Kant on Peoples, The People, and the State

Frederick Rauscher


There are two senses of the word “people”, first as an ethnic group and second as the collection of citizens of a state. How do they relate to one another and to the state? I show that in his political philosophy Kant insists that “people” in this second sense is constituted only in terms of being subject to a single state, while in his social philosophy he allows for an ethnic conception of peoples that share a language and culture and have distinct characters.  In his philosophy of history he insists that the general historical correspondence between ethnic peoples and states is both natural and positive for development toward peace, both because linguistic and religious differences deter the formation of a single world-encompassing state and because their competition through war eventually leads to perpetual peace.  Nevertheless I argue that Kant’s insistence on the a priori basis of right combined with the mature development of state and international institutions give reasons that states should not correspond to ethnic peoples.

Palabras clave

Laws, Nation, People, Ethnicity, Progress, Religion, State

Texto completo:



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DOI (HTML): https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6591069

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