Sovereignty : Moral and Historical Perspectives

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Sovereignty generally refers to a particular national territory, the inviolability of the nation's borders, and the right of that nation to protect its borders and ensure internal stability. From the Middle Ages until well into the Modern Period, however, another concept of sovereignty held sway: responsibility for the common good. James Turner Johnson argues that these two conceptions -- sovereignty as self-defense and sovereignty as acting on behalf of the common good -- are in conflict and suggests that international bodies must acknowledge this tension. Johnson explores this earlier concept of sovereignty as moral responsibility in its historical development and expands the concept to the current idea of the Responsibility to Protect. He explores the use of military force in contemporary conflicts, includes a review of radical Islam, and provides a corrective to the idea of sovereignty as territorial integrity in the context of questions regarding humanitarian intervention. Johnson's new synthesis of sovereignty deepens the possibilities for cross-cultural dialogue on the goods of politics and the use of military force.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 12.45mm | 227g
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • English
  • 1626160562
  • 9781626160569
  • 1,791,544

Table of contents

Introduction I. Sovereign Authority and the Right to Use Armed Force in Classic Just War Tradition1.Sovereignty as Responsibility: The Coming Together and Development of a Tradition2.Sovereign Authority and the Justified Use of Force in Thomas Aquinas and His Early Modern Successors3.Sovereign Authority and the Justified Use of Force in Luther and the Reformation4.Grotius and His Impact: The Westphalian Settlement, the Idea of the "Law of Nations," and the Move to the Territorial Idea of Sovereignty5. Transitions in the Concept of Sovereignty II. Engaging the Westphalian Idea of Sovereignty6. Finding Common Ground in the Diversity of Civilizations7. The Two Conceptions of Sovereignty and the "Responsibility to Protect" Doctrine Conclusion Bibliography Index
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Review quote

Concise, lucid, and readable. . . Sovereignty is a welcome contribution to the philosophy of international politics.

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About James Turner Johnson

James Turner Johnson is Distinguished Professor of Religion and a professor in the graduate program in political science at Rutgers University. He has received Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and various other research grants and has directed two NEH summer seminars. He is the author of eleven books and editor or coeditor of five others, including Can Modern War be Just?, Ethics and the Use of Force, The Quest for Peace, and Morality and Contemporary Warfare.
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