Modules
Modules

Global ethics: power and principle in world politics

Ethical questions are central to politics; how to live well in community with others is perhaps the most practical and pressing question we ask when studying politics. International politics raises distinctive ethical concerns - of violence, hospitality and solidarity across borders - and has been seen as different from domestic politics, such that it requires its own ethics. This module seeks to introduce you to the traditions of ethical thought in international politics by looking at pressing issues faced in today's world, such as state and non-state violence that exceeds territorial boundaries, poverty and suffering linked to our interrelated global system of economic and social exchanges, and issues of political inequality in an hierarchical international system defined by dominance and power as much as law and fairness.

The course takes the transformation of world politics, in particular the development of international human rights, in the mid-20th century as a key moment in order to critically examine both the degree to which international politics has become more ethical and the ways that our understanding of global ethics influences our practical responses to issues like the development of human rights, new practices of humanitarian intervention, global poverty, the development of international criminal law and the creation of new forms of transnational and supranational political authority. The module aims to balance philosophical reflection on the nature of global ethics with practical engagement in contemporary political events.