Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

The European Union and Kant’s idea of cosmopolitan right: Why the EU is not a cosmopolitan federation

13 February 2014 | Seminar


When surveying the literature involved in cosmopolitan thought it is common to see cosmopolitans allude to theoretical, historical and practical links between Immanuel Kant’s idea for a cosmopolitan federation and the formulation of the European Union. However, this relationship between Kant and ‘Kant’s Europe’ remains a rather underdeveloped assumption and there is compelling exegetical and practical evidence to suggest that this relationship is not as robust as is generally assumed. In response, this article explores the link between Kant’s vision for a cosmopolitan federation and its consanguinity with the formation and practice of the EU. By doing so, it will be argued that a link between Kant and the EU can only be reasonably claimed to exist at the level of Kant’s first two Definitive Articles and that the EU remains rather impoverished with regard to Kant’s more radical concept of cosmopolitan right.


Garrett Wallace Brown (University of Sheffield)

Garrett is Reader in Political Theory and Global Ethics in the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield. His interests include Kantian political and legal theory, cosmopolitanism, global health governance and issues lying at the interface between political and International Relations theory. He published Grounding Cosmopolitanism: From Kant to the Idea of a Cosmopolitan Constitution (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) and coedited The Cosmopolitanism Reader (Polity, 2010) with David Held.

There will be the opportunity to network after the event.

PhD and MA researchers are particularly encouraged to attend.

Location Details

Michael Sadler LG 19 (this is number 78 on the campus map)

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