A History of International Political Theory: Ontologies of by Hartmut Behr

By Hartmut Behr

Modern concept of foreign politics faces a twofold challenge: the serious engagement with legacies of nationwide energy politics in connection to twentieth Century diplomacy and the regeneration of notions of humanity. This booklet contributes to this engagement by means of a family tree of suggestions on struggle, peace, and ethics.

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4)24 The use, application, and further development of reason – that is, the ability to logically identify causes and consequences, to compare outcomes and the progression of events due to different causes which gave rise to them, and to dispose over time-consciousness – is construed by Cicero not only as a human condition but also, in accordance with his teleological outlook, as an ethical obligation to aim at and to accomplish for the realization of our potential aptitudes, talents, and predispositions.

Another interesting and important aspect to further investigate – and which elevates astonishments that Cicero has been excluded from the canon of IR literature – consists in Cicero’s application of his legal thought to war and warfare, thus to another distinctively international politics topic. As Thomas Pangle notes, ‘Cicero laid down some of the most influential ... pronouncements ever made on the moral limits of war’ (Pangle, 1998, p. 239). Consequently, he becomes probably the first Western author to contribute to what was later called the ‘just war theory’.

Withal Thucydides does not concede, and accept, the pure ‘factualism’ that treaties are weak, promises not kept, human nature bellicose, and so on, but instead argues in favour of universal ethical orientations which should guide men’s actions. Antithetically he ‘teaches’ with the History what happens when, and if, common ethical grounds and political virtue decay and become lost. ‘Thucydides’ admission of ... frustration and remorse in the face of the complexity of [war] softens considerably the common portrait of him as a steely-minded pragmatist’ (Flory, 1988, pp.

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