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This piece brings into dialogue two philosophically profound and hugely influential texts on the nature and requisites of international peace: Immanuel Kant’s “Towards Perpetual Peace” (zum Ewigen Frieden) and Kang Youwei’s 康有为 Book of Great Unity 大同书. Both texts articulate bold visions of a world without international war and embed concrete institutional plans for establishing peace within strongly progressivist philosophies of history. But Kang and Kant disagree in some crucial respects. Most significantly: whilst Kant imagines a liberal peace between sovereign states, Kang argues that enduring pacification would have to be enforced by a communitarian and deliberative democratic polity spanning the earth. Reading the Book of Great Unity alongside “Perpetual Peace” raises timely and challenging questions for contemporary Kantians and, more generally, for liberal internationalist political theorists and scholars of international relations.

In: Comparative Political Theory