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Obligations beyond the state: the individual, the state and humanity in international theory

Linklater, Andrew (1978) Obligations beyond the state: the individual, the state and humanity in international theory. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is concerned with one way in which political philosophy and international relations might co-operate more closely with one another. The approach so formed, international relations theory, is particularly important in order to analyse and try to resolve one of the more fundamental questions in modern politics. This question concerns the right ordering of two types of obligation, the one asserting that a man's obligations are first and foremost to the state of which he is a citizen, the other asserting that as a man he has obligations to the whole of humanity and that these have first claim upon him. The first part of this thesis is concerned with these two theories of obligations and the way in which they are embedded within the theory and practice of the modern state. The argument attempts to set out the basic structure of these two points of view in order that their evaluation may take place in later parts of the thesis. In the second place, the theories of Pufendorf and Vattel are considered in order to discover the manner in which they deal with these two points of view of obligation. Their theories are found to be unsatisfactory and a more adequate theory of international obligation is traced in the writings of Kant. The third part of the thesis attempts to build upon Kant in order to take some further steps towards a theory of international relations. This section begins with the argument that the philosophy of international relations is to be understood as part of a wider enterprise, namely a theory of societies with reference to their external relations. Accordingly, the thesis attempts to distinguish a variety of principles which might be at the heart of one society's relations with another. Through the use of a 'myth' the argument proceeds to arrange these principles into a hierarchy in order to represent their distance from or proximity to a condition where international relations are organised according to principles which have their bases in Kant's thought.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1978 Andrew Linklater
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Collections > LSE History of Thought theses
Supervisor: Donelan, Michael and Taylor, Paul

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