Monash University

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A republican account of self determination and just war

posted on 2017-02-16, 03:03 authored by Hawke, Ben
It is traditionally thought that the value of one's nation is not merely the sum of life, liberty and security; but rather something over and above these things. Given that one's own nation seems to be valuable in and of itself, it seems essential that nations possess a degree of immunity from foreign interference. Cosmopolitans criticise this view of the nation and argue that, given human beings are fundamentally similar, the only value that one's own nation possesses is the instrumental value of protecting human rights. Further to this, cosmopolitans argue that valuing one's nation is an obstacle in realising human rights globally. However, there is a worry that cosmopolitanism may lead to an imperialism of liberalism, with a global order that coercively forces liberal values on every nation. My thesis aims to show the importance of nationalism, within a broadly cosmopolitan framework. This is to be achieved by developing a republican theory of legitimate violent conflict. The idea is that if we can determine when violent resistance against authority is morally acceptable, we can determine what states ought to be entitled to international respect and which states are not. This analysis will show that traditional non-interventionist views are untenable, but also that fundamental cosmopolitan views on foreign intervention are also untenable. We begin this discussion by first looking briefly at just war theory. Rather than begin with an abstract question (should states possess sovereignty?), we will begin with the more practical discussion of when foreign interference is justified in order to illuminate the practical consequences of the competing views.


Principal supervisor

Toby Handfield

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School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies


Master of Philosophy

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Faculty of Arts

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