The study of international relations owes a great deal to political philosophy. Many of the central analogies and concepts in international relations derive from prominent philosophical traditions. Here, I focus on three areas in which political philosophy has made an important impact on international relations theory: anarchy and political order, democracy, and justice. Many other important areas of international politics invoke philosophical inquiry, such as just war, human rights and humanitarian intervention, which I will not discuss here. In international relations, three philosophers occupy centre stage when discussing these ideas: Hobbes, Kant and Rawls. I discuss how scholars in international relations have used these thinkers to develop theories of international politics. I also ask what political philosophy might gain from a greater knowledge of the field of international relations, which raises the question of the relationship between normative and empirical research. Overall, I argue that greater interaction between normative and empirical research is a valuable goal.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)
- Democratic peace
- International relations
- International state of nature
- Political order