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The Limits of Kant’s Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Practice, and the Crisis in Syria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2017

Matthew C. Altman
Affiliation:
Central Washington University
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Abstract

Although Kant defends a cosmopolitan ideal, his philosophy is problematically vague regarding how to achieve it, which lends support to the empty formalism charge. How Kant would respond to the crisis in Syria reveals that judgement plays too central a role, because Kantian principles lead to equally reasonable but opposite conclusions on how to weigh the duty of hospitality to refugees against a state’s duty to its own citizens, the right of prevention towards ISIS against the duty not to harm non-combatants, and the responsibility to protect the people of Syria against the duty of non-interference in its internal affairs.

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© Kantian Review 2017 

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