chapter  3
14 Pages

Despite Philosophical Reason

ByPeter Lomas

The first set of problems arises as states shift shape, in the conventional wisdom of international relations. This is an issue for ontological inquiry— the philosophy of what reality is made up of. The chapter arises from the fact that in modern international theory, the normative strain has been rather neglected. It "has often been treated as lying at the periphery of the discipline", according to Toni Erskine. The long marginalization of normative theory in international studies also seems indefensible when one considers that influential governments have claimed moral leadership in their own way. The United States of America Carter administration promoted universal human rights; the United Kingdom Labour government, at the turn of the twenty-first century, proposed an "ethical foreign policy". In international law and diplomacy, and in much of international theory, states are held to do things in their own right, in accord with their own "wills".