Kant's Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795) outlined practical steps necessary to end war through the establishment of a "league of peace" and a union of nations. This essay traces similarities between Kant's and Bahá'í proposals.
published in Lights of Irfan, 13, pages 71-134 Wilmette, IL: Haj Mehdi Armand Colloquium, 2012
Abstract: In 1795, Immanuel Kant published Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch in which he outlined the practical steps necessary to end war among nation-states. Though focused on Europe, its intent was global and included, among other things, the establishment of a “league of peace” and a federal union of all nations. Because Baha’u’llah’s proposals for the establishment of world unity and peace were not made until the late 1860’s, the question arises: To what extent does Kant’s essay directly anticipate and/or indirectly foreshadow the Bahá’í teachings about the elimination of war and the establishment of a workable peace? Answering this question requires a careful examination of their similarities and differences not only in what is or is not said explicitly but also in what is also left implicit or in the background. Our conclusion is that while there are some superstructural similarities between “Perpetual Peace” and the Writings, there are a considerable number of significant foundational differences as well as differences in the completeness and sufficiency of the proposals.