John Rawls: Towards a Just World Order by Patrick Hayden
The late John Rawls was a giant of political philosophy; Abdelkader Aoudjit peruses Patrick Hayden’s study of his ideas.
Two major questions of ethics in international relations are the question of who the subject of morality is – individuals, groups or states – and the question of what duties such subjects have beyond borders. Accordingly, writers on the ethics of international relations tend to fall into three categories. At one extreme are the realists who, while not completely rejecting morality, believe that states are the dominant actors in world affairs and that the only appropriate behaviour in international affairs is the pursuit of national interest and the balance of power. In this view, one’s responsibility to fellow citizens far outweighs the obligation to human beings in general. At the other extreme are the cosmopolitans, who assert that individuals, not states, are the ultimate subjects of morality and that values and responsibilities transcend borders.