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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins by discussing the ethics of war, as exemplified by the development of the nation state system of Europe, and then considers Kant's thoughts about war in . Here Kant offers an account of the emerging order he thought might create a more lasting peace. Though often identified as a pacifist, he believed that war could not be abolished, although he sought to make war less likely, and, by doing so, made articulate the presuppositions which continue to shape modern assumptions about war and peace. The discussion then turns to William Cavanaugh's , arguing that the myth is far from innocent. Cavanaugh characterizes the myth as part of the folklore of Western societies that has no basis in reality other than the reality it creates through constant repetition. The repetitive character of the story is necessary to the extent that the story legitimates the power of the nation-state in the West to wage war. The story is used to foster the idea, particularly prevalent in the United States, that secular social orders are inherently peaceful.

Keywords: ethics, Europe, nation state, war, peace, Kant, William Cavanaugh, religion, religious violence, secular social orders

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