Obligations of love : international political thought & the tradition of natural law
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Identifying human suffering as a socio-political phenomenon challenging the well-being and development of individuals, this work argues that International Relations requires a re-evaluation of its political structures in light of the ends articulated within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its associated International Human Rights Regime. Noting the problem of being, the particular problem of modern cognitive epistemologies this work seeks to ground an alternative philosophical conception of the individual framed within an account of natural law morality. Distinguishing itself from the epistemology of the received view of Modernity, the morality of natural law frames an alternative account of agency, agents, and the community. In its pre-modern form, natural law accounts for both the theoretical and practical reasoning capacities of the agent noting the ontological equality of every individual similar to modern cosmopolitan assumptions. It distinguishes itself from these accounts noting the relativity, and not universal ends of moral deliberations reflected in the tradition of casuistry. Articulating a moral taxonomy reflecting the ends of ‘the good’ this methodology is at odds with the stability of static political structures. Consequently, the natural law community is able to sustain an account of political pluralism, developing the unique qualities and characteristics distinguishing each and every agent. The plurality of life paths, alongside the equality of being, is reflected in the common good, the institutional representation of the personal relationships sustaining and furthering the development of morality mirroring the well-being and development of the moral agent. Articulating the art of politics, the cumulative appraisal of these ideas reveals an objective account of being political. Endorsing ‘being human in common’, it further institutionalizes the relationships of being reflected in the synthesis of philia and agape relations accounting for a personal account of politics. Noting the influential nature of coordinated political action, reflected in an ethic of love, this objective interpretation synthesizes local knowledge and customs alongside the universality of ‘the good’ addressing the particular developmental needs of suffering agents. Culminating in an account of the politics of potential, a realistic appraisal of the ends of this account of being political is mindful that political change, both solitary and in common, reflects the equal capacity of the agent to do both good and evil. Consequently, the hope of the politics of potential distinguishes itself from modern interpretations of politics equally aware of both the positive and negative attributes of contemporary human nature affecting those agents endeavoring to embark on the task of international institutional design.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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