Eternal peace, perpetual war? A critical investigation into Kant's conceptualisations of war

  • Andreas Behnke


Most discussions of Immanuel Kant's political theory of international politics focus on his work on Eternal Peace and its normative and empirical relevance for contemporary international relations and international law. Yet for all his concern with peace, Kant's work is characterised by a fascinating preoccupation with the concept of war and its role in human history. The purpose of this essay is to investigate critically Kant's different conceptualisations of war and to evaluate his writing as a critique against contemporary versions of Liberal war and peace, as well as recent attempts to reduce war to an immanent logic of biopolitics.


biopolitics Kant liberalism war 



I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Leverhulme Trust through the University of Reading's Liberal Way of War Programme for the research for this essay. Thanks are also due to the editors of JIRD and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Behnke
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and International Relations, University of ReadingReadingUK

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