The European Union and Kant’s idea of cosmopolitan right: Why the EU is not cosmopolitan

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Series Details Vol.20, No.3, September 2014, p671-693
Publication Date September 2014
ISSN 1354-0661
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When surveying the literature on cosmopolitan thought, it is common to see cosmopolitans allude to theoretical, historical and practical links between Immanuel Kant’s idea for a cosmopolitan federation and the formulation of the European Union. However, this relationship between Kant and ‘Kant’s Europe’ remains a rather underdeveloped assumption and there is compelling exegetical and practical evidence to suggest that this relationship is not as robust as is generally assumed. In response, this article explores the link between Kant’s vision for a cosmopolitan federation and its consanguinity with the formation and practice of the European Union. By doing so, it will be argued that a link between Kant and the European Union can only be reasonably claimed to exist at the level of Kant’s first two Definitive Articles and that the European Union remains rather impoverished with regard to Kant’s more radical concept of cosmopolitan right.

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