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An ethical framework for international politics: A neo-Hegelian interpretation of the role of states in the construction of just principles.

Sarquis, Alessandra T.D.A (2007) An ethical framework for international politics: A neo-Hegelian interpretation of the role of states in the construction of just principles. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In an increasingly interdependent world, the scope and effectiveness of states' authority are being contested. A key question is posed: to what extent does the state remain fundamental in the provision of institutional mechanisms through which individuals constitute themselves as morally motivated agents and interact with otherness in a self-assured and meaningful way. A critical review of the contemporary literature of justice finds no satisfactory answers to this question. By assuming universal rationality and the state's instrumental role in individuals' moral formation, cosmopolitans derive far-reaching international just principles that will preserve individuals' integrity and regulate their interactions. They fail, however, to recognize that states influence the way individuals interpret and identify with the values underlying these principles, condemning them to unfeasibility. Communitarians and theorists of nationality understand individuals' ethical formation to be conditional on their common sense of belonging. By doing so, they end by constructing undesirable international principles that restrain individuals' exercise of critical thinking and links to the outside world. A neo-Hegelian framework, which does not disentangle individuals' development of independently thinking capacities from the construction of a historically situated system of rights, is in a better position to answer the question. Its success however depends on a deeper comprehension of a state's ability to provide the sought-after mechanisms at two levels. First, citizens must not only mutually recognize each other as equally valid sources of independent claims but must also make use of similar basic values and motivational skills to fairly interact with non-compatriots, exchanging viewpoints in the construction of their distinct personalities. Second, the states increasingly need to agree on forms of regulation (international principles of justice) that, though based on the mutual recognition and support of their self-determining ethical capacities, do not alienate the inputs from other actors of the international society (e.g. international civil society and states contesting ethical values). The incorporation and interaction of these two levels is the way to establish the legitimacy and applicability of international just principles. The originality of this thesis resides in the development of a new interpretation of familiar Neo-Hegelian arguments to address the overlooked issue of the sources of ethical motivation underpinning regulation in an increasingly interdependent world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

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