Charles Beitz's Political Theory and International Relations has had an enormous impact on analyses of the ethical issues raised at the global level. It was the first systematic discussion of such ethical issues in the last 50 years if not more. It remains a landmark for a number of different reasons. First, it stands out for the sophistication of its philosophical argument and the meticulous argumentation throughout. The latter is deployed not simply to provide powerful critiques of other perspectives (such as realism and the morality of states). It also puts forward and defends with considerable ingenuity a cosmopolitan theory of distributive justice. A second striking and impressive feature of the book is that it successfully integrates philosophical argument with a deep grasp of the nature of world politics and the empirical and theoretical literatures on salient aspects of world politics.
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