Kant and Herder on Colonialism
Date: 25 September 2013
Location: 2.18, 65-68 Park Place
The School is delighted to present the following visiting speaker
By Dr Vicki Spencer (University of Otago)
It is the orthodox view in the cosmopolitan and normative international relations literature that Immanuel Kant is a staunch critic of European colonialism. This paper offers a far more critical stance toward Kant’s position with respect to Indigenous stateless peoples through a comparative analysis of his views with those of his contemporary, Johann Gottfried Herder. The paper proceeds in three parts. In section one, evidence is presented in favour of seeing both Kant and Herder as strident opponents of colonialism. The second section then shows the problems that arise in Kant’s position when his views on the state and property rights are taken into consideration. Kant’s coupling of the nation and state in contrast to Herder’s insistence that they are separate entities is highlighted as a crucial distinguishing point in their positions. The third and final section indicates how Herder provides a far deeper critique of colonialism than Kant also due to his recognition of the problematic nature of ideological pronouncements of progress.
With brief responses by Prof David Boucher and Prof Howard Williams
This event was organised by our Political Theory Research Unit.