Immanuel Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Among Immanuel Kant’s famous essays is his essay “To Eternal Peace” (alternatively titled “On Perpetual Peace”).  In this essay, published in 1795 right at the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars, Kant follows up on his philosophy of history by offering deep contemplation on the nature of unfolding history and constitutions to peace among nations.  … Continue reading Immanuel Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Immanuel Kant: “History with Cosmopolitan Intent”

Immanuel Kant wrote many important books, but he was also an important essayist—and some of his most important philosophical reflections, with longstanding and consequential legacies, were written as essays.  One of his most famous essays, with a rich consequential legacy, was “Idea of Universal History with Cosmopolitan Intent.”  One of the first elaborations on the … Continue reading Immanuel Kant: “History with Cosmopolitan Intent”

Johann Gottfried von Herder’s Philosophy of “Kultur”

Johann Gottfried von Herder is one of the most important transitionary figures in German philosophy. Perhaps along with Fichte, Herder was actually one of the most influential philosophers after Kant but largely forgotten in the Kant to Hegel canonical study that dominates most philosophical departments and continental surveys. Nonetheless, Herder was instrumental in pioneering the … Continue reading Johann Gottfried von Herder’s Philosophy of “Kultur”

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Carl Schmitt and the Concept of Sovereignty

Carl Schmitt begins his essay on political theology by discussing sovereignty.  As he famously opens, “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”  What exactly does this all entail? Schmitt’s definition that the sovereign is he who decides on the exception is one of the most famous sentences of all modern political philosophy.  In fact, the last … Continue reading Carl Schmitt and the Concept of Sovereignty

Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

Hegel’s social and political philosophy was of profound importance in mid nineteenth century Germany, especially within the Kingdom of Prussia where he spent his latter days.  It is sometimes said that Hegel believed Prussia was the end of history, that Prussia was the fulfillment of the socio-political, constitutional, and ethical progression of the Spirit in … Continue reading Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

Clausewitz and the Trinity of War

Carl von Clausewitz is regarded as one of the foremost philosophers of war to have ever lived.  A Prussian army officer and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars—including Prussia’s darkest hours during the 1806 Campaign, he lived through exciting military and intellectual times.  He lived through the Prussian army reforms after their disastrous defeats at the … Continue reading Clausewitz and the Trinity of War

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, IV: Nazism

Of all the fascist movements, German fascism (or “National Socialism”) is probably the most famous and least understood.  Fascism in Germany was the epicenter of the brief life of fascism, produced a number of intellectuals – serious and forgotten – from which we are able to derive a lineage of fascist philosophy.  While antecedent roots … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, IV: Nazism