societies committed to respecting human rights.

The book also sports an enlightening set of appendices that cleverly and sharply debate the promise of perpetual peace. A few are from Kant’s works, but most are from other acclaimed thinkers, including: Hegel, Leibniz, Bentham, Voltaire, Rousseau, and the Abbé de Saint-Pierre. A chronology of Kant’s life and a recommended reading list round out this inquiry into one of the most hopeful, stirring, and imaginative political proposals: a cosmopolitan federation uniting us all and securing perpetual peace between nations.


Appendix A: Selection from William Penn (1644-1718)

Appendix B: Selections from the Abbé de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743)

Appendix C: Selection from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)

Appendix D: Selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78)

Appendix E: Selection from Voltaire (1694-1778)

Appendix F: Selections from Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Appendix G: Selection from Kant, "Universal History" (1784)

Appendix H: Selection from Kant, "Theory and Practice" (1793)

Appendix I: Selections from Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, Part 1: "The Doctrine of Right" (1797)

Appendix J: Selection from G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831)


“This is an immensely valuable volume. It combines a lucid translation of “On Perpetual Peace” and a wide selection of relevant background documents with an expert, insightful, original, and extensive commentary by one of the leading scholars of international ethics.” — Michael W. Doyle, Columbia University

“This accessible translation demonstrates Kant’s deep distrust of just war rhetoric and his clear intent that war should no longer be deployed as a means for regulating international affairs. Brian Orend’s judicious commentary will aid the reader in understanding why Kant regards perpetual peace as a necessary extension of the rule of law.” — Howard Williams, Aberystwyth University

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), was a philosopher who lived in Königsberg, Prussia.

Brian Orend is Director of International Studies and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo. He is the author of The Morality of War (Broadview).

Ian Johnston is Emeritus Professor at Vancouver Island University.