«Per la pace perpetua» o «Alla pace perpetua»?
Kant tra giuspacifismo ed escatologia apocalittica
(Scuola di specializzazione SPS in psicoterapia psicoanalitica, Roma)
Published in June, 2020
“For perpetual peace” or “To perpetual peace”? Kant between juspacifism and apocalyptic eschatology
Over two centuries after its first edition (1795), Kant’s famous essay Zum ewigen Frieden (AA VIII 341-386), better known in Italy under the stereotyped (and misleading) title, that has now become part of the canon, Per la pace perpetua (Eng.: For a perpetual peace; To perpetual peace; Towards Perpetual peace; On perpetual peace), is still a work of extraordinary relevance, and the subject of endless scientific dispute among scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds. The aim of this paper is to draw attention back to some issues that are not always adequately examined by the Kantian literature, despite being of undeniable importance from the point of view of the history of ideas: (a) the controversial classification of Kant in the tradition of so-called “pacifism”; (b) Kant’s shifting (and at times ambiguous) conception of “perpetual peace”, where typical Enlightenment motifs are intertwined with eschatological allusions of chiliastic origin. In view of this, it does not seem irrelevant to make a critical survey of the numerous translations (Anglo-Saxon, French, Spanish, Italian) of Zum ewigen Frieden throughout the period from the end of the 18th century to our times. In these translations the original German title has been rendered in a polysemic way, and not always appropriately, at times ‘steering’ Kant’s essay in a predominantly pacifist direction, at times ‘disempowering’ its political purpose in an eschatological-religious key.
Kant, Pacifism, Eschatology, Perpetual peace, Eternal peace.