The Concept of Religious Passion: According to Immanuel Kant

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But as an opposing machine in the antagonism of powers, a credit system which grows beyond sight and which is yet a safe debt for the present requirements--because all the creditors do not require payment at one time--constitutes a dangerous money power. This ingenious invention of a commercial people [England] in this century is dangerous because it is a war treasure which exceeds the treasures of all other states; it cannot be exhausted except by default of taxes which is inevitable , though it can be long delayed by the stimulus to trade which occurs through the reaction of credit on industry and commerce.

This facility in making war, together with the inclination to do so on the part of rulers--an inclination which seems inborn in human nature--is thus a great hindrance to perpetual peace. Therefore, to forbid this credit system must be a preliminary article of perpetual peace all the more because it must eventually entangle many innocent states in the inevitable bankruptcy and openly harm them.

They are therefore justified in allying themselves against such a state and its measures. For what is there to authorize it to do so? The offense, perhaps, which a state gives to the subjects of another state? Rather the example of the evil into which a state has fallen because of its lawlessness should serve as a warning. Moreover, the bad example which one free person affords another as a scandalum acceptum is not an infringement of his rights.

But it would be quite different if a state, by internal rebellion, should fall into two parts, each of which pretended to be a separate state making claim to the whole. To lend assistance to one of these cannot be considered an interference in the constitution of the other state for it is then in a state of anarchy. But so long as the internal dissension has not come to this critical point, such interference by foreign powers would infringe on the rights of an independent people struggling with its internal disease; hence it would itself be an offense and would render the autonomy of all states insecure.

These are dishonorable stratagems. For some confidence in the character of the enemy must remain even in the midst of war, as otherwise no peace could be concluded and the hostilities would degenerate into a war of extermination bellum internecinum. War, however, is only the sad recourse in the state of nature where there is no tribunal which could judge with the force of law by which each state asserts its right by violence and in which neither party can be adjudged unjust for that would presuppose a juridical decision ; in lieu of such a decision, the issue of the conflict as if given by a so-called "judgment of God" decides on which side justice lies.

But between states no punitive war bellum punitivum is conceivable, because there is no relation between them of master and servant. It follows that a war of extermination, in which the destruction of both parties and of all justice can result, would permit perpetual peace only in the vast burial ground of the human race.

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Therefore, such a war and the use of all means leading to it must be absolutely forbidden. But that the means cited do inevitably lead to it is clear from the fact that these infernal arts, vile in themselves, when once used would not long be confined to the sphere of war. Take, for instance, the use of spies uti exploratoribus. In this, one employs the infamy of others which can never be entirely eradicated only to encourage its persistence even into the state of peace, to the undoing of the very spirit of peace.

Although the laws stated are objectively, i.

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Such are Nos. Others, like Nos. This permission does not authorize, under No. For the prohibition concerns only the manner of acquisition which is no longer permitted, but not the possession, which, though not bearing a requisite title of right, has nevertheless been held lawful in all states by the public opinion of the time the time of the putative acquisition.

The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state status naturalis ; the natural state is one of war. This does not always mean open hostilities, but at least an unceasing threat of war. A state of peace, therefore, must be established, for in order to be secured against hostility it is not sufficient that hostilities simply be not committed; and, unless this security is pledged to each by his neighbor a thing that can occur only in a civil state , each may treat his neighbor, from whom he demands this security, as an enemy.

The only constitution which derives from the idea of the original compact, and on which all juridical legislation of a people must be based, is the republican. The republican constitution, therefore, is, with respect to law, the one which is the original basis of every form of civil constitution. The only question now is: Is it also the one which can lead to perpetual peace? The republican constitution, besides the purity of its origin having sprung from the pure source of the concept of law , also gives a favorable prospect for the desired consequence, i.

The reason is this: if the consent of the citizens is required in order to decide that war should be declared and in this constitution it cannot but be the case , nothing is more natural than that they would be very cautious in commencing such a poor game, decreeing for themselves all the calamities of war.

Philip Rossi, S.J.: What Can Immanuel Kant Teach Theologians About Religion?

Among the latter would be: having to fight, having to pay the costs of war from their own resources, having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the future.

But, on the other hand, in a constitution which is not republican, and under which the subjects are not citizens, a declaration of war is the easiest thing in the world to decide upon, because war does not require of the ruler, who is the proprietor and not a member of the state, the least sacrifice of the pleasures of his table, the chase, his country houses, his court functions, and the like.

He may, therefore, resolve on war as on a pleasure party for the most trivial reasons, and with perfect indifference leave the justification which decency requires to the diplomatic corps who are ever ready to provide it. In order not to confuse the republican constitution with the democratic as is commonly done , the following should be noted.

The forms of a state civitas can be divided either according to the persons who possess the sovereign power or according to the mode of administration exercised over the people by the chief, whoever he may be. The first is properly called the form of sovereignty forma imperii , and there are only three possible forms of it: autocracy, in which one, aristocracy, in which some associated together, or democracy, in which all those who constitute society, possess sovereign power. They may be characterized, respectively, as the power of a monarch, of the nobility, or of the people.

The second division is that by the form of government forma regiminis and is based on the way in which the state makes use of its power; this way is based on the constitution, which is the act of the general will through which the many persons become one nation. In this respect government is either republican or despotic.

Republicanism is the political principle of the separation of the executive power the administration from the legislative; despotism is that of the autonomous execution by the state of laws which it has itself decreed. Thus in a despotism the public will is administered by the ruler as his own will. Of the three forms of the state, that of democracy is, properly speaking, necessarily a despotism, because it establishes an executive power in which "all" decide for or even against one who does not agree; that is, "all," who are not quite all, decide, and this is a contradiction of the general will with itself and with freedom.

Immanuel Kant

Every form of government which is not representative is, properly speaking, without form. The legislator can unite in one and the same person his function as legislative and as executor of his will just as little as the universal of the major premise in a syllogism can also be the subsumption of the particular under the universal in the minor. And even though the other two constitutions are always defective to the extent that they do leave room for this mode of administration, it is at least possible for them to assume a mode of government conforming to the spirit of a representative system as when Frederick II at least said he was merely the first servant of the state.

Therefore, we can say: the smaller the personnel of the government the smaller the number of rulers , the greater is their representation and the more nearly the constitution approaches to the possibility of republicanism; thus the constitution may be expected by gradual reform finally to raise itself to republicanism. For these reasons it is more difficult for an aristocracy than for a monarchy to achieve the one completely juridical constitution, and it is impossible for a democracy to do so except by violent revolution.

The mode of governments, 6 however, is incomparably more important to the people than the form of sovereignty, although much depends on the greater or lesser suitability of the latter to the end of [good] government. To conform to the concept of law, however, government must have a representative form, and in this system only a republican mode of government is possible; without it, government is despotic and arbitrary, whatever the constitution may be.


None of the ancient so-called "republics" knew this system, and they all finally and inevitably degenerated into despotism under the sovereignty of one, which is the most bearable of all forms of despotism. Peoples, as states, like individuals, may be judged to injure one another merely by their coexistence in the state of nature i.

Each of then , may and should for the sake of its own security demand that the others enter with it into a constitution similar to the civil constitution, for under such a constitution each can be secure in his right. This would be a league of nations, but it would not have to be a state consisting of nations. That would be contradictory, since a state implies the relation of a superior legislating to an inferior obeying , i. This contradicts the presupposition, for here we have to weigh the rights of nations against each other so far as they are distinct states and not amalgamated into one.

When we see the attachment of savages to their lawless freedom, preferring ceaseless combat to subjection to a lawful constraint which they might establish, and thus preferring senseless freedom to rational freedom, we regard it with deep contempt as barbarity, rudeness, and a brutish degradation of humanity.

Accordingly, one would think that civilized people each united in a state would hasten all the more to escape, the sooner the better, from such a depraved condition. But, instead, each state places its majesty for it is absurd to speak of the majesty of the people in being subject to no external juridical restraint, and the splendor of its sovereign consists in the fact that many thousands stand at his command to sacrifice themselves for something that does not concern them and without his needing to place himself in the least danger.

When we consider the perverseness of human nature which is nakedly revealed in the uncontrolled relations between nations this perverseness being veiled in the state of civil law by the constraint exercised by government , we may well be astonished that the word "law" has not yet been banished from war politics as pedantic, and that no state has yet been bold enough to advocate this point of view.

Up to the present, Hugo Grotius, Pufendorf , Vattel , and many other irritating comforters have been cited in justification of war, though their code, philosophically or diplomatically formulated, has not and cannot have the least legal force, because states as such do not stand under a common external power. There is no instance on record that a state has ever been moved to desist from its purpose because of arguments backed up by the testimony of such great men.

But the homage which each state pays at least in words to the concept of law proves that there is slumbering in man an even greater moral disposition to become master of the evil principle in himself which he cannot disclaim and to hope for the same from others. Footnote 7 Deleuze argues that to understand the unconditioned in terms of difference, rather than identity, frees us from the metaphysical prejudice of modelling it after our own subjectivity or reason, and from the incapacity of transcendent entities to ground difference without subsuming it.

Footnote 8 As Deleuze is seeking, not just the logical condition of possible experience, but the genetic or generative condition of real experience, his aim is explicitly ontological, even as it questions the adequacy of existing accounts of essence and grounds. This is a pity, as he is engaging with issues of sense, modality, essence and metaphysics in general which engage the interests of analytic philosophers Deleuze himself was a great admirer of Hume and Russell.

My concern is the part played in his analysis by the unconditioned, as interpreted via Deleuze. One of the challenges Barber sets himself is to give an account of genuine change and novelty within a metaphysical framework of pure immanence.