Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day, November 11, 2010

Every November 11, we remember and honor all of the Veterans who have served and currently serve their country.  On November 11, 1918 the Allies and Germany signed an agreement ending hostilities on the western front at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" ending World War I.  The war to end all wars it wasn't really but the signing of the armistice ended the war and set the stage for future wars.  Today is not a celebration of War but rather a celebration of the sacrifices and glories of the men and woman everywhere who march into harms way past and present.  While we honor the memories of warriors past and warriors present we should remember that our future ought to be a future of peace.

Instead of noting a favorite book on War, I'd rather suggest that everyone consider reading an essay published in 1795, Toward Perpetual Peace, a fairly short essay by the great German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant, my philosophical hero! The essay was motivated by the signing of the Treaty of Basel in March of 1795 between Prussia and revolutionary France.  A treaty as well, that established a basis for future war. 

Kant's political philosophy is scattered among his writings yet his belief that reason will lead a constant progression towards a cosmopolitan world where states arise from a warlike state of nature to a state of perpetual peace still seems a worthy goal and a possible future.  While the essay itself is short and may be enjoyed without reading Kant's foundational philosophical works, it is better to acquire the essay as part of The Cambridge Editions of the Works of Immanuel Kant In Translation, General Editors Paul Guyer and Allan W. Wood, in the volume entitled Practical Philosophy, Edited by Mary J. Gregor.  After reading the essay on perpetual peace I'm certain you will feel the need to read the rest of Kant's writings on practical philosophy.

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