The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant

The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant

The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant

The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant

Synopsis

The Rights of War and Peace is the first fully historical account of the formative period of modern theories of international law. It sets the scene with an extensive history of the theory of international relations from antiquity down to the seventeenth century. Professor Tuck then examinesthe arguments over the moral basis for war and international aggression, and links the debates to the writings of the great political theorists such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. This is not only an account of international law: as Professor Tuck shows, ideas about inter-state relations were central to the formation of modern liberal political theory, for the best example of the kind of agent which liberalism presupposes was provided by the modern state. As a result, thebook illuminates the presuppositions behind much current political theory, and puts into a new perspective the connection between liberalism and imperialism.

Excerpt

This book is based on the Carlyle Lectures delivered at Oxford University in the Hilary Term 1991. I would like first of all to thank the Committee in charge of the Lectureship for conferring on me the great honour of an invitation to deliver the lectures, and individual members of the Committee—Larry Siedentop, William Thomas, and David Miller—for their hospitality and advice during my stay in Oxford. I would also like to thank the Warden and Fellows of Nuffield College for welcoming me into their society for the period of the lectures. While at Oxford I benefited immeasurably from associating with the wide range of people there who are interested in these topics, including Gerry Cohen, Adam Roberts, John Elliott, Geoffrey Holmes, Mark Philp, Oliver O'Donovan, the late Angus Macintyre, Andrew Hurrell, and the students who came to the seminar I gave after each lecture. Many other people, both in Cambridge and further afield, have given me help with drafting and rewriting the lectures: I should single out Jim Tully (who inspired a great deal of it), Istvan Hont, John Dunn, Emma Rothschild, Gareth Stedman Jones, Anthony Pagden, Pasquale Pasquino, Daniele Archibugi, Tim Hochstrasser, Peter Borschberg, Sir Robert Jennings, and James Crawford. There were six original lectures, and broadly speaking this book follows their structure, though I have split the introductory lecture into three parts—the Introduction and two long chapters dealing respectively with humanist and scholastic theories about war. I have also, of course, greatly enlarged each chapter, but I hope those readers who were present at the lectures will still recognize their general shape in this new guise.

I mounted the podium to give the first lecture in the Examination Schools on 15 January, the afternoon of the day that war was declared against Saddam Hussein for an act of aggression against Kuwait. This was the kind of war with which the writers covered in the lectures were eminently familiar, and its presence throughout the lecture course acted as a constant reminder that in this area, perhaps above all, the history of political thought is unfinished.

Richard Tuck Cambridge, Mass.

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