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Beyond Capital-Nation-State: Lecture II


Kojin Karatani

Fig. 6:
The type of social formation the dominant mode of exchange
1. Tribal      A
2. Asiatic     B㸦
3. Greco-Roman     B㸧
4. Feudal     B㸨
5. Capitalist      C

The Cunning of Nature in Kant:

That means which nature employs to bring about the development of innate
capacities is that of antagonism within society, in so far as this antagonism becomes
in the long run the cause of law-governed social order. By antagonism, I mean in this
context the unsocial sociability of men, that is, their tendency to come together in
society, coupled, however, with a continual resistance which constantly threatens to
break this society up. "(Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent,
Fourth Thesis, 1784) (from Kant's Political Writings, edited by Hans Reiss,
Cambridge, 1970, p. 44)

Hegel’s Critique of Kantian idea for perpetual peace:

The fundamental proposition of international law (i.e. the universal law which ought
to be absolutely valid between states, as distinguished from the particular content of
positive treaties) is that treaties, as the ground of obligations between states, ought to
be kept. But since the sovereignty of a state is the principle of its relations to others,
states are to that extent n a state of nature in relation to each other. Their rights are
actualized only in their particular wills and not in a universal will with constitutional
powers over them. This universal proviso of international law therefore does not go
beyond an ought-to-be and what really happens is that international relations in
accordance with treaty alternate with the severance of these relations.
There is no Praetor to judge between states; at best there may be an arbitrator or

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a mediator, and even he exercises his functions contingently only, i.e. in dependence
on the particular wills of the disputants. Kant had an idea for securing ‘perpetual
peace’ by a League of Nations to adjust every dispute. It was to be a power
recognized by each individual state, and was to arbitrate in all cases of dissension in
order to make it impossible for disputants to resort to war in order to settle them. This
idea presupposes an accord between states; this would rest on moral or religious or
other grounds and considerations, but in any case would always depend ultimately on
a particular sovereign will and for that reason would remain infected with contingency.
(Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 333, trans. T.M. Knox, (Oxford University Press, New
York, 1952, p214)