Hugo Grotius and the invention of the 'Grotian tradition' in international relations
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This thesis is an intellectual history of the 'Grotian tradition' from the works of Hugo Grotius to the contemporary writings of the 'English School'. Its central argument contends that, contrary to its contemporary conceptualisation, the Grotian tradition has not, historically speaking, been a tradition of thought about international society. Rather, it is a moral tradition, derived in essence, if not always in substance, from Grotius' most famous work De Jure Belli ac Pads, and perpetuated in the international legal writings of a range of scholars including Samuel Pufendorf, James Kent, Henry Wheaton, Cornelius van Vollenhoven and Hersch Lauterpacht before being transformed into its current form in the works of Martin Wight and Hedley Bull. In explicating this argument, this thesis pursues two inter-related lines of inquiry. The first is concerned with the meaning of the term 'Grotian', both in relation to Hugo Grotius and as it has been employed in subsequent scholarship. In doing so, it introduces a three-tiered moral scheme that is central to Grotius' thought and highlights its perpetuation in international legal and political thought. The second line of inquiry considers what it means, both in theoretical and practical terms, to designate a set of thinkers and ideas a 'tradition' and considers the epistemological ramifications of doing so. As such, it is concerned not only with the manner in which the term 'tradition' has been employed by proponents of the 'Grotian tradition' but seeks to highlight some of the broader implications associated with the construction of traditions for the discipline of International Relations.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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