Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 and died on February 12 1804. Now, on the 212th anniversary of his death, it seems the world needs his philosophy of international cooperation more than ever.
And Kant’s philosophy, based on respect for human reason rather than a divine being, is apt for a world divided by ideology, religion and an overwhelming fear of those who are different from us. Let’s look for the thing that connects us, says Kant- the major feature of the human mind, its capacity for intelligent rational thought.
Kant believed that we should respect the dignity of all people no matter who they are. Because they are humans with the same power of reason just like you. Foreigners have the same freedom to think just like you. And you might actually be that foreigner if you had been born in a different place.
Kant’s philosophy states that this respect for humanity transcends all borders. So we can have a connection with people in different places all over the world. Before Kant’s ideas came along, it was very unusual for individuals to think they could have a global identity. Only royalty were allowed an international perspective. But Kant wants every one of us to know that we are all equal in rights, irrespective of status or nationality.
So does Kant want us to be in a world state? No. Kant saw this was a very impractical idea. However, he did believe that nations should work together.
Respectful cosmopolitan societies can work together to strengthen universal justice. And then all individuals are able to become more competent and powerful.
It’s obvious to see how Kantian philosophy has influenced international organizations and international law. Kant’s ideas can also be directly used in education. Exposing children to this philosophy and making it a basis for global citizenship education is a very good place to start. Beyond our globalized economy, we really do have a moral duty to respect all humans as we would expect to receive respect.
To learn more about the philosophy of Immanuel Kant have a look at these links:
Philosophy Bites http://philosophybites.com/2008/09/adrian-moore-on.html
School of Life