Using Force and the Conceptual Framework of the Cosmopolitan Paradigm in International Ethics

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Numerous political problems involve normative questions which must be addressed in philosophical terms. International ethics deal with such fundamental issues. The present international context can be characterized by a new set of political and historical circumstances that we commonly depict as the post-Westphalian, post-cold war, new world order. As we enter the era of globalization, it is quite astonishing to grasp the far-reaching scope of Kant’s cosmopolitan intuitions and to acknowledge their long-lasting aptness. Liberal thinkers are revisiting Kant’s ideal and this paper expounds some of the essential features of the cosmopolitan paradigm in international ethics. Our purpose is to set the normative background enabling us to tackle the pressing issue of military force in a non-ideal world. Although there is a case for justifying, in extreme circumstances, the lexical priority of justice over peace as a prima facie principle, we want to highlight the pacifist components of Kantian cosmopolitanism. Our standpoint argues in favor of institutional reforms rather than forceful imposition of democracy at the international level which represents, on such a global scale, a self-defeating goal. – Summary AFRI-2002