Conflicting Ethics In Kant's Perpetual Peace

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Conflicting ethics and unexpected guests In his Perpetual Peace, Kant expounds upon the concept of cosmopolitical rights, founded on the right of visit belonging to every human being. The key factor here is the notion of hospitality: every individual has the right “not to be treated as an enemy when he arrives in the land of another” . This perspective leads to a series of considerations. The first consideration concerns the nature of hospitality. It is directed towards the foreigner, the 'other', who expresses his difference through his unexpected, unforeseen and chance presence. This presence carries uncertain consequences. If the other is not integrated according to the rule of inclusion, if he does not become 'one of us', he runs the…show more content…
Pelasgus, a Greek king, must answer the asylum request made by the Danaids, 'barbarian' women who wish to dwell in the land of Argos and become citizens. The reason for this is that they have fled Egypt in order to avoid having to marry their own cousins, who lay claim to them. The Danaids approach the king with twigs that symbolise their status as 'suppliants' sacred to the gods. Hospitality cannot be denied to them without contravening the will of Zeus, which is repeatedly referred to in the…show more content…
The people's verdict, as expressed by the citizen assembly, is in favour of granting the suppliants hospitality. The women are welcomed into the community, even though there remains the risk of war. The demos has ruled in favour of acceptance, obeying a principle that was not laid out by any written law, but which rather violated the rules which help “distinguish and separate those coming from outside from those who are within” . Addressing the Egyptian herald who lays claim to the women, the king makes his pronouncement official: “Not on tablets is this inscribed, nor has it been sealed in folds of books: you hear the truth from free-spoken lips” . The freewill and determination of the people –citizens– opens the door to hospitality and to the welcoming of refugees fleeing from violence. In this case, the pronouncement was a positive one. But does people –gathered in an assembly or, as in modern times, voicing its opinion through representatives– always display such wisdom? What would the European 'demos' say today with regard to the incessant influx of refugees seeking asylum and protection from

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