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Men and citizens in international relations

  • Andrew Linklater


Since Rousseau political theorists have had frequent recourse to a contrast between the fragmented nature of modern social and political life and the allegedly communitarian character of the Greek polis. At the heart of this opposition was the belief that the polis represented a condition of unsurpassable harmony in which citizens identified freely and spontaneously with their public institutions. Unlike their ancient counterparts, modern citizens exhibited less identification with their public world than resolution to advance their separate individual interests and pursue their private conceptions of the good. Nevertheless, the disintegration of the polis was not depicted in the language of unqualified loss. History had not been simply an unmitigated fall, because the individual's claim to scrutinize the law of the polis on rational grounds involved a significant advance in man's self-consciousness. The positive aspect of its decline was man's transcendence of a parochial culture in which neither the right of individual freedom nor the principle of human equality had been recognized. If the modern world had lost the spontaneous form of community enjoyed by the ancients, it surpassed that world in its understanding and expression of freedom.



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1. The principal exponent of this view was Hegel; see The Philosophy of History (New York, 1956), esp. pp. 252–3 and The Philosophy of Right (Oxford, 1952), paras 260–1, esp. Additions. For a fuller account see Plant, R., Hegel (London, 1973), ch. 1, and Taylor, C., Hegel (Cambridge, 1975), chs. 14–15.

2. O'Malley, J. (ed.), Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Cambridge, 1970), Introduction, esp. pp. xi-lxiii.

3. C. Taylor, op. cit. esp. pp. 385, 395–7; Colletti, L., Marxism and Hegel (London, 1973), ch. 12.

4. This distinction is developed further in Walsh, W. H., ‘Open and Closed Morality’, The Morality of Politics, Parekh, B. and Berki, R. (eds.) (London, 1972).

5. Ibid. p. 19.

6. Ibid.

7. The conflict between the two moralities is represented most clearly by the differences between Kantian and Hegelian ethics. See Acton, H. B., Kant's Moral Philosophy (London, 1970) and Walsh, W. H., Hegelian Ethics (London, 1969). Hegel brought the two moralities (moralitat and sittlichkeit in his own terminology) into clear opposition as theories of international relations, Ibid, para 209.

8. The principal texts discussed in this paper are Pufendorf s The Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (first published 1660) (Oxford, 1934); The Law of Nature and Nations (first published 1672) (Oxford, 1934); The Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen According to the Natural Law (first published 1673) (New York, 1927); Vattel, The Law of Nations; or, Principles of the Law of Nature, applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (first published 1758) (New York, 1964).

9. Pufendorf, Elements of UniversalJurisprudence, op, cit. p. 242.

10. Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6.

11. See, for example, Pufendorfs remark that ‘the just size of a state should be measured by the strength of its neighbours’, The Law of Nature and Nations, op. cit. p. 968.

12. Abstract of the Abbe de Saint-Pierre's Projectfor Perpetual Peace, The Theory of International Relations Forsyth, M. G., Keens-Soper, H. M. A. and Savigear, P. (London, 1970), p. 132.

13. Ibid. pp. 135–6.

14. Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmo-Political Point of View, in Forsyth et. aL op. cit. p. 183.

15. For the view that international politics is a world of ‘recurrence and repetition,’ and its impact upon international relations theory, see Wight, M., ‘Why is there no International Theory? ’, Diplomatic Investigations Butterfield, H. and Wight, M. (eds.) (London, 1966), p. 26.

16. See below, pp. 6–7.

17. Berlin, I., Vico and Herder (London, 1976), p. xxiii; also ‘Herder and The Enlightenment’ in the same volume; Stern, A., Philosophy of History and the Problem of Values (Hague, 1962), ch. 6.

18. Marcuse, H., Reason and Revolution (London, 1969), p. 36.

19. Ullman, W., Principles of Government and Politics in the Middle Ages (London, 1961), p. 24.

20. Pufendorf, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, op. cit. p. 103; Vattel, op. cit. pp. 9a-10a.

21. Pufendorf, op. cit. p. 274; Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6

22. Carlyle, A. J., A History of Medieval Political Theory in the West (London, 1930), vol. 1, pp. 711.

23. Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6.

24. Pufendorf, op. cit. The Law of Nature and Nations, p. 212.

25. Vattel op. cit. p. 7; Pufendorf, Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 90.

26. The Philosophy of Edmund Burke (a selection of his speeches and writings) Bredvold, L. I. and Ross, R. G. (eds.) (Michigan, 1970), p. 17.

27. Fichte, , The Science of Rights (Philadelphia, 1869), p. 215.

28. This point is developed below, pp. 12–137.

29. Kant, , The Metaphysical Principles of Virtue (New York, 1964), p. 140.

30. Kant, Perpetual Peace, Forsyth et. al. op. cit. p. 216.

31. Ibid. pp. 228–9.

32. Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 48.

33. op. cit. pp. 7–8.

34. Pufendorf Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 121 and 14C

35. Vattel, op. cit. p. 5.

36. Gallie, W. B., Philosophers of Peace and War (Cambridge, 1978), ch. 2. Kant's comment appears in Perpetual Peace, op. cit. p. 211.

37. Murphy, J. G., Kant: The Philosophy of Right (London, 1970). pp. 110–1.

38. Lovejoy, A., ‘The Meaning of Romanticism for the Historian of Ideas’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 2 (1941), pp. 260–78.

39. It may be argued that Kant's later historical and political writings represent ‘a point of departure’ from his earlier accounts of man as a static being. See Raschke, C. A., Moral Action, God and History in the Thought of Immanuel Kant (Dissertation Series No. 5) (University of Montana, 1975 p. 191–2.

40. Treitschke, H., ‘Die Politik’. The Political Thought ofHeinrich von Treitschke, Davis, H. W. C. (ed.) (New York, 1915), p. 127–8.

41. Ibid.

42. For a fuller discussion of this idea see Aron, R., Peace and War (London, 1966), pp. 585–91 and Sterling, R. W.Ethics in a World of Power: The Political Ideas of Meinecke (Princeton, 1958).

43. ‘The rays of divine light reveal themselves in a broken form in different peoples, each of whom manifests a new shape and a new conception of the Godhead.’ Treitschke, op. cit.

44. see Aron, op. cit. and Sterling, op. cit. for a fuller discussion of these points.

45. ‘Historicism claims trans-historical validity for its own thesis, thus refuting it’. Stern op. cit. p. 182.

46. O'Brien, G. D., Hegel on Reason and History (Chicago, 1975), p. 68.

47. See Colletti, L., From Rousseau to Lenin (New York, 1972), p. 39.

48. Rousseau, , A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, The Social Contract and Discourses Cole, G. D. H. (ed.) (London, 1968), p. 170; Kant, Conjectural Beginning of Human History, Kant on History Beck, L. (ed.) (New York, 1957), pp. 55–6; Hegel op. cit. para 4, addition; , MarxThe German Ideology (London, 1965), p. 39.

49. Hegel, Ibid. para. 4.

50. Charles Taylor refers to this doctrine as ‘expressivism’, op. cit. esp. pp. 13–29, and pp. 547–552 for its application to Marx's thought.

51. Hegel, op. cit. para 145; Marx, Theses on Fenerbach, Sixth thesis.

52. Hegel, op. cit. Addition to the Preface; The Philosophy of History, p. 54.

53. For a discussion of this aspect of Marx's thought, see Evans, M., Karl Marx (London, 1975), esp. pp. 72–9 and Hobsbawm's, E. introduction to Marx's Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations (London, 1964).

54. Ideafor a Universal History, Forsyth et. al. op. cit. p. 191.

55. Prolegomena to Ethics (Oxford, 1916), esp. ch. IIIB, ‘The Extension of the Area of Common Good. ’

56. Ibid. p. 238.

57. Ibid. p. 231.

58. Ibid. pp. 239–40.

59. Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation (London, 1966), pp. 157–8.

60. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, op. cit. pp. 251–3.

61. For extended discussion of this theme, see Plant op. cit. Schiller's statement is a classic summary: ‘If the manifold potentialities in man were ever to be developed, there was no other way but to pit them the one against the other. This antagonism of faculties and functions is the great instrument of civilisation — but it is the only instrument. ’ Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man (Oxford, 1967), Letter VI, sec. 12.

62. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, op. cit. pp. 317–8.

63. Hoffman, S., The State of War (London, 1965).

64. Wight, op. cit. p. 26.

Men and citizens in international relations

  • Andrew Linklater


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