This chapter examines Augustine of Hippo's political thought. After providing a brief biography of St Augustine, it considers the fate of his texts within the world of academic political theory and the general suspicion of ‘religious’ thinkers within that world. It then analyses Augustine's understanding of the human person as a bundle of complex desires and emotions as well as the implications of his claim that human sociality is a given and goes all the way down. It also explores Augustine's arguments regarding the interplay of caritas and cupiditas in the moral orientations of persons and of cultures. Finally, it describes Augustine's reflections on the themes of war and peace, locating him as the father of the tradition of ‘just war’ theory.
Jean Bethke Elshtain
This chapter examines how we should think about ethics, starting with three framing questions: Do states and their citizens have significant moral duties to the members of other countries? Should states and their militaries be morally constrained in the conduct of war? Who is morally responsible for the alleviation of global poverty? The chapter proceeds by defining ethics and considering three significant and difficult ethical issues entailed by globalization: cosmopolitanism, statism, and realist ethics. It concludes by examining the ethical dimensions of global poverty and just war. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the ethics of migration and the other with the ethics of just war. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that debates who bears most responsibility for addressing global warming.
This chapter deals with normative international relations theory, a field of study that relies on a variety of approaches and theories to explore moral expectations, decisions, and dilemmas in world politics. Normative IR theory has adopted — and adapted — conceptual categories such as communitarianism and cosmopolitanism from political theory. It also borrows from moral philosophy to designate different types of ethical reasoning, such as deontology and consequentialism. The chapter begins with an overview of the history, influences, and some of the categories that normative IR theory brings to the study of international relations. It then examines the ways in which normative IR theory engages with the hidden ethical assumptions of a range of IR approaches. It also considers the case of civilian deaths during the 2003 Iraq war in relation to the just war tradition, and more specifically to the idea that soldiers have duties to exercise restraint in war.
This chapter assesses war and intervention. Just war theorists share two beliefs: that wars can, at least in theory, sometimes be just, and that the fighting of war is governed by moral rules. Just war theory is usually divided into jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum. Jus ad bellum (justice prior to war) sets the conditions under which it is just to declare war. Jus in bello (justice during the war) sets the ‘rules of engagement’, governing the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Jus post bellum (justice after war) deals with topics like war reparations and punishment of aggression and had, until recently, received comparatively little attention in the just war literature. Meanwhile, pacifism and realism offer alternative approaches to the ethics of war.
This chapter examines St Thomas Aquinas' political ideas. Aquinas combined Aristotelian ideas with Christian concepts, distinguishing between the natural and supernatural orders, and attributing inherent validity to the natural order, including political life. His theory of law linked, through reason, the eternal law of God, natural law, human positive law, and divine law. According to Aquinas, government's justification was its purpose — securing the common good. He favoured limited monarchy in a mixed constitution. The chapter first provides a short biography of Aquinas before discussing his views on natural and supernatural orders, government, tyranny, and temporal and spiritual power. It concludes with an assessment of Aquinas' contribution to political thought in the area of just war theory.
This chapter examines Hugo Grotius' key political ideas. Grotius, one of the most prolific and erudite writers of the seventeenth century, sought to formulate a set of universal rights and duties that would secure peace by constraining states in their internal and external relations. Drawing on a wide range of philosophical and literary sources, including Roman law, ancient classics, theology, and poetry, Grotius rehabilitated the natural law in an attempt to achieve harmony in an increasingly splintered political environment. After providing a short biography of Grotius, the chapter analyses his views on natural law, natural rights, property rights, sociability, self-preservation, and social contracts. It also discusses Grotius' arguments regarding international order in the context of just war theory and punishment and concludes with an assessment of Grotius' legacy in the area of political thought.