chapter  11
20 Pages

Cosmopolitan Kant

ByPeter Lomas

States in our time have been settled on everyone as sources of identity, means of communication, and tools of social survival or prosperity—often with mixed results. Observing developments in Europe in his time, Immanuel Kant foresaw the spread of independent states over all the earth, alongside arrangements to group them together. Andrew Hurrell finds a divergence over the relationship between what might broadly be called the "statist" and the "cosmopolitan" sides of Kant's writings. Hurrell remarks that "whilst Kant did believe in the states system, he believed in more than the states system". John Rawls, through his Theory of Justice, first published in 1971, is usually seen as the initiator of a return to Kant in twentieth-century political theory. The Rawlsian "difference principle" itself rests on an "original position", the so-called veil of ignorance about the social identity of the potential distributors of distributive justice.