Saturday, January 30, 2010

Essays by Allen Buchanan on ethics and international law

Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force

by Allen Buchanan

(Oxford University Press, 2009)


The thirteen essays by Allen Buchanan collected here are arranged in such a way as to make evident their thematic interconnections: the important and hitherto unappreciated relationships among the nature and grounding of human rights, the legitimacy of international institutions, and the justification for using military force across borders.

A major theme of Buchanan's book is the need to combine the philosopher's normative analysis with the political scientist's focus on institutions. Instead of thinking first about norms and then about institutions, if at all, only as mechanisms for implementing norms, it is necessary to consider alternative "packages" consisting of norms and institutions. Whether a particular norm is acceptable can depend upon the institutional context in which it is supposed to be instantiated, and whether a particular institutional arrangement is acceptable can depend on whether it realizes norms of legitimacy or of justice, or at least has a tendency to foster the conditions under which such norms can be realized. In order to evaluate institutions it is necessary not only to consider how well they implement norms that are now considered valid but also their capacity for fostering the epistemic conditions under which norms can be contested, revised, and improved.



Part I: Human Rights
1. Justice, Legitimacy, and Human Rights (2000) [preview]
2. Taking the Human Out of Human Rights (2006)
3. Equality and Human Rights (2003)
4. Human Rights and the Legitimacy of the International Legal Order (2008)

Part II: Legitimacy
5. The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions (2006)
6. The Legitimacy of International Law (2008)
7. Democracy and the Commitment to International Law (2006)
8. Constitutional Democracy and International Law: Are They Compatible? (2008)

Part III: The Use of Force
9. The Internal Legitimacy of Humanitarian Intervention (1999)
10. Beyond the National Interest (2002)
11. Institutionalizing the Just War (2006)
12. Justifying Preventive War (2007)
13. From Nuremburg to Kosovo: The Morality of Illegal International Legal Reform (2001)

Allen Buchanan is Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. See also his collected essays on health care: "Justice and Health Care" (Oxford University Press, 2009).

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