International relations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781405177245
ISBN (Print)9781405136532
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Democracy
  • Democratic peace
  • International relations
  • International state of nature
  • Justice
  • Political order


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