Sir Herbert Butterfield, Arnold J. Toynbee and Martin Wight and the crisis of international politics : a study in international thought
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This thesis examines the international thought of Sir Herbert Butterfield, Arnold J. Toynbee and Martin Wight, commonly portrayed in International Relations as 'realist', 'revolutionist' and 'rationalist' thinkers respectively. Their thought is reconsidered in terms of what they each perceived to be a crisis in the international realm. This perception, it is argued, shaped their distinctive understandings of the contemporary and future state of international relations. In contrast to many of their peers, Butterfield, Toynbee and Wight turned to religion and to history to aid their comprehension of the challenges that international crisis posed, and to help them form and articulate their desired practical responses. This thesis explores in detail both the religious beliefs of each man and their understandings of the nature of the past and historical knowledge, seeking to offer a view of the foundations of their international thought. In the second half, their diagnoses of international crisis are explored, and the responses they put forward to ameliorate it. It is argued that Butterfield, Toynbee and Wight are best not understood as 'realist', 'revolutionist' and 'rationalist', and it is asserted that such categories, far from aiding our understanding of the history of international thought, serve to obscure the nature of each man's work in the field.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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