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Document Details :
Title: Kant en de traditie van de rechtvaardige oorlog
Author(s): MERTENS, Thomas
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 73 Issue: 3 Date: 2011
Kant’s writings on international law, especially in his Towards Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals, Doctrine of Right (Rechtslehre), have given rise to a variety of interpretations. In this paper, it is argued that these interpretations stem from an ambiguity within these writings. Whereas the first text seems to subscribe to a pacifist viewpoint, the latter rather seems to give support to just war thinking. In an attempt to unravel this seeming incongruity, I sketch both perspectives and make an effort to reconcile them. In doing so, I rely not only on Kant’s text, but also on a reflection of the basic tenets of just war thinking. From this, I draw the conclusion that one should only give preference to the perspective of Towards Perpetual Peace. Although a part of Kant’s writings appears to belong within the tradition of the ‘just war’, preference should be given to a more pacifist interpretation, albeit it of a peculiar, legal kind.