Justice Among Nations
On the Moral Basis of Power and Peace
Thomas L. Pangle & Peter J. Ahrensdorf
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Thomas Pangle and Peter Ahrensdorf provide a critical introduction to the most important conceptions of international justice, spanning 2,500 years of intellectual history from Thucydides and Plato to Morgenthau and Waltz. Their study shows how older traditions of political philosophy remain relevant to current debates in international relations, and how political thinkers through the centuries can help us deepen our understanding of today’s stalemate between realism and idealism.
“This powerful and important book should be assigned in core courses offered to all advanced students in international relations.”
—International History Review
“An excellent contribution that masterfully combines philosophy, theology, and morality into a history of international relations from the ancient Greeks to the present.”
—Military ReviewSee all reviews...
“An extremely welcome and powerful contribution.”
“Thomas Pangle and Peter Ahrensdorf have written a book remarkable in the depth and breadth of its scholarship and in the clarity and incisiveness of its analysis. By placing currently fashionable theories of international relations in the illuminating context of the long tradition of western political thought they provide a valuable critique and evaluation of these ideas as well as a deeper understanding of the problems of war and peace.”
—Donald Kagan, author of On the Origin of War and the Preservation of Peace
“A major contribution to the study both of international relations and the history of political philosophy. Filled with fresh and penetrating insights, it&8217;s easily the best and most comprehensive study of its kind.”
—Carnes Lord, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, coeditor of Essays on the Foundations of Aristotelian Political Science
“A real tour de force. Political theorists and students of international relations have long needed just such a volume to engage the history and prehistory of their discipline in a philosophic way.”
—Nathan Tarcov, author of Locke's Education for Liberty
“This is a remarkably thoughtful and learned study that brings to bear the wisdom of the great works of political philosophy on the central questions of international relations. I know of no comparable work. It should prove indispensable for students of both political theory and international relations.”
—Marc F. Plattner, Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies and editor, Journal of DemocracySee fewer reviews...
Pangle and Ahrensdorf guide the reader through a sequence of theoretical frameworks for understanding the moral basis of international relations: the cosmopolitan vision of the classical philosophers, the “just war” teachings of medieval theologians, the revolutionary realism of Machiavelli, the Enlightenment idealism of Kant, and the neo-realism of twentieth-century theorists. They clarify the core of each philosopher’s conceptions of international relations, examine the appeal of each position, and bring these alternatives into mutually illuminating juxtaposition.
The authors clearly show that appreciating the fundamental questions pursued by these philosophers can help us avoid dogmatism, abstraction, or oversimplification when considering the moral character of international relations. Justice Among Nations restores the study of the great works of political theory to its natural place within the discipline of international relations as it retrieves the question of international justice as a major theme of political philosophy. It provides our moral compass with new points of orientation and invites serious readers to grapple with some of the most perplexing issues of our time.