Reflections on Palmquist, S. 2004. Kant’s Ideal of the University as a Model for World Peace. In International Conference on 200 Years after Kant.

The concept of a World Citizenship is intriguing. The philosopher attempts to use debates to bring different genres of people together. Such diversity seems to be conflicting and he seems to look at it from a very different and holistic view. I felt he is an idealist and is optimistic when he writes this.

I like the way he describes the idea of an open conflict which is the basis for a peaceful and creative debate in academia. This was a regulated attempt to celebrate “diversity” and I think this metaphor is very appropriate for today.

Kant also mentions retrogression, progression and stagnation. A concept where he sees experience as constantly evolving and generating a moral “reasoning”

In these writings, we can see Kant’s influences for the last 200 years. I wonder if we can apply some those concepts today and what can we learn from there? From that period until now, there has been increased tensions, resulting in war and terrorist activities. I have learnt that universities can be seen as instruments of peace, bringing the balance back and embracing mutual respect.

2 Replies to “Reflections on Palmquist, S. 2004. Kant’s Ideal of the University as a Model for World Peace. In International Conference on 200 Years after Kant.”

  1. I agree universities can be a space for challenging ideas and opposing views are views are important for progressive thinking – debate and creative conflict are vital to arts education – the seminar, group discussion and crit are good examples of this thinking. For Kant, understanding and sensibility are key to progressive thinking, creating “new realities” and, ultimately achieving world “peace”. I too, think the tone is perhaps, overly optimistic and idealistic, despite its sound credentials. It’s fascinating to consider the lasting influence and legacy of Perpetual Peace (1795) and The Conflict of the Faculties (1798).

    Although Kant thinking is based upon the Prussian model of university, it’s interesting to consider its relation to todays increasing market driven model of education. Increasingly, universities see each other as ‘competitors’, rather collaborators – will financial factors start to cloud judgement and moral “reasoning” ?

    I’ve recently been reading ‘Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm: Realism versus Cynicism (2011), which tackles some of these issues. It is structured around the shifting dynamic of student to customer, and university education from a public to private good. To me, it echoes elements of Kant’s thinking – might be of interest ?

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