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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a brief biography of Immanuel Kant, and examines his importance in the history of international law and current research debates. Kant has decisively shaped debates in Western philosophy on a broad range of subjects, including ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. His contributions to the field of international law include most famously his advocacy of a League of Nations, his claim that ‘republican’ States tend not to start a war, and his defence of what he termed ‘cosmopolitan law’. Within Kant scholarship and the Kantian tradition, there are conflicting interpretations of his international political theory and equally conflicting assessments of its cogency. Especially pronounced are the disagreements over Kant’s position on whether international law should become public coercive law.

Keywords: League of Nations, republican States, cosmopolitan law, Western philosophy, international political theory, international law

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