The Ethics of Military Intervention: What Can We Learn From the Modern European Classics


Date: Sep 18, 2009

There has been a lively debate in recent years about the politics and ethics of cross-border military intervention by powerful states. Just war theory and international law have long admitted the use of force in self-defense by states facing actual or imminent attack. But beyond this, there has never been a scholarly consensus on the ethics of military intervention. The organizers of this conference believe that a careful re-examination of the normative arguments on the international use of force put forward by some of the most distinguished modern European political thinkers – ranging from natural-law theorists like Vitoria and Grotius to influential liberals such as Locke, Kant and J.S. Mill – could help us to consider the ethical implications of present-day military interventions in a refreshing new light. After all, those classical thinkers were grappling with several of the ethical dilemmas that we are facing today, be it with regard to humanitarian intervention, preventive or preemptive military action to neutralize looming dangers, or more ambitious imperial projects intended to “civilize” foreign peoples.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Session One: 9.30 – 11.00am
Chair: Michael Doyle (Columbia)
Ariel Colonomos (CNRS-CERI, Paris): “Worshiping Ambiguous Gods: The Just War Tradition and Preventive War.”
Benedict Kingsbury and Alexis Blane (NYU): “Justifying Intervention as Punishment: History and Policy”
Discussant: Gary Bass (Princeton)

Session Two: 11.30am – 1.00pm
Chair: Jean Cohen (Columbia)
William Bain (Aberystwyth): “Vitoria and the Conditions of Dominion.”
Richard Tuck (Harvard): “Grotius, Hobbes and Pufendorf on Intervention.”
Discussant: Stephen Holmes (NYU)

Session Three: 2.30pm – 4.00pm
Chair: Stephen Holmes (NYU)
Samuel Moyn (Columbia): “Appealing to Heaven: John Locke on Just War and Colonial Conquest.”
Michael Doyle (Columbia): “A Few Words on Millian Intervention.”
Discussant: Melissa Schwartzberg (Columbia)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Session One: 9.30 – 11.00am
Chair: Ariel Colonomos (CERI, Paris)
Jennifer Pitts (Chicago): “Sovereignty, the global community, and intervention in Wolff and Vattel.”
Edwin Van de Haar (Ateneo de Manila): “Hume and Smith on Just War, Empire, and Intervention.”
Discussant: Nadia Urbinati (Columbia)

Session Two: 11.30am – 1.30pm
Chair: Victoria de Grazia (Columbia)
Pierre Hassner (CERI Paris): “Sovereignty, Morality and History: The problematic legitimization of force in Rousseau, Kant and Hegel
Andrew Hurrell (NYU/Oxford): “Kant and Kantian theories on military intervention.”
Stefano Recchia (Columbia): “The origins of liberal Wilsonianism: Mazzini on regime change and humanitarian military intervention.”
Discussants: Jean Cohen (Columbia) and Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research)

Co-Sponsored by the European Institute, Department of Political Science, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), Alliance Program, and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies

Date: Sep 18, 2009

There has been a lively debate in recent years about the politics and ethics of cross-border military intervention by powerful states. Just war theory and international law have long admitted the use of force in self-defense by states facing actual or imminent attack. But beyond this, there has never been a scholarly consensus on the ethics of military intervention. The organizers of this conference believe that a careful re-examination of the normative arguments on the international use of force put forward by some of the most distinguished modern European political thinkers – ranging from natural-law theorists like Vitoria and Grotius to influential liberals such as Locke, Kant and J.S. Mill – could help us to consider the ethical implications of present-day military interventions in a refreshing new light. After all, those classical thinkers were grappling with several of the ethical dilemmas that we are facing today, be it with regard to humanitarian intervention, preventive or preemptive military action to neutralize looming dangers, or more ambitious imperial projects intended to “civilize” foreign peoples.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Session One: 9.30 – 11.00am
Chair: Michael Doyle (Columbia)
Ariel Colonomos (CNRS-CERI, Paris): “Worshiping Ambiguous Gods: The Just War Tradition and Preventive War.”
Benedict Kingsbury and Alexis Blane (NYU): “Justifying Intervention as Punishment: History and Policy”
Discussant: Gary Bass (Princeton)

Session Two: 11.30am – 1.00pm
Chair: Jean Cohen (Columbia)
William Bain (Aberystwyth): “Vitoria and the Conditions of Dominion.”
Richard Tuck (Harvard): “Grotius, Hobbes and Pufendorf on Intervention.”
Discussant: Stephen Holmes (NYU)

Session Three: 2.30pm – 4.00pm
Chair: Stephen Holmes (NYU)
Samuel Moyn (Columbia): “Appealing to Heaven: John Locke on Just War and Colonial Conquest.”
Michael Doyle (Columbia): “A Few Words on Millian Intervention.”
Discussant: Melissa Schwartzberg (Columbia)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Session One: 9.30 – 11.00am
Chair: Ariel Colonomos (CERI, Paris)
Jennifer Pitts (Chicago): “Sovereignty, the global community, and intervention in Wolff and Vattel.”
Edwin Van de Haar (Ateneo de Manila): “Hume and Smith on Just War, Empire, and Intervention.”
Discussant: Nadia Urbinati (Columbia)

Session Two: 11.30am – 1.30pm
Chair: Victoria de Grazia (Columbia)
Pierre Hassner (CERI Paris): “Sovereignty, Morality and History: The problematic legitimization of force in Rousseau, Kant and Hegel
Andrew Hurrell (NYU/Oxford): “Kant and Kantian theories on military intervention.”
Stefano Recchia (Columbia): “The origins of liberal Wilsonianism: Mazzini on regime change and humanitarian military intervention.”
Discussants: Jean Cohen (Columbia) and Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research)

Co-Sponsored by the European Institute, Department of Political Science, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), Alliance Program, and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies

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