Introduction

Authored by: Patrick Hayden

The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671015
eBook ISBN: 9781315612935
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043546

10.4324/9781315612935.intro

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Abstract

This book focuses on normative issues of global importance, by examining historical, political and legal debates about the nature of international relations and which key theoretical paradigms are best suited to deal with the central ethical dilemmas facing international politics and world affairs. There is little doubt that the theory and practice of international affairs is tied in interesting and important ways to normative questions. Indeed, there is reason to suspect that world politics is, at bottom, a fundamentally normative enterprise. But this proposition runs counter to much of what passes for received wisdom in the discipline of international relations (IR). As Mervyn Frost (1996, 1) has pointedly explained, ‘although normative questions regularly arise in the day-to-day practice of international politics the discipline of international relations has not accorded ethical theory a central place within it’. Despite this longstanding reluctance or, indeed, resistance towards normative theorizing on the part of mainstream IR, there can be no doubt that international ethics has become firmly established as a field of study straddling a number of disciplinary boundaries.

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