The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events
Thursday, 02 June 2022, 11:00
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, Am Wingertsberg 4, 61348 Bad Homburg
Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften of Goethe University
William Levine (University of Chicago)»From Perpetual Peace to the Räterepublik: Neo-Kantianism and the Great War«
This talk will examine interpretations of Kant’s foundational essay, »Perpetual Peace,« developed by Neo-Kantian philosophers at the beginning and the end of World War I. As Germany entered the war—one in which some of these scholars, and some of their sons, would fight—a number of Neo-Kantians returned to »Perpetual Peace« to ponder some of its foundational tensions. While sometimes read as a naively optimistic document that places the motor of human progress in the »grand artist nature herself,« the Neo-Kantians found particular significance in Kant’s choice to open the essay with a grisly joke about perpetual peace being a graveyard, and they contemplated his view that peace is likely to arise as the result of exhaustion with war. Reading these texts with and against Kant’s thought, this talk will use them to think about the paradoxes that arise in the gap between the ideal and the non-ideal, and the dilemmas they pose to political judgment and action.
William Levine received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2019 with the thesis »The Movement is Everything: Radical Kantianism and the Ideal of Emancipation in Modern German Political Thought«. From 2019 to 2021 he was an early career fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg of Göttingen University.
Participation and registration
For participation, online or on site, please register in advance (contact: Beate Sutterlüty; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).