Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Eternal War and Perpetual Peace
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Discuss the historical origins and development of Kant's peace theory
  • Describe and analyse the main theoretical perspectives of Perpetual Peace
  • Demonstrate, through written work and in seminars, an ability to apply these theoretical perspectives to contemporary issues relating to state and interstate theory.
  • Define and evaluate the Preliminary Articles and Definitive Articles of Kant's outline for peace
  • Relate Kant's arguments in Perpetual Peace to his practical philosophy as a whole
  • Stipulate and evaluate Kant's account of the relation between morality and politics
  • Demonstrate, through written work and in seminar discussions, an awareness and understanding of differing interpretations of Kant's writing on peace.
  • Discuss and evaluate moral justifications for the cessation of war
  • Demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Kant's thinking
  • Demonstrate the strengths or weaknesses of Kant's political and international theory in relation to that of one other major thinker e.g. Hobbes, Schmitt and Rawls

Brief description

How is the human species to deal with its apparent propensity to wage war despite its being one of the greatest evils? This module examines the dilemma from the standpoint of one the most perceptive all philosophers, Immanuel Kant. The debates leading up to Kant'r book Towards Perpetual Peace and the challenges to it over the last two centuries will be considered to determine the extent to which Kant'r response to war is practicable. No prior knowledge of Kant'r philosophy is required in order to take this module.


  1. What is Kant's critical Philosophy? The politics of the Critique of Pure Reason
  2. Practice and moral perspective - the role of the categorical imperative
  3. Perpetual Peace - the six preliminary articles: what is wrong about secrecy, imperialism, national debts, standing armies and spying.
  4. Perpetual Peace - the first definitive article: republican constitutions and their contribution to peace. The democratic peace thesis.
  5. Perpetual Peace - the second definitive article: the pacific federation and international law. Contemporary interpretations, e.g. Habermas & Held
  6. Perpetual Peace - the third definitive article: how should we understand cosmopolitan right?
  7. Perpetual Peace - the guarantee of lasting peace: history and progress, practical not theoretical assurance. The end of history debate.
  8. Perpetual Peace - the role of the theorist (philosopher): how theory can make a difference.
  9. Perpetual Peace - morality and right: how realist politics is self defeating
  10. Perpetual Peace - the idea of transcendental public right: publicity as the measure of just policy


This module is at CQFW Level 7