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Philosophers of Peace: Hobbes and Kant on International Order *

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In their theories of international order, Hobbes and Kant are not as far apart as earlier interpreters have claimed. Both consider peace between states and mutual respect for their sovereign independence to be necessary for securing domestic order. For both Hobbes and Kant, order arises from the very “independency” of states in a manner that is different from the independence of individuals in a state of nature. Both regard the independency of states and their commitment to the prosperity of their subjects as principles that support a long-term orientation toward peaceable cooperation. The most significance difference between Hobbes and Kant concerning international order arises from Kant’s attributing to individuals a cosmopolitan right that makes the international order more subject to potential conflict concerning the rights of individuals, but also gives his theory a stronger normative framework for the development of shared norms than what is found in Hobbes’s political theory.

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