October 31, 2016: presenting at the University of Chicago.

I'll be presenting at noon in Pick 506:

Europe and the Space of the Colonies: Kant’s Anti-Colonialism and his Philosophy of History


This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, centering on the anti-colonial arguments in Toward Perpetual Peace. Kant’s changing position on colonialism has been the subject of extensive debates that have not, however, considered the central place of colonialism in the political, economic, and military context of Europe. I suggest that Kant’s main concern in 1795 is the negative effect of European expansionism and intra-European rivalry over colonial possessions on the possibility of peace in Europe. Kant’s turn against colonialism thus does not require a shift away from his hierarchical view of race and may instead be based on the lack of affinity between the character of colonial conflict in his time and his philosophy of history. I conclude by discussing the need to correct/complement Kant in our contemporary thinking onCosmopolitanism.