Chris Brown is a prominent international political theorist who has contributed to debates on pluralism, justice and human rights. This book draws together seventeen of his most important and influential articles from the last twenty years.

These essays include influential statements on the role of normative theory and international ethics, the so-called ‘cosmopolitan-communitarian debate’ and anti-foundationalist thought in international relations, as well as important contributions to Rawlsian and Post-Rawlsian theories of international and global justice. The most recent papers address subjects such as the notion of global civil society, and controversies over the ethics of pre-emptive warfare, and the inevitably selective nature of humanitarian interventions.

The book includes a framing introduction written for this volume, in which Brown discusses his own influences, and the evolution of his thinking throughout his career. Although this evolution has involved a progressively less critical viewpoint towards liberal thought and liberal internationalism, and a greater commitment to universal values, some things have remained constant – in particular a focus on the importance of political judgement and scepticism directed towards the idea that there are simple solutions to complex problems. The collection ends fittingly with a critique of the popular cosmopolitanism of figures such as Bono and Bob Geldof.

This collection will be essential reading for all scholars and graduates with an interest in international political theory.

chapter |16 pages


A life in theory

part |105 pages

Communitarians and cosmopolitans

chapter |10 pages

The modern ‘Requirement'?

Reflections on normative theory in a post-Western world

chapter |11 pages

Ethics of co-existence

The international theory of Terry Nardin

chapter |13 pages

International theory and international society

The viability of the middle way?1

chapter |18 pages

Universal human rights

A critique

chapter |15 pages

Cultural diversity and international political theory

From the ‘Requirement' to mutual respect?

chapter |17 pages

The construction of a ‘realistic utopia'

John Rawls and international political theory

part |68 pages

The discourse of international relations

chapter |8 pages

Not my department?

Normative theory and international relations

chapter |19 pages

‘Turtles all the way down'

Anti-foundationalism, criticaltheory and international relations