The secret education of a wise sovereign: toward Kant's idea of perpetual peace

Breen, Jason (2004) The secret education of a wise sovereign: toward Kant's idea of perpetual peace. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (2MB)


Toward Perpetual Peace is Immanuel Kant's treatise on international peace. The argumentative strategy of the text is aimed at increasing the likelihood of peace by reducing the risk sovereign nations face when attempting to trust one another. As part of the risk reduction strategy Kant prohibits nations from keeping secrets. Secrets erode trust and thus jeopardize the movement toward perpetual peace. Having established this, Kant issues the Secret Article for Perpetual Peace which allows the sovereign to benefit from the counsel of an educated citizenry without acknowledging their influence and, in effect, he receives counsel in secret. Kant acknowledges the contradiction yet defends it, claiming that public consultation is damaging to the sovereign's dignity and thus must be conducted in secret. -- Although the dignity defense is ultimately a self-refuting and, therefore, inadequate grounds for the secret article, this thesis argues that the article can be understood as being commensurate with Kant's project of enlightenment. I resolve the contradiction by reading the article in the context of What is Enlightenment?. Not only is the article coherent in this context, it necessarily creates a range of action beyond the contractual limitations dictated by the private obligations of the social contract to empower the sovereign to take possession of his reason and become an enlightened public thinker. This is the secret education ensured by the secret article.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10199
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 74-76.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 2004
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Peace.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics