Riccardo Martinelli

The land of world citizens. Kant on Germany and the Germans

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Kant’s remarks on his fellow countrymen are scattered over several writings, from the Pre-Critical Observations to his latest publications. During this period, Kant modified his ideas about the nature of the German character quite profoundly. In Anthropology, he finally ascribed to the Germans a «phlegmatic» and «intellectual» temperament. Firm and tenacious in the pursuit of their goals, they are exempt from strong emotional upheavals. Such an attitude, he believes, makes them uniquely open to other peoples. Disdaining any instinctive «national arrogance», the Germans are «cosmopolitan» and «enlightened». Accordingly, Kant refers to Germany as «the land of world citizens». Its citizens ideally embody both the commitment to a cosmopolitan constitution and the sense of patriotism.


  • Kant
  • German character
  • Pragmatic Anthropology
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Patriotism


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