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Four Seminal Thinkers in International TheoryMachiavelli, Grotius, Kant, and Mazzini$
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Martin Wight

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273677.001.0001

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22 April 1724–12 February 1804

(p.63) Chapter 3 Kant
Four Seminal Thinkers in International Theory

Martin Wight

Oxford University Press

Kant was the greatest of modern philosophers. He held that we have knowledge of the phenomenal world alone; of the realm of the noumenal we have only moral experience. But he had moral passion in his notion of the categorical imperative, or goodwill dedicated to duty. Kant’s revolutionism is seen in the idea of the homogeneity of states—a federation of ‘republics’; or alternatively in cosmopolitanism— a world of individuals and peoples rather than of governments and states. Kant’s belief in the harmony of interests underlies his doctrine of progress. There are categories of Kantians, although Kant himself was both comprehensive and universal as a philosopher.

Keywords:   categorical imperative, categories of Kantians, cosmopolitanism, duty, federation of ‘republics’, harmony of interests, noumenal, perpetual peace, phenomenal, progress, revolutionism

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