Locating Responsibility The Problem of Moral Agency in International Relations

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    Questions of moral agency are fundamental to the study of world politics. Who — or what — can bear the related moral burdens of duty and blame for specific acts and outcomes has serious implications for practice and theory. This article begins with a discussion of where moral responsibility can reasonably be located in world politics. It then presents the implicit and consequential assumptions regarding moral agency that are held in common by a number of otherwise diverse approaches within international relations. Finally, it discusses steps that can be taken to redress the shortcomings of international relations in dealing with issues of moral responsibility. Each challenges existing theoretical assumptions in a way that promises to enhance how the field is able to understand, explain, and respond to practical problems in world politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of International Relations
    Editors C Reus-Smit, D Snidal
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780199219322
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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